In other, words, your BMW will not get original BMW parts; it will get something of less quality. Adjusters will argue that this used part, second hand parts, re manufactured parts, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), or/and after market parts are as good, if not better than the original ones. I believe this is a questionable claim.
I hate to report this is very “normal” for all insurance companies. Your carrier and the carrier of the person that hit you will do the same thing. They will price out the cheapest parts to fix your car. It gets worse. The insurance carrier will also make sure that you do not go to the dealership for the repairs. You have to go to a body shop that has a “reasonable and necessary” labor rate. Insurance companies argue that the dealership hourly rate is much higher the average body shop in your area and therefore it is unreasonable. They only owe for reasonable expenses, so you will be holding the bag. It does not matter that you have auto collision coverage and full coverage. The insurance company will fight you over this.
How can they get away with this? Insurance companies are very good litigators and lobbyist. The theory is that insurance companies owe you to “put you back in the position you were before the accident.” They argue that at the time of the accident you had a “used vehicle” (unless you just drove off the lot). Since your car is used, then your parts are used. Therefore, they will pay only for used parts. If no used parts are available, then they will “allow” for new parts, but only OEM parts (manufactured in countries outside the US).
So what are your remedies? How can you protect yourself? This is one is a hard to fight because most attorneys will not get involved with any auto collisions that does not involve some sort of bodily injury. So you are going to have to fight by yourself. You can do one of two things. You could pay for the difference between the second hand parts that the insurance company wants to buy and the original parts that you need. You also would have to pay for the difference between the labor rates.
You can also ask for a letter of guarantee directly from the insurance company. A letter of guarantee is a document where the insurance company agrees to fix your car in the event that you have any problems with the parts and/or the workmanship of the body shop. The damages must be directly related to the auto collision in question. Insurance companies will try to look on the other direction when you ask for this letter. They will tell you to ask the body shop directly. Do not let them do that. You want assurances form the insurance company. They are the ones that are telling you that these parts are as good as new. If you ask and you are firm, you could get them to give you written warranties.
All the best, Hector Quiroga
Hector Quiroga has a high interest in helping consumers gain knowledge of the auto insurance claim process for both property damage and bodily injury claims. He covers in great detail what a car accident investigation entails and share many helpful tips for dealing with insurance companies and adjusters.