What is the purpose of insurance? The Ombudsman of short-term insurance has described this best by stating – “The purpose of insurance is indemnification, not enrichment”. This means in lay-man terms that insurance is meant to place the insured in the position that he would have been was it not for the damage to his insured interest…
What is the effect of this on vehicle repairs and especially the parts used when repairing the vehicle? Do these parts have to be brand new parts?
South Africa’s short-term insurance ombudsman has confirmed that used and non-genuine parts can be used to repair insured cars provided they don’t compromise safety. Ombudsman Brian Martin said his office frequently received complaints about repairers using so-called ‘pirate’ and used parts.
‘There is a perception on the part of the public,’ he said, ‘that an insurer is obliged, when repairing a motor vehicle, to use new factory-supplied parts. ‘Depending on the circumstance and the age and condition of a car, there is no reason why components made by outside component manufacturers should not be used where this can result in cost savings, provided safety or reliability are not compromised.’
The use of second-hand parts, where appropriate, was also to be encouraged to cut costs. Martin stressed that each case had to be assessed on merit and asked vehicle owners to be ‘reasonable and practical’. The underlying purpose of insurance was indemnification, not enrichment. Martin added, however: ‘Original factory-supplied components must be fitted when a critical component is damaged or where a warranty or maintenance plan may be adversely affected by fitting other components.’
A distinction was drawn between components made by reputable manufacturers which conformed to recognised safety or quality standards and those classified as fake or unauthorised copies made by unspecified manufacturers, often in China.