OEM Parts


 
The body shop will order parts and complete repairs on its site, unless the repair is a specialty item that must be done elsewhere, such as windshield, radiator or engine work.
 
Check to see whether the body shop will use factory-new parts, or used parts. Most insurance policies allow car repairs to use only new parts if the vehicle is relatively new -12 months, or perhaps less than 18,000 miles. Check your policy. However, used parts must be Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) unless agreed by you. Why would you ever agree to non-OEM used parts? If you are told by the insurance company that your car is going to be totaled, you may choose to reach an agreement allowing non-OEM used parts, and thereby reduce the cost of repair. Sometimes it is better to get your old car back in good condition than to take what little you could obtain if they totaled your car. When you shop for a new one, you might find that the cash payment for the totaled vehicle will leave you with the requirement for monthly payments. Ugh! That is one reason some people favor using the cheapest parts to repair the older cars.
 
It might be helpful if you could arrange to monitor the communication between the adjuster and the body shop so that you can avoid "little surprises", such as substitution of non-OEM parts or straightening out a part instead of replacing it. This is done by simply calling the body shop and asking the operations manager or shop foreman about the progress of the work. If you made your own arrangements with a body shop of your choosing, try to include the adjuster in the loop. That way, you have at least some hope that the insurance company will back up the body shop and help guarantee that your car is satisfactorily repaired.
 
It is a frequent occurrence to find un-repaired items after you pick up the car from the body shop. You must immediately document these in writing and seek to get them repaired. Otherwise, you will be stuck for the cost of the repairs. It is hard to return six months later and argue that your trunk is leaking because of an accident. If you have had a solid impact, make a good inspection of all seals (doors, trunk, etc) to assure they are watertight.
 
For vehicle repairs, you are likely going to work with a different adjuster from the one handling your bodily injury. Although you are instructed elsewhere not to talk about your accident or injuries, you will obviously visit with this property adjuster regarding the cost of repairs, rental car, etc. Just be sure to stay away from the facts of the accident or your injuries. There is no need to discuss those topics.
 
When the property damage portion of the case is closed, you will receive a check and a release. Be sure that the release is limited to property damage only. It should have words such as "property damage" on it and should not have "general release" on it. If you're not sure, ask the adjuster to confirm in writing that it is a settlement check for property damage only.