Lawsuit: Insurance companies mandate cheap parts for crash repairs

In fact, the accident doesn’t even have to be quite that severe in order to be traumatic. Even a low-speed fender bender in a parking lot can leave you shaken, and suffering from bruises and perhaps even some type of neck pain.

Through all of this trauma, however, the sole bright spot for many accident victims is the fact that their insurance will cover the damage to their vehicle, such that so long as it isn’t completely totaled, they should be back to driving it following a complete refurbishment in an area body shop.

Interestingly, hundreds of body shops across the nation are now calling attention to a practice by dozens of major insurance companies that they argue is putting customers at risk of being involved in another, perhaps even more serious, car accident.

The practice in question is forcing them to use after-market parts or even used parts to repair vehicles involved in accidents instead of brand-new parts directly from the vehicle manufacturer.

Body shop owners say that the problem with after-market parts, manufactured by third parties, is that they are often not made to the same exacting standards.

“This is an area where an occupant could potentially be seriously injured,” said the owner of one Pittsburgh-area body shop of an after-market metal piece designed to connect a fender to a hood. “Would you want your family or yourself driving that car with the idea that a hood could come through the windshield because the fender’s put together with half the weight metal?”

As for used or “reconditioned” parts, they argue that many of these parts are simply no longer suitable for use after logging many miles or perhaps even being salvaged from another accident.

The problem has gotten so bad that a group of body shops, including some here in Pittsburgh, have filed a lawsuit against multiple insurance companies accusing them of mandating the use of “used and or recycled parts rather than new parts, even when new parts are available and a new part would be the best and highest quality repair to the vehicle.”

It will certainly be very interesting to see how the insurance companies respond to these accusations and what comes of this important lawsuit.

Stay tuned for updates …

Source: WTAE, “Body shops say insurance companies force them to use recycled parts,” Paul Van Osdol, March 4, 2015