Is an Insurance Company allowed to offer to pay you only for the cost of aftermarket or replacement crash parts if your vehicle is damaged in a car wreck or automobile accident in Kentucky? In most situations, the answer is yes, but you can do something about it.
What is an OEM/Aftermarket/”Replacement Crash” Part?
First things first, let’s define the problem.
- OEM stands for “original equipment manufactured” part. OEM parts are (1) a brand new replacement; (2) made for your vehicle; (3) by the original manufacturer. In other words, OEM parts are “brand new, brand name” parts.
- Aftermarket or non-OEM parts are (1) a brand new replacement; (2) made for your vehicle; (3) produced by someone other than the original manufacturer. In other words, aftermarket parts are “brand new, generic” parts.
- “Replacement Crash Parts” (or salvaged, recycled, reconditioned or used) parts are (1) a used (or “Pre-Owned”) replacement; (2) made for your vehicle; (3) by someone, usually the original manufacturer. In other words, “Reconditioned” parts are “old, used parts” usually obtained from other wrecks that they salvaged from the junkyard.
What is Kentucky Law on use of “aftermarket” or “reconditioned” parts?
Kentucky law allows insurance companies to use “replacement crash parts” (aka “reconditioned” or “aftermarket” parts) so long as the replacement part “is at least equal in kind and quality to the part to be replaced in terms of fit, quality, and performance.” 806 KAR 12:095(8)(4).
Further, the repair must be “reasonable” and performed in a “worker-like manner”. 806 KAR 12:095(8)(1).
What does this mean?
Unless the replacement part will look bad, be significantly worse in quality, or affect the driving ability of the vehicle, they can use “aftermarket” or “reconditioned” parts.
If the insurance company wants you to use a used belt, or something else, this is a serious issue.
Do they have to pay for diminished value after using aftermarket or replacement crash parts?
No. Kentucky law does not recognize such a claim at this time. However, you can often get back some of this lost value by pursuing a personal injury claim.
What can be done when the insurance company wants to use aftermarket or replacement crash parts?
First, try and negotiate. Argue that the replacement part will affect the fit, appearance or performance of the vehicle.
Take the vehicle to another repair shop.
Ask the insurance company to agree, in writing, that if the replacement part fails in a car crash or auto accident, that they will agree to take legal responsibility.
If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with the Kentucky Department of Insurance, the complaint form can be found here.
TIP: Make sure that you state in your complaint that the proposed replacement parts are not of “like kind and quality” and affect the fit, appearance, or performance of the vehicle.
If this doesn’t work, you should try and contact a lawyer.
A lawyer can try the above negotiation strategies.
In addition, if you were hurt due to someone else’s fault, a lawyer can sometimes regain the lost value of sub-standard replacement parts by pursuing a personal injury claim.
At Sowell, Stevenson & Steidl, we will handle your property damage claim for free, as long as you were hurt in the car wreck and it wasn’t your fault. We often can streamline this negotiation process, if we are involved early.
Unfortunately, at this time, we are not accepting property damage only claims, unless you were injured in the collision.