Auto insurance companies can use either Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts or aftermarket parts when repairing a vehicle after an accident, depending on the circumstances, policy terms, and applicable laws in your jurisdiction.
- Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Parts: These are parts made by the vehicle’s manufacturer or an authorized supplier. They match the parts that came with your vehicle when it was new. Generally, they are more expensive than aftermarket parts.
- Aftermarket Parts: These are parts that are made by companies other than the original manufacturer or its authorized suppliers. They are designed to function the same as the original parts but might not have the exact same fit, finish, or quality. Aftermarket parts are usually less expensive than OEM parts, think of aftermarket car parts like generics are to brand name pharmaceuticals.
WHAT ARE AFTERMARKET PARTS?
Aftermarket parts are vehicle parts purchase from independent manufacturers rather than the original manufacturer of the equipment. Aftermarket parts are generic versions of the parts that come from the vehicle manufacturer. Aftermarket parts cost considerably less than original equipment manufactured car parts. OEM parts are brand new, created by the original auto manufacturer.
They are suitable for a specific vehicle make and model. Mechanics make aftermarket purchase for some parts more than others.
- Engine parts
Aftermarket parts are not used. They are new. They are simply the generic version of OEM parts, which brings the price down. Used or salvaged car parts come from junkyards. They are OEM parts that have wear and tear. Mechanics will generally only install used or recycled parts in a vehicle if the insurance policy has a special clause that offers lower premiums in exchange for the lowest price crash parts.
ARE AFTERMARKET PARTS AS SAFE AS OEM?
One of the greatest debates during post-crash vehicle repair is the quality of aftermarket parts. Some people believe that aftermarket parts are of lower quality than OEM. Aftermarket parts may not be of a like kind or quality to OEM parts – especially if the parts do not have certifications to prove their performance. The use of aftermarket parts during repairs could also interfere with a vehicle warranty.
However, aftermarket parts with the seal of approval from the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) are safe, suitable, and of good quality. CAPA ensures the quality of replacement automotive aftermarket parts. It looks at the generic part manufacturer’s facility, equipment, manufacturing processes, and products to make sure they are equivalent to new OEM parts. Only then will CAPA certify the aftermarket part.
The decision to use OEM or aftermarket parts can depend on several factors:
- Insurance Policy: Some policies specify the type of parts that will be used for repairs. Premium policies might guarantee the use of OEM parts, while more basic policies might allow the use of aftermarket parts to keep costs down.
- Vehicle Age: For newer vehicles, insurers might be more inclined to use OEM parts to maintain the vehicle’s value and integrity. For older vehicles, aftermarket parts might be deemed sufficient.
- Local Regulations: Some jurisdictions have regulations or laws governing the use of aftermarket parts. For instance, some states in the U.S. require insurance companies to disclose if they intend to use aftermarket parts and give the vehicle owner the option to pay the difference for OEM parts.
- Availability: If a particular part is hard to find or is back-ordered, an insurance company might approve the use of an aftermarket part simply to expedite the repair process.
If you have concerns about the type of parts that will be used in a repair, it’s essential to discuss this with your insurance agent or adjuster. It’s also a good idea to review your policy’s terms regarding parts replacement. If you prefer a specific type of part, you might have the option to pay the difference in cost.