Rhode Island Senate Passes Pro-OEM Parts Bill

The bill extends the age of a vehicle for which insurers can refuse to pay for non-OEM parts to complete repairs.


The Rhode Island State Senate in May passed a bill, SB 2440, aimed at limiting insurance companies' ability to refuse coverage for OEM parts in specific repair situations. The legislation passed with 33 votes in favor and 4 opposed.

The bill still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be amongst a flurry of end-of-session votes and negotiations, and signed by Gov. Daniel McKee. If it does become a law, it will go into effect Oct. 1.

Under current Rhode Island law, insurers cannot mandate the use of non-OEM parts for vehicles less than 48 months old unless the vehicle owner consents in writing. The newly approved bill extends this protection, forbidding insurance companies from refusing OEM parts for vehicles aged 48 to 72 months, provided the repairer has the vehicle owner's written consent.

The bill does not affect the repair or replacement of motor vehicle glass, focusing solely on other OEM parts. The legislation now moves to the state House of Representatives for approval before it can be presented to the governor for final ratification.

Supporters of the bill argue that using OEM parts ensures that repairs meet the original safety and performance standards set by the vehicle's manufacturer.

Critics, however, believe that it could increase repair costs and, consequently, insurance premiums. The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) in February submitted opposition to the companion bill in the state House, HB 7264, saying it "extends the already stringent four-year restriction on aftermarket parts currently in place, which is the longest such restriction in the country. This will only further impact the wallets of Rhode Island drivers with higher vehicle repair costs, increased insurance premiums, and longer repair times."

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