Pre-Accident vs Insurance Acceptable Condition


Who do you trust when you have had an accident? The experts in the repair field or the ones paying the bill?

The reality is, profit is getting in the way of how vehicles are being repaired. Most insurance companies will do everything they can to save money, while most body shops will do what is best for their bottom lines.

Unfortunately, not all body shops have your best interest in mind. Many make repair decisions based on maximizing profit instead following the manufactures regulated safety and performance standards. But not all body shops are the same! There are certified collision centers that have a higher level of accountability.

Now Insurance companies only have the obligation to fulfill their contract of insurance with you.

The choice of which insurance endorsements you get, as well as, where you take your vehicle for repairs will impact, how the vehicle is repaired, and whether it is repaired to the pre-accident condition or to an insurance acceptable condition.

In this article we will be defining the difference between Pre-Accident Condition and Insurance Acceptable condition by talking about the importance of having the proper insurance endorsements, why to avoid alternative parts, what exactly certified collision centers are, and one way they protect your investment.

Insurance Companies aren't the experts in repairing vehicles, they are experts at providing coverage to protect you and your family from potential losses. One example of this, is limited waiver of depreciation endorsement, offered by some insurance companies which provides total loss protection and often guarantees the use of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) replacement parts when your vehicle is repairable. If offered, the coverage period you can usually get is 24-60 months depending on the insurance company. The absence of this endorsement in your contract means the insurance company will push the use of alternative parts.

So what’s so bad about alternative parts? Alternative parts include remaining parts from vehicles that have previously been in accidents, reconditioned parts, or knock off parts made with inferior materials from China. These parts have not been crash tested and consequently the safety systems and performance of the vehicle have not been brought back to Pre-Accident Condition. This means that the insurance company has now influenced the repair, and remember, they're not the repair experts. But they have saved money through the use of these parts because it was within the contract of insurance to do so. Many body shops will only use these aftermarket (knock off) parts because they will make a larger margin on them. This insurance acceptable practice is quite often done in franchise body shops because of the pressure to recover franchise fees and additional rebates to insurance companies in exchange for more work.

In fact, there are manufacturer programs to encourage the use of new OEM parts in the place of alternate parts but for reduced margin for the body shop. This practice you will see done more in a certified collision network (the repair experts) backed by BMW and Honda for example where the standard of repair is much higher. Repair experts, (also known as Certified Collision Repair Centers, or CCRC's for short) will look to use OEM parts because they provide the ultimate protection for you in restoring your vehicle back to pre-accident condition. Certified Collision Repair Centers make large investments in training, equipment, and technology to meet the manufacturer standards for repair and services. In fact, Certified Collision Repair Centers are audited by third parties for compliance on returning vehicles back to their engineered standards.

When it comes to returning your vehicle to pre-accident condition, Certified Collision Repair Centers are on the leading edge of repair technology. They have the proper repair procedures supplied to them from the manufacturers, and are contractually bound to replace parts with new OEM parts to maintain factory warranty for corrosion and safety standards.

So if you ever need to trust someone after an accident, choose the expert as they will protect your best interests and not their bottom line!