Thankfully, you’re okay. Your car, on the other hand? Well, that's still to be determined. Will you ever see it again, or will your insurance company decide that it's a total loss? Honestly, at this point in time, you may not be sure of whether your insurer is really a friend or a foe. Can you trust their determination, and what are your rights, anyway?
By taking the time to understand what "total loss" actually means, and following this step-by-step guide, you can find answers to these questions, survive the scrutiny of your auto insurance provider, and make an educated choice about repairing your car versus writing it off as a total loss.
What defines a "total loss"?
In the state of Louisiana, a "total loss" is defined as “a vehicle which has sustained damages equivalent to seventy-five percent or more of the market value as determined by the most current National Automobile Dealers Association Handbook.” So, if a Louisiana driver has a vehicle with this extent of damage, it will be considered a total loss by your insurance provider. But what if your car has sentimental value, or is extremely rare? In cases like this, you may not want to scrap the vehicle and buy a new one, but want to take whatever steps possible to restore your ride. Unfortunately, most insurers have a vehicle assessed by a direct auto body repair shop that may have the insurer's interests in mind, rather than your own.
What steps can I take to protect myself and my vehicle after an accident?
- Get to know your insurance policy - before an accident happens - Typically, most people have a basic idea of what type of vehicle insurance coverage they have (liability, comprehensive, collision, etc.), but the fine print may leave you scratching your head. To ensure that you are treated fairly after an accident, it's a good idea to sit down with your agent and hash out the specifics of your policy. It's best to do this before a collision, as agents tend to be more pleasant and easier to deal with when they're not dealing with a messy claim.
- Understand your state rights as an insured driver - Despite what an insurer may tell you, Baton Rouge drivers have the right to visit the collision repair shop of your choice; you cannot be forced to go to a particular shop. In addition, Louisiana state law does not require you to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal on your vehicle's damage.
- Determine your car's worth, pre-accident - Don't just take your claims adjustor's word on your vehicle's actual cash value (ACV). Do some background research on your own, and be as involved with the process as possible. Your car's repairs are far more likely to be covered if it has a higher ACV, or you will receive more compensation if a total loss is determined. Keep in mind that if you have an especially unique trim level, color combination, limited edition, etc., you may know that your car is worth more than what the insurer tells you. Never be afraid to argue your case.
- Get a fair assessment of the damage - While an insurer can make recommendations for where to get an estimate of your car's damage, they can't force you to go anywhere in particular. If the insurer's auto body repair shop's assessment seems hairy to you, feel free to have your car looked over at the independent shop of your choice. If your policy has an "appraisal provision", an unbiased party can step in to determine which estimate is fair, so that you can move forward.
By following these simple steps, you can protect your rights as a vehicle owner, even after a major collision. Auto body repair shops in Baton Rouge like Medine’s Collision Center will even help you through the process, ensuring that your treated fairly every step of the way.
If you’ve recently been involved in an auto accident in the Baton Rouge area, contact Medine’s, and allow our friendly team of professionals to help. You can contact our office by clicking here or calling directly at (225) 357-7983. You can also click below to download a free copy of our informative Wreck Check guide.
For most, the decisions and processes following an auto accident are confusing and stressful. Where should I take my car? What will my insurance cover? How will I pay for medical treatments? With so many questions already being considered, the question of whether your car should receive aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts is often overlooked.
When your car is taken to a collision center, an estimate of the total cost of repair will be given. This estimate will include details such as the type of parts to be used, and it must be approved by you before any part of the process can begin. Before you approve this estimate, you should first understand the crucial differences between aftermarket and OEM parts:
Original Manufacturer (OEM) Parts: OEM parts are those that were originally made by the manufacturer of your vehicle for that particular model. These parts will typically be of higher quality and will match your vehicle perfectly for a seamless repair. For these same reasons, OEM parts often tend to deliver a higher level of safety as well.
Aftermarket Parts: Because OEM parts are often patented, they are not able to be exactly duplicated. Many different companies may provide a part that is comparable to the original. However, it will never be an exact match. These parts tend to be cheaper in cost and quality, and are often less safe due to imperfect fit and thinner metal.
How and what your insurance policy will cover for your auto repair will depend on many factors including the terms of your policy and who was at-fault for your accident. In order to best protect yourself and your vehicle, it’s important to choose a Baton Rouge auto body repair facility that you can trust and that can help guide you through the process. Make sure you have found one that answers directly to you as the consumer and not your insurance company. Furthermore, you should determine that only the highest quality repair and parts will be provided, along with lifetime warranties.
By finding a collision center you can trust, you can have confidence in the quality of the repair of your vehicle, including the type of parts being used. If you find yourself in need of auto body repair in the Baton Rouge area, contact Medine’s Collision Center. We have years of experience in providing quality repairs with our expert team who help drivers navigate the often confusing world of insurance claims to ensure the best experience possible. Call us at (225) 357-7983 to request a free estimate, and click below for a free copy of our informative Know Your Rights Guide.
We’ve written previously about the relationship that many auto repair shops have with particular insurance companies. This relationship, known as a direct repair program (DRP), is one in which your insurance company and collision center may both benefit. You, however, may not. Ultimately, the goal of the insurance company will be to keep costs as low as possible. The shops which agree to work with them on their terms are rewarded by having motorists steered their way by the insurance provider following an accident.
The tactics used to convince a driver that the DRP shop is the best option may vary, but there are some which remain fairly consistent. One of the most common misconceptions that policyholders have after speaking with their insurance company is that their repairs will not be covered under warranty if they do not choose a DRP facility. This may play as a deciding factor for some when choosing where to have their vehicle repaired. However, the simple fact is that your insurance company will not warranty your repairs, only pay for them.
Reputable repair facilities take pride in their work and stand behind it. Shops such as Medine’s Collision Center who do not enter into DRP relationships with insurance companies are solely focused on and held accountable by the consumer. Customers will not find these facilities through their insurance companies but rather through recommendations based on their reputation, customer service, and commitment to quality.
This type of shop will not only provide high levels of customer service, complete in-house repairs, and an in-depth knowledge of insurance policy and procedure, they will also completely guarantee their own repair work. As we mentioned before, the insurance company will not provide the warranty of any repair parts. Instead, it is the responsibility of the repair provider to guarantee their own work. Facilities like Medine’s Collision Center will provide a lifetime written warranty for your repair and guarantee your satisfaction.
When you find yourself in need of collision repair services, keep in mind that you have a choice for your auto body repair. Your insurance company must allow you to take your vehicle to the shop of your choice and still pay for the repair as dictated by your policy. If you choose a shop outside of their DRP network, you will not be sacrificing the warranty of your repair. Simply choose a reputable facility that is dedicated to their work and your satisfaction.
If you are currently seeking an auto body repair specialist, call Medine’s Collision Center. We believe in the highest level of customer service and quality repair, and we can help you navigate confusing insurance processes. Call us at (225) 357-7983, or click here to request a free estimate.
If you would like to learn more about Medine’s, click the image below to learn “10 Reasons to Choose Medine’s Collision” with our free guide.
The days, weeks, and even months following a car wreck can be a difficult time. There are insurance matters to sort through, vehicles that need to be repaired, and possibly even medical appointments and bills that must be taken care of. The added strain can be a lot to handle, especially when left suddenly without transportation.
Of the millions of accidents that occur each year, many require extensive repairs, and as of 2010 reports, 14% resulted in vehicles that were totaled. For the motorists who find themselves in this situation, the additional time without a vehicle leaves them with few other options than a rental car. However, determining how to get a rental and the associated cost may not always be clear. Here is what you need to know before securing your rental:
- Will My Insurance Cover it?
If you have opted in for rental reimbursement coverage through your auto insurance provider, you will be covered up to a set daily allotment for a rental car. In some cases, you may find that your insurance company has an agreement with a particular rental car facility. This does not require you to use them. Much like where you choose to have your car repaired, the choice of what company to use for your rental is up to you. If you find that your insurance company’s recommended provider is unable to get a rental to you in a timely manner, you have the right to choose another.
If the accident was the fault of another party and you do not have rental reimbursement coverage, the insurance of the at-fault driver will be responsible for your rental car. To authorize this rental, the insurance company will first determine liability, a process which could take several days.
- How Long Can I Keep the Rental?
This is determined by the company paying for your rental car. Typically, the car is available to you until your repairs are completed. If your car is determined to have been totaled, most companies will allow you to keep the rental for up to five days after your settlement offer has been accepted.
- What Do I Need To Obtain a Rental?
In order to obtain your rental, you should bring in your insurance coverage which, depending on your policy, may prevent you from having to buy insurance directly from the rental company. You will also need a valid form of payment such as cash or credit and your driver’s license.
The time following a car wreck can be incredibly stressful and confusing. Many aren’t aware of what steps to take next and how to ensure that they handle all aspects of the situation appropriately. By leaving your vehicle in the capable hands of a collision repair center like Medine’s Collision Center, you can be confident in the quality of repairs and honesty of your technician. Furthermore, by educating yourself and understanding how to secure a rental car, there will be no need to worry about transportation while your repairs are being completed.
If you have been in an accident, remember that you have the right to choose where your car is taken for repairs. Medine’s is a leader in collision repair in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas, and our trustworthy and knowledgeable team of experts is here to help. To learn more about what you should do following an accident, click the button below for access to our free and informative “Know Your Rights” guide.
If you have ever been involved in an auto accident, you have most likely received a list of “preferred” auto body repair shops from your insurance company. While it may initially seem like the easiest route to use one of these direct-repair program (DRP) shops, it’s important to consider all of your options. Keep in mind that insurance companies and repair shops that develop this relationship have someone’s best interest in mind, but it may not be yours. More than likely, what you will get in return for your business are pre-negotiated rates and corner-cutting repairs.
There are a few factors that may steer you toward your insurance company’s “preferred” shop. For instance, you may be led to believe that you simply don’t have the choice to select another repair shop, that your repairs are not covered under warranty if taken elsewhere, or that your repairs will happen more quickly at a DRP shop. In the stressful time that follows an auto accident, it may seem like the logical choice to move forward with the recommended repair center. However, these statements are not necessarily true. Let’s take a look at each of these misconceptions.
- Warranty – Insurance companies often lead policyholders to believe that replacement parts will only be covered under warranty if you choose one of their direct-repair partners. However, this warranty is often unnecessary and should have no bearing on your final decision. Most manufacturers will guarantee their parts, and reputable shops will guarantee their work. Medines, for instance, offers lifetime written warranties for body work.
- Choice – Many major insurance agencies are guilty of “steering” clients. They lead them to believe that they only have the option to use one of their preferred shops for their auto body repairs. This is not only untrue, but in most cases, it is also illegal. You and only you will have the final say in where your car is repaired. Get recommendations; do your homework, and go with the shop you are most comfortable with.
- Speed – You may be told that claims adjusters can get to your vehicle more quickly or that your repairs will be completed faster at a DRP shop. In actuality, adjusters will still see your car in a timely manner, and any small differences in time and speed are often tied directly to the insurance company themselves. In the end, a quality repair and peace of mind are well worth any additional time.
Auto accidents can be stressful and confusing situations. Choosing a collision repair center that you are comfortable with and can fully trust will help alleviate your concerns. Don’t be swayed by your insurance company to choose a body repair shop you are not completely at ease with. The relationship developed between preferred repair shops and insurance companies is rarely one that benefits the consumer.
At Medines Collision Center, we are customer-focused and pride ourselves on bringing you the highest quality work available. We provide first-rate parts, materials, and labor. What your vehicle truly needs, not what your insurance company wants, will dictate your repairs. If you are in an accident, remember that you have a choice. Take control. Choose Medines.
An auto accident
can be a frustrating and dangerous experience. It often leaves drivers shaken and unable to think clearly. Critical steps may be missed, leading to injury and less than ideal care for your damaged vehicle. To ensure the safety of all those involved and to take proper care of your car, truck, or SUV, there are 8 steps you should take immediately:
- Call 911 - The police will need to file a report, and make sure there are no serious injuries. Never skip this step, no matter what the other involved party may say. To get proper coverage, police reports must be filed.
- Call Your Family - Your loved ones may be concerned if you are late, or they haven't heard from you. They need to know that all is well. You may also need someone to pick you up if your car is damaged enough to require towing to a local auto body and collision repair service company.
- Take Pictures Of Everything - Pull out your phone and take pictures of damage to both vehicles. Also, take a picture of the other person's insurance card and drivers license. By simply writing down their information, you run the risk of committing an error. Taking a quick photo will ensure that you have the correct information when you need it.
- Call Your Insurance Carrier - You need to contact your insurance carrier no matter the extent of damage. In some cases, the damage may not look bad on the outside but has caused frame damage or other unseen problems. Your insurance agent can explain the steps you need to take in order to file a claim and receive compensation for the insurance you pay premiums on.
- Move Your Car To A Safe Area - If your car is still operational, it is a good idea to move your vehicle to a safer area, such as a parking lot away from the roadway and other traffic. Safety should always be a top priority.
- Contact An Auto Body And Collision Repair Service - You will need someone who can give you a free estimate and get to work immediately fixing the damage your automobile suffered. Here in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas, Medines Collision Center is a top-of-the-line auto body and collision repair service center. You can easily reach us at 225-357-7983, and we will gladly guide you on your next step.
- Call A Tow Truck - Your chosen collision repair center should be able to provide some suggestions on a reliable and economic company to tow your vehicle to their location.
- Get A Rental Car - Depending on the extent of damage to your vehicle, you may need to rent reliable transportation while the experts at Medines put your car back into roadworthy condition. If you ask the collision expert, they may just be able to suggest preferred car rental services in the area.
At Medines, we understand the aftermath of an auto accident and what a difficult time it can be. We want to help by making the process as painless and simple as possible. If you are involved in an accident, gain some peace of mind by giving Medines a call
at 225-357-7983. We can give you a free estimate and assessment to get you back on the road as soon as possible.
If you have ever visited Medine's Collision Center, you know we try to care for each person who picks up the phone or walks through our door. Usually a smile or a "thank you" from a happy, satisfied customer is enough to keep us going. However, when we read a Google reviews like the one created the other day; it warms our heart and makes all we do worth it. I would like to share the review with you to lend perspective from one of our customers in Baton Rouge.
“Medine's Collision Center is the best experience I have ever had with a body repair shop! Just after buying my Honda Civic, I accidentally tore off my front bumper trying to park in a busy parking lot. I was so frustrated, and wasn't sure what to do. After spending my savings on a new car, I now had a detached bumper. After months of trying to zip tie it together, I resorted to gorilla glue and black duct tape to keep the bumper attached to the car. Although a temporary fix, my car looked ridiculous. Too embarrassed to park near the front of my office, I would park down the street. After moving to Baton Rouge, a great new friend suggested Medine's Collision Center.
Not only did Medine's perform a thorough inspection of my car; they provided me with an estimate that was far lower than expected. The owners explored all options to ensure that the estimate was within a reasonable range. Everyone at Medine's Collision Center was open, honest, and forthright. Because a brand new bumper was completely out of my price range, Medine's Collision looked for alternate options for me. After discovering a refurbished bumper, they presented this alternative option to me. By going the extra mile, Medine's Collision Center ended up saving me hundreds of dollars. To add to the convenience, Medine's Collision Center also had a spacious waiting room that felt like home. I was lucky enough that I really never had to use it, because it really only took them one day to have my car ready.
Dominica was awesome the whole way through! She kept in contact with me and informed me of any changes. When I arrived at Medine's Collision Center to pick up my car, I could not believe my eyes. My car looked better than the day I bought it. Not only did they fix my bumper, but they also waxed the outside of my car, cleaned the inside windows, and vacuumed my rugs. Now, that is an example of going the extra mile.
On my way home from Medine's Collision Center, I felt so proud of my newly fixed car. I was so excited about taking my car to Medine's Collision Center that I have already started to recommend them to everyone I know. I could not have been happier with the customer service that Medine's Collision Center provided me. In the unfortunate event of another auto accident, I will be sure to take my car to Medine's Collision Center immediately. Thank you so much Medine's Collision Center, I am in love with my car again!”
We would like to thank Zach for this wonderful testimony regarding our services at Medine's Collision Center. Additionally, we would like to thank all of our loyal clients who have supported us through the years. As a collision center in Baton Rouge, we know how stressful a car accident can be. This is why we try to treat everyone like a friend and help you through the entire body repair process. We are often called auto accident advisors for our attention to detail from the beginning to the end of the auto accident experience.
Until we speak again, take control and choose Medine's Collision Center!
So you think your car has just been totaled? Now what? Are you just not sure what to do next? What is the process? Through the years, Medines Collision Center has developed steps that should guide you through the process, and will enable you to be back on the streets of Baton Rouge as soon as possible.
After your accident, normal precautions must be made such as; checking for injuries, dialing 911, looking for witnesses, calling your insurance company. One thing Medines suggests is to take pictures of everything. It’s assumed that you should take pictures of the damage, the accident and the injuries, but also take pictures of their license plate, driver’s license, and insurance card.
Mistakes happen, just writing their information down might lead to a costly error. Pulling out your camera phone and snapping a quick photo helps prevent numerical or alphabetical errors from occurring while working through your accident case. It's just a good idea to keep yourself protected.
Now it's time to get the insurance process started. At first glance, the car may appear like it will never drive the streets of Baton Rouge again. But, how do you find out and who can help?
1. Take Control, Choose Medines - Have your car towed to Medines Collision Center. There it will be inspected for the severity of the damage and all information will be relayed to you and the insurance agency. Medines will complete a thorough inspection and administer a repair estimation report before moving forward. If the report comes back a total loss, Medines can provide you with a NADA (National Auto Dealers Association) value of your vehicle report. The insurance company might not want to use these figures, but the amount they offer is “negotiable.” Depending on the situation, it's often suggested that you get within a few hundred dollars of the bottom line figure, if possible.
2. Personal Items - Remove any personal items from inside the vehicle. You can also grab your license plate. Medine’s will have you sign a release form in order for the insurance company to pick up your vehicle. You do not want to sign the release form until you are satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations and ready to release your vehicle to the insurance company.
3. Insurance - It is very important that you get all of your negotiations with the insurance company in WRITING. You do want the negotiations to drag on any longer than needed. However, you do not want to release your car until the negotiations with the insurance company are finalized. Once this process takes place, have the final numbers sent via, email, fax, or mail.
4. THE DMV - Take the license plate to the DMV or a notary for handling. The DMV is free, usually a notary will charge around $5.00 to process it for you. You will need this to be done before you drop insurance on your vehicle. If you drop insurance before you turn in your license plate, the DMV will find you $75.00 after ten days.
5. Follow up with Medines - Your car may need to be stored, and Medines is licensed to do so. You are not responsible for the tow, storage, and related fees. Do not let the insurance company tell you otherwise. The insurance company will come and pick up the car. However, make sure your personal items are back in your possession before they do so.
Medines Collison Center has been aiding drivers get back on the road for decades. We are here to help guide you through your accident no matter the severity. If you have just been in an accident and are looking for help with your case call 225-357-7983 or download more information about why you should Take Control an Choose Medines Collision Center.
Although you hope it never happens, an estimated one in four drivers will be involved in an auto accident throughout their lifetime. Additionally, Louisiana weather is unpredictable and can result in a situation where you find yourself stranded. Because of this, it is imperative that you are always prepared with an auto emergency kit.
Do you feel confident that your vehicle is equipped with everything that you might need in the event of an emergency? In this post, we will discuss which tools and items should be included in your auto emergency kit.
Storing Your Auto Emergency Kit
Before we get into the details of what should be included in your auto emergency kit, we should discuss its storage. Although your first thought may be to keep it in your trunk, this is not the wisest option.
Consider that in the event of a truly severe accident, you may find yourself trapped inside of your vehicle and unable to access your kit. Along those same lines, your auto emergency kit should be securely closed at all times. Throwing a few items into a loose box or bag could result in its contents being scattered all about your car and under your seats in the event of an accident.
Choosing Items for Your Auto Emergency Kit
Whether you're buying your auto emergency kit or making your own, here are some of the items which should be included:
- First Aid Kit - The most obvious item that should be included in your emergency pack is a First Aid Kit. In the event of minor injuries sustained in an auto accident, it is important that you are able to disinfect any open wounds, stop any bleeding, apply a cold compress to prevent swelling, etc.
- Fire Extinguisher - Small, portable fire extinguishers are available for vehicles. Be sure to select an extinguisher that is rated for class A (ordinary combustibles), B (flammable liquids), and C (energized electrical) fires in order to cover your bases. Stopping a small fire in its early stages can prevent a serious disaster.
- Window Hammer and Seatbelt Cutter - You can buy these tools separately, or you can purchase an all-in-one option for the sake of convenience and space. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to escape your car quickly but simply unbuckling your seatbelt or opening your door is not an option, this device can be a life-saver.
- Flashlight & Extra Batteries - Don't count on your dome light in the event of an emergency. It's wise to always have a flashlight on hand so that you can see what you're doing.
- Road Flares or Reflective Triangles - The more attention that you can draw to yourself, the easier it will be for you to be found by emergency responders and/or passing vehicles who can help. Plus, road flares or reflective triangles can keep you safe on a dark road where you might otherwise be hit.
- Foam Tire Sealant - In the event of a small tire puncture or other minimal damage, foam tire sealant can work in a pinch to at least get you to the next town so that you won't be stranded on a dark highway.
- Jumper Cables - If your car is stalled and another car stops to help, it won't do you much good if neither of you has any jumper cables. It's always smart to keep them on hand.
- Gloves - Attempting to get out of a vehicle when there is shattered glass is dangerous. Keep a pair of gloves on hand to help protect yourself against cuts.
- Water - Keeping water in your auto emergency kit is useful in cleaning wounds and in surviving, should you be stranded or required to wait some time before emergency responders can arrive to help.
- Non-Perishable Food - Keep some granola bars or other non-perishable food items in your vehicle in the event that you become stranded.
When it comes to your safety, don't leave anything to chance. Medine's Collision Center sees the results of unfortunate auto accidents daily and understands the importance of being prepared in the event of an emergency. You can drive safely and confidently with the knowledge that Medine's is here to help get you and your vehicle back on the road.
We would love to hear from you if you have any additional items that you think should be included in our emergency car kit!! Feel free to post in the comments section below!
Medine's wants everyone to be educated about what should be kept in your vehicle in the unfortunate event of an accident, and we would also like for everyone to read our 7 Saftey Tips For Driving In The Rain. Please, feel free to click the button below and we will send a file to your inbox. It's free and great to share with your loved ones for their safety as well.
On Monday morning in Louisiana we awoke, and found our elf friend, Wrex, sitting on the back of a bumper ready to humor us with a joke. The humor that he decided to share was way too early for anyone in shop to care.
As time drew on and his laughter went away, the topic of the consumer's "right to choose" came into play. Remember, oh Wrexy boy arrives every morning with much fuel. So, it is not too hard to figure out why he has such the urge to duel.
So, as he sat on the bumper with such pride, we knew the basis of our argument would be the winning side. Wrex, Wrex, Wrex, our friend, we will not let our customers be fooled again.
Our consumers are far to smart to know, that when in an accident, the insurance company cannot tell the them where to go. It is the right of the customer to choose their collision shop, even when the insurance company tells us where our rights stop. When we bring this point up, our Wrex elf starts to sing the blues, but he knows deep down inside, it is the consumer's right to choose.
So, off to the Insurance lord Wrex will go. But, he will return tomorrow loaded with a glow. Worry not, my friends, Wrex will come to find, that the team at Medines Collision Center only has one thing in mind. The Rights of our Customers is the centerpiece of our day, and Wrex will continue to fight until he learns the hard way.
Tomorrow will be another battle with our friend Wrex. A constant battle he may be, but we know the battle will be worth it when we make your life a little less complex.
Stay tuned for our continued battle with WREX, The Insurance Elf.