What you should know about your body shop estimate

Reading a body shop estimate can be difficult for the average person. These documents are full of acronyms and jargon that may not mean much to the vehicle owner. And in this case, what you don’t know might hurt you… literally.

If you are looking at a body shop estimate, you have obviously been traumatized by a collision of some type. You’ve probably received an estimate from your insurance adjuster, and have chosen a body shop. This is where the shop technicians will disassemble the damaged area of your car, and the estimator write a more thorough repair plan.

In this article, we’ll explain what you should look for on your estimate, and what those acronyms really mean. They absolutely affect the safety of you and your loved ones.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer. These are parts produced by your vehicle’s manufacturer. They are specifically tested, designed and built to the safety specifications required by your car coming off the assembly line. There are no better parts to put on your vehicle. No one has done more research and development, or invested nearly as much time and money into making sure that each part works exactly as designed.

A/M – Aftermarket. These parts are made by ‘other than the original’ manufacturers. By their very definition, these parts must be ‘different’ than OEM parts, or they would violate patent laws. There is no safety test documentation available, and they often do not fit properly.

LKQ – Like Kind Quality. Most insurance companies insist that their adjustors write estimates including LKQ parts.  These parts are often found in junkyards or salvage yards. It is common insurance company practice to write estimates that include putting old, and previously damaged parts on brand new or late model vehicles.

body shop estimate

B% – Betterment.  Betterment refers to the percentage (after deducting for wear and tear) that an insurance company is willing to pay for items that wear or depreciate. If you had tires with 30,000 miles of wear on them at the time of your accident, the insurance company will only write for replacing 70% of the cost of new tires.

It’s important to be aware of the parts that your body shop estimate is calling for. In cases of equipment that affects the structural integrity (safety) of your vehicle, we strongly recommend you insist upon OEM parts.

If your estimate includes the acronyms A/M or LKQ, your insurance company is writing to save THEM (NOT YOU) money. Depending upon your actual policy’s terms, you may be required to pay the difference between cheaper quality, less expensive (and possibly used) parts and the OEM parts that originally came with your car.

At stake is the very safety of anyone driving the car in the event of another accident. We believe that the risk is too great to even consider using anything other than OEM parts.



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