The managing director of a vehicle repair network has called for clear guidelines on the use of non-OE parts, following a class action suit in Illinois, which cost US insurer State Farm over £700 million.

State Farm failed to use parts of a "like kind and quality", a situation that affects five million US policyholders. Around 15% of parts used in repairs each year are non-OE.

Now, David Wallace of Acoat Bodyshop Services, claims a code of practice on the use of non-OE parts must be issued by insurers to avoid a repeat of the State Farm catastrophe.

"The situation in the UK is currently very confused. The use of non-OE panels needs to be discriminatory. For older cars, non-OE parts can be used to keep claims costs and premiums down," said Wallace.

"It is a matter of taking action now. Insurers may be leaving themselves open to massive legal costs and loss of public confidence in the future."