Insuring Car Parts and Equipment
When insuring your automobile, it is very important to choose coverage that will protect the entire investment. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all policy because every vehicle is unique. Almost every auto contains custom, aftermarket or non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts. When purchasing auto insurance, you will likely receive at least $1,000 in custom parts and equipment (CPE) and/or accessory protection included in the required comprehensive or collision add-ons. Some insurers will allow you to purchase an additional $4,000 in additional CPE coverage for a total of $5,000 in protection for your unique components.
What does CPE Coverage Protect?
CPE will protect custom permanently attached equipment, accessories, devices and changes, other than originally installed by the manufacturer. Some examples of applicable items are:
- Performance tires
- Alloy or magnesium wheels/covers, aluminum wheels or wire-spoke wheels
- Permanently installed entertainment components (TV, DVD players)
- Aftermarket anti-theft devices
- Chrome (including chrome engine accessories)
- Certain paint and trim upgrades
- Aftermarket roof treatments and components (racks)
- Non-OEM interior upgrades (customized leather seats, seat coverings)
Items that are typically not protected by CPE:
- Entertainment components not permanently installed
- Radar detectors
- Media and software (CDs, DVDs)
Additionally, manufacturer trim packages and upgrades are not protected custom items and equipment.
Document all non-OEM or Aftermarket Parts and Equipment
You will likely keep all invoices that contain retail manufacturer costs associated with your vehicle, but it is important to also maintain a record of all custom items as well. Automobile insurance companies recommend you take pictures of all qualifying items for proof of ownership. If you can, use a digital camera or smartphone to take the pictures and store them on your computer or device for future reference. Similarly, save any invoices or receipts that document the value spent on aftermarket components. This documentation can streamline the claims process because you have viable proof of the costs associated with your non-OEM auto parts and components.
Consider Warranties and Recalls
Many times, your non-OEM equipment or items will come with warranties. In this case, dealing with the specific company that manufactured your component might be a lot easier than including it in a claim with your provider. As stated earlier, it is very smart to keep the invoices and receipts nearby. If you have to file a claim that includes custom auto parts and/or items, see what your insurer offers in reimbursement then compare it to any applicable warranty from the aftermarket manufacturer.
Unlike automobile manufacturers, aftermarket companies do not typically adhere to a standard, centralized recall system. This means that if a section or piece of component is defective, the onus is on you to initiate the replacement process. Also, you will have to determine if it is better to go through your provider or the original manufacturing company for replacement. If you elect to use insurance, consider any increases in premiums that may result.
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