Not genuine? Not worth the risk

Non-genuine parts such as parallel, imitation, salvaged, counterfeit and aftermarket parts are often fitted to cars during repairs as a cheap alternative to genuine parts.

Some insurance companies may say that using non-genuine parts allows them to offer lower prices on their policies, but any small savings could be lost thanks to the non-genuine parts devaluing the overall price of your car and increasing the bill for future repairs because they don’t provide adequate structural integrity in an accident.

For these same reasons it’s also vital to ask for genuine parts to be used in servicing and regular maintenance.

The most important reason for choosing genuine parts is that they are tested and designed by your car’s maker to keep you safe. So what’s more important – saving a few dollars or potentially saving lives?

Six steps to staying genuine

Step 1
Check to see if your insurance policy guarantees genuine parts for the lifetime of your vehicle – if it doesn’t then change to an insurer that does.
Step 2
Read your insurance policy product disclosure statement and pay close attention to how it defines what a genuine part is – it could be worded to include non-genuine parts.
Step 3
Ask the repairer to show you the invoice itemising the parts used.
Step 4
Always have your car repaired or serviced by a repairer approved by your car’s maker.
Step 5
Always ask that genuine parts be used in repairs and maintenance such as servicing.
Step 6
Look for the genuine parts approved tick on the wall of the repairer.

Quality of repairs

When having your car repaired you’re entitled to expect high-quality work that returns your car to its pre-accident condition.

The Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry Code of Conduct says:

“Insurers and repairers agree they have a responsibility to ensure vehicle repairs are authorised and carried out in a professional manner and to ensure that the safety, structural integrity, presentation and utility of the vehicle are restored.”

In some cases, however, corners may be cut to save money which means the repair work may be far from satisfactory and include non-genuine parts.

Choice of insurer

Your choice of insurer can often determine whether or not genuine parts are used in the repair of your vehicle. Some insurers will use genuine parts if the vehicle is still under its regular factory warranty. Others may only offer genuine parts for cars less than a year old, and some may not use genuine parts at all, regardless of the age of the car.

Rather than use genuine parts insurers may insist that non-genuine parts such as aftermarket, parallel and salvaged parts be used.

Many car manufacturers offer their own insurance policies (underwritten by a third party) which guarantee genuine parts. These can be a good option to ensure genuine parts are used.

How to tell if your insurer uses genuine parts

Read your insurer’s car insurance product disclosure statement (PDS) to find out its position on genuine parts and under what conditions it will use them. You will find your insurance company’s PDS on its website – download it and search for the term ‘parts’.

Pay particular attention to the wording in the section of the PDS on parts and keep these points in mind:

  • The PDS may say ‘new’ parts are used but this doesn’t necessarily mean genuine parts – you may be getting a new imitation part.
  • The PDS might say original equipment parts will be used, but a loose definition of the term could allow parallel or other non-genuine parts to be fitted.

If it’s unclear from the PDS if genuine parts will be used, call your insurer and ask.

Be an instant expert

Picking up your car from the repairer is a last-chance opportunity to check that genuine parts have been fitted and to make sure that the work has been carried out properly before you take the keys.

So while the car may appear perfectly fine to the untrained eye – how can you tell if it’s a job well done? Repair industry professionals have helped devise this list to turn you into an instant expert.

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