Choosing a repair shop
Although the insurer may recommend a repair shop, the final choice in where to have your vehicle repaired is up to you. But the insurer may pay only what its preferred shop agreed to charge for the repairs.
It is not unusual for additional damage to be discovered once repairs have begun; the extent of damage is not always readily visible. When this happens, the repair shop will submit an additional estimate to the insurer for approval.
OEM vs. aftermarket or used parts
A vehicle may be repaired with OEM parts (original equipment manufacturer) or the company may determine its cost based on the use of non-OEM parts (a.k.a. aftermarket parts) or equivalent used parts. Many insurers routinely estimate for OEM replacement parts on late-model vehicles, but often will consider lower cost aftermarket parts or equivalent used parts. Aftermarket parts are new parts that have been manufactured as replacements, but not from the same manufacturer as the original part that was damaged. You may insist on new OEM parts, but may have to pay the difference.
If the other driver is at fault, his insurer may offer you a rental car. Some companies will set up a direct bill plan with the rental company but Maine law only requires them to reimburse you for reasonable rental costs you incurred for up to 45 days. If you purchased rental reimbursement on your policy, you will have up to 30 days of coverage for up to the daily amount you purchased. This is generally on a direct bill basis. A rental is provided only for the length of time required to make repairs, or until an offer has been made for a total loss.
For more information about auto claims, see our frequently asked questions.