Read the full bill. 

Legislation introduced in the Rhode Island Senate last week would expand the time frame and extend restriction on the use of non-OEM parts to any part damaged in a collision, not just body parts. The bill also seeks to prohibit insurers from requiring a repairer to use a collision repair procedure not recommended by vehicle manufacturers. The bill would also remove language in current law specifying that the restriction only applies to first-party claims.

Rhode Island Senate Bill 2679 (SB 2679), introduced March 20 by State Senators Maryellen Goodwin, Dominick Ruggerio and Michael McCaffrey, seeks to expand restriction currently in place on non-OEM collision repair body parts in first-party claims to any collision damaged parts.

SB 2679 would amend Sections 27-10.2-1 and 27-10.2-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 27-10.2 that address “Motor Vehicle Body Replacement Parts” regulations. The bill would change the definition of both aftermarket and OEM parts covered in the current law to include any replacement part, removing the word “body” from both definitions.

Current law states:

Whenever an insurance company, in adjusting a first party claim for motor vehicle physical damage, intends to specify the use of aftermarket parts, it shall notify the insured in writing. Any auto body repair shop conducting business in the state of Rhode Island shall not use non-original equipment manufactured (OEM) parts, also referred to as aftermarket parts, in the repair of any person’s automobile, without that person giving the repairer his or her express written consent.

The amendment proposed in SB 2679 removes the limit to the provision to just first party claims, to extend it to all claims by removing the words “first-party” from the existing law.

The bill also seeks to extend the timeframe where insurers must pay for OEM parts if the consumer wants them to 48 months from the current 30 months beyond the date of vehicle manufacture.

The proposed new language states:

No insurance company may require the use of aftermarket parts when negotiating repairs with any repairer unless the repairer has written consent from the vehicle owner to install  aftermarket parts. The provisions of this section shall apply only to automobiles which are less  than forty-eight (48) months beyond the date of manufacture.

The current provision that both insurers and collision repair shops must provide a written notice to consumers would be extended to match the 48 month part restriction and that it applies to any collision damaged part, not just body parts.

The proposed legislation would also add a section addressing the use of OEM repair specifications and procedures that states:

 No insurance company may require any repairer to use repair specifications or procedures that are not in compliance with the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer for those parts.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

As reported in Collision Week.

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