Claims and Generic Auto Replacement Parts

You are not required to use certain auto parts from your insurance company. They will usually base rates on an established industry average rate so if you want a part that is more expensive than their rate, you might have to pay the difference.

Most parts used to repair cars are known as "crash parts" and are sold in two flavors: original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and generic. Either type of part is manufactured to meet federal safety standards but generic parts are less expensive and bring total repair costs down.

If generic parts are ordered for your car, that information will be made available to you. The fact is though most generic parts are made by the same manufacturers as OEM parts so the quality will be the same, though the warranty may differ. The generic part will come with a guarantee but if doesn't fit properly, the OEM part will likely be substituted at no extra cost.

Some insurance companies might let you choose between OEM and generic parts. While many stipulate OEM parts must always be used such as in repairing new or recent cars, some states may require insurance companies to offer a choice while others may require OEM only.

You should ask your insurance company about their and your state's settlement guidelines. That way you will know exactly what repairing your car after an accident will entail.