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Rhode Island rejects law opposed by top auto insurance companies

The Rhode Island Senate last week rejected a bill to require an independent appraisal in the repair process for vehicles with damages exceeding $2,000. Top auto insurance companies opposed the law, saying it would raise costs unnecessarily.

Extending the repair process would likely raise insurance costs and negatively impact insurance premiums for consumers, according to the Property and Casualty Association of America (PCI), which represents top auto insurance companies.

Frank O'Brien, vice president and regional manager for PCI, said even a minor fender bender is likely to meet the $2,000 threshold, so consumers would have to deal with unnecessary delays in getting their vehicles repaired.

Insurance companies can't require owners to buy certain auto repair parts, but some insurance companies ask car owners to pay the difference between generic repair parts and more expensive parts.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the development of a market in generic parts has brought prices for car replacement parts down and can help consumers save money. Insurance companies guarantee the parts they use and say generic parts don't compromise safety.

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