Insureds in Texas could see more leeway when it comes to working with their insurance companies and having their auto glass repaired courtesy of a new bill recently introduced in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Travis Clardy (R-District 11). The legislation, which would go into effect Sept. 1, 2023, would prohibit insurers from requiring that less expensive parts be used for repairs and suggesting that customers use specific repair facilities.
Introduced on Jan. 12, HB 1321 outlines that insurers may not limit coverage under a policy covering damage to a vehicle in a number of ways, the first relating to the actual products used in repairs.
“An insurer may not require that a vehicle be repaired with a part or product on the basis that the part or product is the least expensive part of product available,” the legislation reads.
Along those same lines, insurance companies could not require that insureds travel a “distance considered inconvenient” for cheaper repairs, including visits to out-of-state facilities.
In Texas, products “of like kind and quality” can be used over Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts for repairs. However, replacement parts such as auto glass won’t be considered “of like kind and quality” as the OEM part lest they demonstrate that the product meets certain requirements. Those include meeting the fit, finish and quality of OEM parts; having the same weight as the OEM part; and conducting crash and safety testing in line with the same criteria as the original equipment manufacturer.
Insurers would also be barred from “intimidating, coercing or threatening the beneficiary” to use particular repair facilities. They would also be prohibited from offering incentives, other than issued warranties, for the use of specific repair facilities. Additionally, insurers could not solicit or accept referral fees in exchange for referring beneficiaries to particular repair facilities.
Furthermore, insurers cannot suggest that a particular shop would provide faster or more efficient service as compared to another facility. If signed into law, the bill would also prohibit insurers from disregarding a repair operation recommended by the OEM.
If signed into law, the bill’s measures would pertain to policies enacted and renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2024.