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Idaho bill that disclosed non-OEM parts may affect safety fails to pass

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An Idaho bill that would have required repair shops to disclose on estimates that the use of non-OEM parts “may affect the safety and performance” of a vehicle failed to progress before the end of the state’s legislative session.

Idaho law already requires the disclosure of non-OEM parts on estimates. This includes information that applicable warranties would be provided by the manufacturer or distributor of the part rather than the manufacturer of the vehicle.

Current law also identifies aftermarket crash parts as any non-mechanical sheet metal or plastic parts including inner and outer panels. SB1233 would have added head lamps, fenders, hoods, tail lamps, and bumper components to that definition. 

The bill was introduced by Sen. Scott Herndon (R-District 1) and referred to the Commerce & Human Resources Committee in January. It remained in the committee until the end of the legislative session in April. 

Herndon noted during the Feb. 1 hearing that his purpose in bringing the bill forward is for consumer protection. However, he noted as well that non-OEM parts are usually less expensive, so if there’s a good aftermarket crash part to use in certain repairs, the repair facility or insurance company may want to use it instead.

The bill is timely, Herndon said, because of State Farm’s decision in October to end its suspension of the use of non-OEM crash parts. The practice had been in place since 1999, according to an October 2023 State Farm memo to its Select Service repair centers.

The memo specified that non-OEM bumper components, lighting components, radiator supports/tie bars/inner structural and associated mounting components, and outer sheet metal, plastic/composite, and attachment parts are subject to certification standards.

Written testimony from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), the National Association of Mutual Insurance and Companies (NAMIC), and the Northwest Insurance  Council (NWIC) claimed there is no data to support the claim that non-OEM crash parts affect the safety of a vehicle. 

“OEM parts are often more expensive than aftermarket parts,”  the letter says. “For example, OEM patented front bumpers are being sold up to 213% higher than their aftermarket counterparts. A lack of aftermarket parts will exacerbate part supply shortages resulting in more expensive repairs, higher insurance premiums, increased total losses, and delayed repairs.” 

The letter also claimed that repair shops have an incentive to steer a customer to the higher priced part because they routinely received a “markup” incentive. 

John Miller, with Miller Auto Collision, provided written testimony that said the Idaho consumer commonly is uneducated and unaware of technology safety features in the modern vehicle. 

“Common automotive repair methods incorporate the use of cheaper, non-original or untested parts,” the testimony says. “While cheaper may seem a reasonable fair market option, recent crash testing has arguably shown that in fact safety can and may be at risk.

Most professional collision repairers know that aftermarket parts are not the same as OEM parts. Unfortunately, insurers are willing to use their leverage to favor non-OEM parts which usually increases their profits.” 

An Idaho consumer, Scott Plew, also spoke in favor of the bill saying he recently paid out-of-pocket for OEM parts after his vehicle was damaged in a collision with a deer, according to hearing minutes. He said his insurance company would only pay for non-OEM parts. 

Others who testified against the bill in person and/or via written testimony include the LKQ Corp., Auto Care Association, State Farm Insurance, and Automotive Recyclers Association.


Idaho State House (Credit: picmax/iStock)

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