Last week, we posted a photo series on our Facebook Page, detailing the damage to one of our guests’ cars – specifically the front bumper of his 2013 Lexus GS 350 “F” Sport. The original, Lexus manufactured part, working in precise harmony with the airbag deployment system, probably saved our guest’s life.

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We wrote our estimate to replace the now-crumpled bumper with another Lexus manufactured bumper. It is an integral safety component, and for such parts we simply will not compromise. Our guest’s insurance company adjuster came out, and wrote their estimate for a third-party replacement bumper. The difference in price between the original, Lexus-backed bumper and this third-party, non crash-tested bumper: $32.00

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We created a supplemental estimate that once again included the original manufacturer’s part, and again our guest’s insurance company denied payment for that, resubmitting only enough money to cover the non OEM bumper. This dance continued until the insurance company dug their feet in the ground and informed us that they would NEVER pay for the original part. It was their opinion that our estimate was an extravagant and unnecessary expenditure of their money.

We took this information back to our guest, explaining that this is a common practice for insurance companies. It’s called cost-shifting, and in the end, the insurance company (who has collected premiums for years, perhaps decades) refuses to pay the $32.00 difference – shifting the burden to either their insured (our guest), or to us. (Nylund’s was not involved in the accident that brought this car to us.)

It’s $32.00. What’s the big deal, right? Well… let’s see.

If Lexus patents it’s parts (and they do), then ANY OTHER part, no matter how closely they “look like” the original… cannot, by definition, be EXACTLY like the original. Documentation and videos abound regarding the importance of every component of an automobile’s safety equipment working together in a precise manner. Life and death are in the balance of a nano-second response. Too early, and injury can occur. Too late spells equal disaster.

If this third-party, aftermarket bumper should ever perform in a substandard way, because it is – by definition – different from the original… and someone were injured – or worse – killed in an accident… who would be responsible? Lexus certainly wouldn’t stand behind a non-Lexus part. To whom does the liability fall? And do we really need to actually have that conversation? Over a $32.00 difference?

In the end, our guest called the insurance company and inquired as to why they wouldn’t authorize an original, Lexus-made bumper on his nearly brand-new automobile that was still under full warranty. We don’t know exactly what transpired during that phone call… but we are happy to report that the insurance company – somewhat begrudgingly – has agreed to pay the additional $32.00 to do the job right.

It may seem like a big amount of trouble for a small amount of money… but here at Nylund’s we believe that your safety is worth more than $32.00.

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