The short answer is it depends. Ugh!
The first thing to consider when you’ve been in an accident is who was the at-fault party? Why does this matter? It’s all in the insurance contract.
If you were at fault then your insurance will be paying and you have a contract with your insurance company with pages of small print that you didn’t read if you’re like 99.7% of people out there. (Unless you’re an attorney and like to read that stuff.) Most insurance companies have provisions in your policy that let them use Like Kind Quality, LKQ parts. This means they can look to the salvage yards to find a used part recycled or salvaged, off another wrecked vehicle.
This technically qualifies as OEM and saves them a ton of money. Unfortunately if you were the at-fault party you’ll probably be getting LKQ parts unless parts can’t be located or are available in a timely manner in which case the insurance company will approve OEM parts.
If you are not liable for the car accident and the other party’s insurance company is paying then you have the right to be brought back to pre-accident condition. You didn’t sign a contract with them. In this case you have the right to have new parts.
Here is where you need to beware; the other insurance company will try to write your estimate and create a repair plan like you were their customer. You are not their client and you have the right to be fixed correctly. Most shops will simply go with what the insurance company wants to do instead of fighting it out with them to get what you deserve.
Are LKQ parts bad, no not always, there are times when they are a great option but not always.
After market parts are another area that is dictated by your contract. There are different levels of after market quality. Insurance grade work will only accept a higher quality part. Those parts are CAPA “certified”. Often they’re just as bad as the supper cheap stuff but just cost more because they are certified.
At the end of the day the shop has a lot to do with what parts go on. They can spend extra time searching and shopping to find good clean salvaged parts or working their OEM dealers relationship to get the better pricing that your auto body repair plan budget will cover. The shop won’t get paid more for this extra time. In fact if often increase their cost of parts but a good shop, having your best interest in mind will often do this for you.
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