What Does Pre-Loss Condition Mean?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jan 30, 2018 2:25:00 PM

pre-loss condition

If you've been in an auto accident, you may have already heard the term "pre-loss condition" from your insurance provider or collision center.  But, what exactly does that mean?

Pre-loss condition is supposed to mean, “after an accident, your automobile will be repaired as close as possible to the condition your vehicle was in the instant prior to an accident."  You are entitled to be "made whole" by restoring your vehicle to its pre-loss condition or by compensating you if that cannot be accomplished. The insurance company is not obligated to make it better than it was.  However, they can not force you to accept anything less.  

What Factors Determine a Vehicle's Pre-Loss Condition?

Function

Are all of the crucial and key functions of your car working? This includes things like the systems that relate to stopping, steering, and handling of the subject vehicle. 
 

Appearance

All areas of your vehicle should be restored to at least the  same appearance of your automobile just previous to the accident. 
 

Safety 

This is the most important category, but the one that is most ignored or overlooked. Who among us would know how to determine whether or not the SRS systems (which control airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners, etc.) have been set correctly, or whether or not the vehicle has been restored to withstand a subsequent impact and protect the occupants as well as an undamaged vehicle?
 

Value

Has the repair and restoration of your vehicle been rebuilt to a value equal to the value of your vehicle just before impact?

As partners of the Wreck Check Scan program, Medines Collision Center is equipped, skilled and trained to help you with every step of this process.  We pride ourselves on being your auto accident advisers, acting as competent intermediaries who are most knowledgeable regarding the topics of pre-loss condition, diminished value, and insurance rights.  So, the next time you are in an auto accident and need your vehicle repaired, TAKE CONTROL and CHOOSE MEDINES!

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Topics: Auto Accident, Costs and Estimates

Baton Rouge Repair Shop Explains How To Define Pre-Loss Condition

Posted by Chris Medine on Mar 16, 2017 9:04:56 AM

Pre-Loss Condition in Baton RougeAfter an accident, it should be your expectation that your vehicle be returned to pre-loss condition. That is what your repair shop should strive for, and it is what your insurance company promises you. But, any ambiguity in the meaning of that term could leave you with a different expectation of your level of repair than what your insurance company expects to have to deliver. At Medine’s we find it helpful to have everyone “on the same page” from the day you walk through our door. So this Baton Rouge repair shop explains how to define pre-loss condition.

According to USLegal.com, pre-loss condition is defined as “a term used by insurance companies to describe the condition of a residence or vehicle prior to damage. It is the act of restoring the vehicle or residence to the condition it was before the damage was caused.” Like many legal definitions, this leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but there are a few things that are clear. First, it means you are not automatically entitled to a new car. You’d be surprised how many people make that assumption. Second, it means your automobile will be repaired as close as possible to the condition your vehicle was in the instant prior to an accident, which is where the interpretation starts. In order to get a clearer definition of what that means, let’s look at four specific categories that make up pre-loss condition.

Defining Function In Pre-Loss Condition

Does your vehicle, and all parts of your vehicle, perform the way it did before the accident? From the body down to the chassis, everything that was repaired or replaced needs to work the way it did prior to the accident. This means, down to fit and finish, there shouldn’t be any ill-fitting parts. If it affects how the car drives, how the car looks, or how the car feels, it should be brought back to the way it was before the accident.

Defining Safety In Pre-Loss Condition

The safety of your vehicle after an accident is simultaneously the most important and most overlooked aspect of your post-accident repair. This is where the issue of aftermarket parts usually comes into play. If aftermarket parts are used in your repair, the possibility is left open that your vehicle may not respond to the next accident with the same safety redundancies that it had in the previous accident. This can affect everything from crumple zones to airbag timing and must be addressed before you are back on the road.

Defining Value In Pre-Loss Condition

Some argue that because of diminished value, it is impossible to return your vehicle’s value to pre-loss condition. But, diminished value actually breaks down into three areas inherent, repair related, and insurance related. While nothing can be done about inherent diminished value, repair related and insurance related diminished value can be minimized. Repair related diminished value can be minimized by the repair shop doing the job right. Insurance related diminished value can be minimized by the repair shop hold the insurance company accountable for everything that needs to be done.

Defining Appearance In Pre-Loss Condition

When it comes to appearance, it goes without saying that all areas of your vehicle should look the same as they did before the accident. But, what about beyond what the naked eye can see? A closer inspection should reveal that replaced parts should fit seamlessly with existing parts. When they don’t it will affect the function of those parts.

Once you have defined what pre-loss condition is, the next step is to guarantee that pre-loss condition is what you get with your post-accident repair. If you feel that the repairs you received have left you short of pre-loss condition, you still have options. Getting a Wreck Check Car Scan is the most comprehensive inspection of your post-accident repairs and will remove any shadow of doubt about what needed to be done. As Medine’s is Baton Rouge’s only certified Wreck Check Car Scan Center, we would would be happy to walk you through the process.

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Topics: Costs and Estimates

Collision Repair Estimate In Baton Rouge: 4 Questions To Ask

Posted by Chris Medine on Sep 30, 2016 10:36:05 PM

Choosing a Body Shop in Baton RougeWhen choosing a body shop after an accident, you don’t have the luxury of having a lot of time to mull your options. You want your car fixed and back on the road as soon as possible. But, hasty decisions at the outset could lead to your car being out of commission longer than it needs to be. That’s why we have put together 4 questions to ask when getting a collision repair estimate in Baton Rouge.

Does your damage exceed your insurance deductible?

It is important to know if the damage exceeds your deductible because it determines how much money you will need “out of pocket” to pay for the damage. For some, if the total is low enough, they try to avoid getting the insurance involved. The reason they do this is a claim on your insurance could lead to higher premiums. Most of the time the damage will exceed the deductible. This doesn’t make the question moot. You still need to know where you stand in terms of what you will owe. If you don’t have enough money on hand to cover what you owe, open a dialogue with the body shop to discuss options.

Does the body shop use OEM parts?

We at Medine’s can’t stress this question enough. When it comes to fixing your car, refurbished or remanufactured parts are simply unacceptable. If the shop providing the estimate tries to tell you that the aftermarket parts they offer will save you money, or if they say there’s no difference between aftermarket and original equipment manufactured parts, this should send up a red flag for you. You need your car to be fixed right the first time, and aftermarket parts can’t do that to the level of OEM parts.

What kind of warranty does the body shop offer?

When seeking an estimate for damage to your vehicle, you want to know that the shop working on your vehicle stands behind the work they do. At Medine’s we do take that stand. We offer a written lifetime warranty on body work. We also offer a written warranty on refinish work and corrosion protection. If your insurance company tells you that you have to use one of their “preferred shops” or else they can’t guarantee the work; you should know going in that it isn’t the insurance company that provides that warranty. The body shop is responsible for the work they do.

What is the reputation of the shop working on your vehicle?

Ask around. Do some research on-line. Get to know the body shop's reputation. If you receive an estimate that seems too good to be true, it likely is. Sadly, there are shops out there that offer a great looking estimate up front, then find things along the way that cause a serious gap between the initial estimate and your final bill. Granted, once your deductible is reached, these costs fall back on the insurance company, but if you are dealing with a shop that has a less than stellar reputation, you could end up with a situation where your car takes much longer to repair because of the labor involved in everything they have added on.

 Asking these questions from the start can go a long way towards getting a collision repair estimate in Baton Rouge that you can agree to and get you started on the road to getting your car back. If you have any concerns about an estimate you have received, give us a call at Medine’s and we will be happy to walk you through it.

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Topics: Costs and Estimates

What Every Baton Rouge Driver Should Know About Total Loss

Posted by Chris Medine on Nov 5, 2013 12:54:00 PM

total loss baton rougeThankfully, 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? Do you know what every Baton Rouge driver should know about total loss?


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 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.

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Topics: Costs and Estimates