Auto Accidents in Baton Rouge: Understanding Common Insurance Phrases

Posted by Chris Medine on Sep 3, 2019 1:42:00 PM

Learn definition highlighted in red in the dictionaryGetting into a car accident is stressful enough. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at fault or not, combining the inconvenience of being without your car with the head-spinning jargon used by insurance companies makes it even more taxing. Unless you are well-versed in the legalities that surround auto accidents, and your rights as far as insurance coverage goes, you can quickly succumb to false information. Here is a list of common insurance phrases you may hear from an insurance company to persuade you to bring your vehicle to their preferred shop. 

The repairs won’t be warrantied if you go to a different shop.

It’s essential to keep in mind that insurance companies don’t make repairs; therefore, they can’t warranty any repairs. Speak directly with the shop of your choice to discuss any possible warranties on parts and workmanship.

If you go somewhere else, we can’t provide a rental.

As long as you have rental coverage on your policy, a rental car has to be provided, regardless of which shop that you choose. If you are not at fault and are a claimant that was hit by someone else, their insurance company has to compensate you for the loss of the use of your vehicle with a rental.

A non-preferred shop will cause delays and cost you more money.

This is an intimidation tactic. The insurer is legally responsible for all accident-related costs. Delays may happen, but they can happen at any shop, and again, this is the insurer’s responsibility. This is another strategy to persuade you to use their preferred shop and appeal to your desire to resolve the entire process.

That shop won’t agree with our appraiser.

Appraisers are not repair professionals, and they represent the insurance company. The repair shop should do what is best for you, not the insurance company.

These are only a few of the ways that an insurance company will try and persuade you to use their preferred shop. Preferred shops have pre-negotiated rates and agreements in place that provide more business to the shop, and discounts for the insurance company. In Louisiana, it is your right to choose where to have your car repaired. Medines Collision Center does what is best for their customers, not insurance companies.

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Topics: Insurance

How Does Your Car's Value Depreciate Over Time?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jul 31, 2019 1:23:00 PM

Closeup portrait, beautiful, young woman, dealership agent holding model black car, pink piggy bank in hand, offering credit line, isolated white background. Lease, automobile purchase, financing.Unfortunately, most things don’t age as well as a fine wine. This is especially true when it comes to your vehicle. While you can keep the odometer rolling with care and preventative maintenance, it doesn’t help much with its value.   Unlike an investment such as your home, which grows in value and develops equity, your vehicle does the opposite, and at a much quicker rate. According to CarFax, a brand new car can lose over 10% of its initial value within the first month, and over 20% during the first year. This trend continues at a rate of 10% each year for the first four years. 

 

What can I do to Decrease My Vehicle’s Depreciation?

While there is no way to turn your depreciating asset into an appreciating one, there are a few things you can do help it hold its value. The less you drive your vehicle, the better. Keeping its usage below 10,000 miles per year is ideal. You can also perform routine maintenance, and keep records of it. Do the manufacturer recommended services, change the oil regularly, and take care of the interior and exterior. 

Why is it Important to Understand Depreciation?

Depreciation is an important concept because it dictates how much your vehicle is worth. This is especially helpful if you are ever in a collision. Your car’s age, mileage, and condition will all be considered by insurance companies as they assess whether to pay for a repair or declare it a total loss. However, the most important thing to understand if you are ever in a car accident is that selecting a repair shop is your decision. Your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company may try and sway you to their preferred center, but it’s your right to choose where your vehicle is repaired.

The experts at Medines Collision Center have been helping drivers in the Baton Rouge area for decades. They take the confusion and frustration out of dealing with insurance companies and get you back on the road.

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Louisiana is a Fault State: What Does that Mean for You?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jul 29, 2019 3:30:00 PM

LouisianaDifferent states have different laws when it comes to auto insurance and how auto accidents are handled in terms of liability, claims, and all corresponding processes.  One crucial distinction is that Louisiana is a “fault” state.  What does this mean? And what does this mean if you are ever in an auto accident in Louisiana?

Typically states abide by one of two philosophies; fault, or no-fault.  How your auto accident claim will be handled varies drastically depending on which type of state in which your accident occurs.  If it happens in Louisiana, you will be under the stipulations of a fault state, which is the traditional practice of determining which party is responsible for the accident.

What is a Fault State?

In a fault state, the law will decide which party will be financially responsible for financial losses, including injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and more.  The at-fault party’s insurance company will absorb these costs, up to the policy’s limits.  If you suffer any of these losses due to damage or injury or damage, you have three options in Louisiana.

  • You can file a claim with your own insurance company.
  • You can file what is called a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  • You can file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court against the at-fault driver.

If you opt to file a personal injury lawsuit, the court will ultimately determine who was at fault.  Many times in this case, these suits begin as third-party claims.  If the liable party’s insurance company and the victim’s representation can’t settle, it will proceed to a courtroom.

Repairing Your Car After an Accident

One of the important things to consider when involved in an auto accident is where to take your car for repair.  Whether you were at fault or not, it is your right to choose the collision center.  While your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company may recommend other places, you are not limited to those options.  Be sure that you select an experienced, trusted, quality collision center.  Medine’s Collision Center has been helping Baton Rouge get back on the road for decades.  The experts at Medine’s are your accident advisors and will see you through the entire process.

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Car Accident Repair in Baton Rouge: What are My Options if My Car is Totaled?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jul 18, 2019 3:06:00 PM

car totaledAfter a car accident, you’re going to have a lot of questions.  After determining that everyone is safe, notifying the proper authorities, exchanging paperwork, and documenting the accident, you are going to have a few decisions to make about your vehicle.  The most crucial decision is selecting the right collision repair facility.  You want a collision center that will do quality work, provide excellent customer service, manage the insurance companies, and get you safely back on the road.  However, your insurance company may urge you to use one of their recommended facilities, but you are by no means required to do so; you can choose any collision repair shop you’d like

Once this decision has been made, the time between your car arriving at the shop, the estimate being prepared, and the insurance company’s decision can be a stressful one.  What kind of repairs are needed?  How much will it cost?  How much is the insurance company willing to pay?  How much is my vehicle worth?  And the big one, will it be totaled? 

When is a Vehicle Considered Totaled?

A vehicle is considered a total loss or “totaled,” when the cost of repair exceeds a certain percentage of the vehicle’s value.  Depending on the severity of the accident, or other underlying issues that make a repair more complicated in order to return the vehicle to safe operating condition; even damage that appears minor can exceed the threshold that creates a total loss.  In this case, the insurance company will pay you the actual cash value of the vehicle; but what if you want to keep it?

What Can I do if My Vehicle is Totaled?

So, if your vehicle is totaled, what are your options?  If you own your vehicle and it can be restored, you may want to keep it.  In this scenario, the insurance company will allow you to “buy back” your vehicle.  This can be a confusing term, but it means that instead of receiving the actual cash value of the car, the insurance company will pay you the difference between the actual cash value and what they would make at a salvage auction.  So, you still end up with a check, and you keep your vehicle.  Ideally, the amount you receive will be enough to have the necessary repairs done.  Depending on the amount of the repair compared to the value of your vehicle, and laws in your state, you may need to obtain a salvage or rebuilt title. 

The right collision repair center can be an invaluable resource during these situations.  They can make quality recommendations based on your circumstances and their years of experience to ensure that you make the best decision.  The experts at Medine’s Collision Center are your accident advisors.  With decades of experience, knowledge of your insurance rights, and the highest quality workmanship, Medine’s is here to get you back on the road.

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Types of Auto Insurance Coverage: What do They Mean?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jun 25, 2019 10:50:00 AM

Car Insurance - Business Concept. Blue Arrow with Car Insurance Words on a Grey Background.Let’s say you were just involved in a collision.  You take all the right steps – file a police report, contact your insurance agency, and have your car taken to a local body shop.  Then, you discover, that your insurance won’t cover the damages, or at least not to the extent you thought they would.  You’re confused.  You pay monthly premiums for coverage.  How could this not be covered?  Unfortunately, this is an incident that many drivers find themselves in every day.  They are aware that they pay for auto insurance coverage, but they are unaware of the many specific types of coverage and which ones are on their policy, a fact that can make a very big difference when it comes time to repair or replace your damaged vehicle. 

For Louisiana residents, the bad news is that if you are carrying state minimum coverage, you are largely uncovered.  The state really only requires you to have insurance that protects others from damage you may cause them, not the other way around.  If you want to ensure that you are fully protected, you need to understand all of the following types of coverage that may be added to your policy:

What is Liability Auto Insurance?

Liability coverage is the minimum that the state of Louisiana, and most other states, require of drivers on their roads.  This coverage protects other drivers by providing for expenses they may incur as the result of an accident for which you were at-fault.

What is Collision Auto Insurance?

Collision insurance is an additional add-on which can help cover the costs to repair or replace your own damaged vehicle following an accident.

What is Comprehensive Auto Insurance?

Beyond collisions, a car can also be damaged in ways that do not involve another vehicle.  It could be vandalized, stolen, or damaged by weather-related events like hail.  This is where comprehensive collision comes into play.

What is Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

On occasion, you may find yourself involved in an accident with an at-fault motorist who has no insurance, flees the scene, or who has insufficient coverage limits to cover the entirety of your costs.  Having this type of coverage can help cover the difference and ensure that you are still able to afford the necessary repairs to your vehicle.

What is Gap Auto Insurance?

It’s an unfortunate reality that your car’s value begins to depreciate from the very moment you drive it off the lot.  Because of this, drivers often find themselves in situations where the estimated value of their car is less than they actually owe.  This can quickly become problematic when you’ve been in an accident that has left your car totaled.  In such a situation, the auto insurance settlement you are given will not be enough to cover all that you owe to your creditor.  Therefore, you’ll have to pay the remaining balance out-of-pocket while also shopping for a new vehicle.  Gap insurance helps motorists avoid this scenario by guaranteeing that your insurance provider will pay the entirety of what is still owed on a totaled vehicle, even if it is more than the car’s actual value.

Carrying auto insurance is not only smart, it’s the law.  However, even following the minimums of the law will not be enough to keep you safely covered in many situations.  To ensure that you are fully protected, regardless of the nature of your accident, speak to your insurance agent about each of the types of coverage listed above.  While your premiums may increase, you can avoid a much bigger potential expense and headache in the future. 

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Collision Repair When You Damage Your Own Car

Posted by Chris Medine on Jun 17, 2019 3:54:00 PM

single car accidentBeing involved in an accident with another vehicle is a frightening and frustrating experience.  However, not all accidents involve a separate party.  One-car accidents can lead to equal amounts of frustration and confusion regarding insurance and collision repair and are also quite common.  In fact, as many as 38 percent of all vehicle collisions involve objects, not a second car.  When you find yourself in the position of needing to file an insurance claim and seek collision repair for a single car accident, here is what you should know:

Does My Insurance Cover Single-Vehicle Accidents?

The short answer to this is yes, as long as your policy includes collision coverage.  Some policies do not include such coverage, as Louisiana law only requires liability coverage at or above state mandated minimum limits

The difference in these two types of coverage are important to understand.  Liability coverage only applies to the cost of property damage, medical bills and other expenses that others may incur from an accident you caused.  Collision coverage, on the other hand, pays for your own vehicle repairs or replacement regardless of who is at-fault or how many vehicles were involved. 

While collision coverage may not be required by the state, it is important for all drivers to maintain.  If you are unsure of the details of your own insurance policy, contact your agent to ensure you are fully covered in all potential situations.

Collision Repair for Single-Vehicle Accidents

After any collision, whether with another vehicle or a stationary object, an inspection by collision experts should be performed.  Even if damage appears to minimal or merely cosmetic, it is important to ensure that the integrity of the car’s frame or underlying components has not been compromised. 

Regardless of your insurance provider, as long as you have collision coverage, your vehicle can be repaired at any shop of your choosing.  Body shops like Medines, will inspect your car to determine the extent of damage and guide you through the claims process to ensure that you receive the highest quality repairs under your policy. 

Auto accidents and collision repair can be a headache, no matter the number of vehicles involved.  At Medines, we work hard to minimize the frustration and confusion while also returning your vehicle in pristine, pre-accident condition.  To learn more about our services or to request a free estimate, click below.

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Insurance and Collision Repair in Baton Rouge: 3 Misconceptions

Posted by Chris Medine on May 29, 2019 10:39:00 PM

collision repair baton rouge

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.

Who Provides the Warranty on Replacement Parts?

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.

Can You Choose Where Your Car is Repaired?

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.

Do Direct Repair Shops Complete Work Faster?

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.

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Topics: Insurance

3 Causes of Baton Rouge Auto Accidents

Posted by Chris Medine on May 20, 2019 10:34:00 PM

causes of car wrecks

Staying safe on Baton Rouge roadways is not always easy.  Despite your best efforts, there are many elements that are simply beyond your control.  Other drivers, inclement weather, and road construction all play a role in your safety behind the wheel.  Remaining alert and aware of your surroundings is your best defense against a collision.

There are several different potential causes for an auto accident, but recognizing the top few and taking precautionary steps to avoid them can help keep you and other drivers safe.  Here are three of the most common causes of collisions:

Accidents Due to Driver Distraction

 Campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving have brought this particular issue to the forefront recently.  However, while it is incredibly dangerous, texting is part of a much longer list of distracting activities that drivers participate in behind the wheel.  Motorists make phone calls, eat, apply makeup, and even surf the internet while operating their vehicles, and the consequences can be deadly.  In fact, over 3,000 people lose their lives each year due to distracted drivers

If you need to make a phone call, send a text, or grab a quick bite, take an extra minute or two to pull over while completing your task.  Furthermore, if you see a driver who appears to not have their full attention on the road, keep a safe distance and exercise extra caution when passing or approaching them.

Accidents Due to Driving While Impaired 

In 2011, 1.2 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).  While the number may be shocking, it still doesn’t account for those who made it to their destination uneventfully, or those who were involved in a fatal accident.  Driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics seriously inhibits your concentration and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of an accident dramatically. If you drink, do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Instead, ensure that you first have a designated driver available to take you home, or call a cab.  Additionally, if you know someone is under the influence, do not allow them to drive.  Offer to drive them, or call someone for them. Preventing drunk or impaired driving will ultimately save lives.

Accidents Due to Speeding

Speed limits are set to keep motorists, pedestrians, and anyone else on the roadway safe.  However, they are frequently ignored.  We live in a time when speed is nearly always seen as a positive.  We want to get to our destinations as quickly as possible, but when doing so puts yourself and other drivers at risk, it’s best to slow down.  The National Safety Council estimates that over 13,000 lives are lost each year due to speeding.  In most cases, these lives could have been saved if drivers had simply slowed down.

Consider the consequences of aggressive driving.  Even if you’re running late to a big meeting or major event, the risk associated with speeding is not worth it.  Slow down, and keep yourself and others safe.  Furthermore, if you must share the roadway with someone who is driving hazardously, allow them to pass, and keep a safe distance.

Medine’s Collision Center wants you and your loved ones to arrive safely at your destinations, but we also understand that you cannot always avoid a collision.  If you have been involved in an auto accident and need a trustworthy and reputable company to guide you through the repair process, contact our shop.  We are proud of the quality work that we provide and our ability to get Baton Rouge drivers back on the road. .

 

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Topics: Auto Accident

3 Key Rights All Drivers Have After an Accident

Posted by Chris Medine on Apr 29, 2019 6:33:00 PM

3 rightsHopefully, you never find yourself involved in an auto accident and never need any of the following information.  Unfortunately, however, many drivers are involved in accidents each day.  Unaware of the repair process and the inner workings of their insurance provider, these drivers will often find themselves confused and overwhelmed by it all and completely unaware of the power of choice available to them.  If you do end up in the unfortunate situation of a car accident, keep the following rights in mind:

You Have the Right to Choose Your Repair Shop

Insurance companies maintain relationships with some auto body shops as part of a direct repair program.  It is often suggested that these arrangements benefit consumers with a quicker repair, but they often require the shop to cut corners to maintain profitability. In the end, drivers are often left with hasty repairs and aftermarket parts that don’t fit quite right.  Fortunately, everyone has the right to choose where their car is repaired, even if that shop is not endorsed by the insurance company.  Likewise, you also have the right to choose your tow company and rental car provider.

You Have the Right to Original Manufacturer’s Parts

If you want replacement parts from your original car manufacturer, choose an insurance policy that guarantees OEM parts. If your policy doesn't guarantee OEM parts, you still have the right to request them.  However, keep in mind that you could be asked to share the repair cost.  Weigh the options and determine for yourself which is the best way to go, and let your claims adjuster and collision center know.

You Have the Right to Multiple Repair Quotes

You are not legally obligated to get more than one estimate for your vehicle repairs.  However, you have the right to get as many quotes as you choose in search for the best repair shop.  Keep factors such as quality of parts and experience of technicians in mind as you make your decision, and remember that the cheapest quote may cost you more in the long run. 

These are just three of the consumer rights of which all drivers should be aware.  If you ever find yourself overwhelmed following an auto accident, contact the accident advisors at Medines and learn more about all of your rights and the claims and repair process.  We are happy to help.

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Steps in the Auto Body Repair Process: From Accident to Completion

Posted by Chris Medine on Apr 19, 2019 1:36:00 PM

repair processFrom the moment you are involved in an accident, there begins a long and detailed process to get your vehicle repaired and you back on the road.  Any missteps can prolong this process and add to your headache.  However, by understanding exactly how it all unfolds and what to expect at each step along the way, you can help minimize frustration and delays.

Step 1: Car Accident

It all obviously begins at the moment of collision.  From the second your car is struck, there are some important steps you should immediately take that will help protect you and move things along in the coming days.  As soon as you can do so safely, it is important to complete each of the following

  • Check on passengers and other drivers to ensure their safety
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with all parties involved
  • Call police to the scene for a written report
  • Take photos all vehicles and the damage sustained

Step 2: Having Your Car Towed

Depending on the severity of the accident and the extend of damage, you may not be able to drive your vehicle away from the scene.  In this case, you’ll need to have your car towed to an auto body shop of your choosing.  Remember that company that tows your car, as well as where they tow it to, is completely up to you.

Step 3: Getting Collision Repair Estimates

Once at the body shop, the repair process will begin with an estimate of cost based on the work and parts needed.  This will involve both your chosen repair shop and your insurance company’s adjuster.  Based on the final numbers, your insurance provider will determine whether or not the level of damage exceeds the value of your car (this is different than how much you owe).  If it does, the vehicle will be declared a total loss, and you will be issued a check for the vehicle’s estimated value (this amount is negotiable, so don’t settle right away).  If damages are less than the value of the car, repairs can be approved and work can begin.

Step 4: Repairing Your Vehicle

Once you authorize the estimated repairs, work on your vehicle can begin.  Your collision center should remain in contact with you throughout this process, giving you updates on the status of the work and filling you in on any changes or new problems that may arise.  It isn’t uncommon for underlying damage to be found over the course of repair and amendments made to the original quote.  If you were at-fault for the accident, you will also be in contact with your insurance company during this time to determine what you owe based on your coverage.  Often, this amount is simply your deductible.  If another party was at-fault, their insurance provider will cover the cost of repairs.

Step 5: Finalizing Your Vehicle’s Repairs

Once the work on your car is complete, you will be able to pick up your vehicle from the auto body shop.  Before driving away, give your car a quick inspection to make sure everything has been completed to your satisfaction.  Look for things such as mismatched paint or parts that don’t seem to fit quite right, and bring any issues to the shop’s attention before you leave.

While the auto body repair process may seem confusing, it is actually a fairly straightforward process, particularly when you have the right team in your corner.  In the Baton Rouge area, Medines Collision Center has been advising drivers and providing quality repairs for decades.  To find out how we can help you, contact our shop and request a free estimate.

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