At Medines Collision Center, we understand how overwhelming and stressful an auto accident can be. In a short period of time, so many important decisions need to be made, like where to take your vehicle for body repair. As your accident advisors, Medines Collision Center helps you every step of the way after an accident. So, if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being in an auto accident (and we hope that is never the case), we urge you to TAKE CONTROL AND CHOOSE MEDINES.
Car insurance premiums are an investment. We pay them for the security that, following an accident, we will be taken care of by our insurer, and we will be put back on the road in a timely and fair manner.
However, many people find themselves in sticky situations following a car accident. The stress of what follows can be staggering. You are likely dealing with body shops, collision centers, and rental companies. You may even be shopping for a new car or possibly doctors and specialists for any injuries you may have sustained during the collision.
Although your insurance company is supposed to be there, a common tactic that these companies use is called “delay, deny, defend,” and it’s about as comforting as it sounds. It’s important to understand this tactic so that, in the event of an accident, you can be equipped to conduct yourself in a manner that will ensure t you will be returned to your pre-loss condition with the settlement and claims you deserve.
What is Delay, Deny, Defend?
Very quickly during the claims resolution process, you will likely notice your insurer’s tactic to delay paying out claims, even though they may be justified. This aggravating ploy is used in hopes that you will become impatient and frustrated and thereby willing to accept less when your settlement is offered.
While the insurance company is taking their sweet time, they are also seeking out any legal loopholes that can allow them to deny your claims. Although these claims are likely completely justified, your insurance company may attempt to deter you from seeking out the compensation to which you are entitled.
When your settlement is issued, and it is far less than what you need, deserve, or were expecting, you will then be forced to pay out-of-pocket or seek out legal counsel in order to defend your claims in court. Court costs are expensive and may end up hurting you in the end. There is no guarantee that you will win your case which could leave you still behind on the settlement but also having to pay legal fees and the lawyer hired for your case.
Why would an insurance company Delay, Deny, and Defend?
There is a simple answer to this question: money. The less an insurance company spends on claims, the more profit they gain. Insurance companies are a business at the end of the day, and the higher the profit, the more that they can spend on things like advertising, new facilities, perks and bonuses. Suddenly, the company you’ve been paying to protect your assets seems less like a good neighbor and more like a big bully.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself Against the Delay, Deny, Defend Tactic?
Awareness of this tactic is your best defense. Know that the claims process can be arduous and time-consuming and that the initial settlement offer will rarely be the best you can get. Most importantly, understand that no matter what, you are in control. Your insurance company, despite any attempts to intimidate or persuade you, is legally required to meet all justified claims and restore your vehicle to pre-loss condition.
While we at Medines cannot be there for every step, we can at least be a breath of fresh air following the chaos of a car accident. We can’t guarantee your insurance company will treat you fairly, but what we can guarantee is quality repairs, complete transparency, and knowledgeable aid in the confusing world of insurance claims and consumer rights.
The time after a car accident can be stressful. Between dealing with insurance companies, possible injuries, rental agencies, and many more small factors, getting your car back from the collision center can be a huge sigh of relief and feel like the end of this hectic chapter.
Although a good repair shop would ensure that your vehicle is in like-new condition, it is still important that you perform an inspection before driving off. This will protect you and your vehicle from any potential damages and loss caused by a shop that has cut corners or that is passing off poorly performed repairs.
What You Should Look for In Your Post-Repair Inspection?
One of the most important steps you can take is to be open and clear with the body shop about which repairs are to be made. Knowing what work should be done beforehand, better equips you to ensure it has been completed to your standards after the fact. That being said, there are still a few specific areas to which you should pay close attention when looking over your newly repaired vehicle.
First, you should conduct a basic visual examination of your car. Check to make sure that paint matches in both texture and color to the rest of your car, and ensure that your car is clean. It is standard practice that the shop will wash, vacuum and clean the interior of your vehicle upon returning it to you.
The next thing you should look at is to see that the airbags were replaced and that the alignment is placed evenly. Most cars have a light that indicates if your airbag is in properly and ready to deploy in the event of impact. Alignment is another common issue. Drive your car around the lot, or take it for a short test drive around the collision shop. If your car is pulling in a way that it was not before, the shop may not have properly realigned your tires, which will cause uneven wear.
You should also check for new welds in an area that you never noticed before. In the past, some shops have participated in a practice called clipping. This is when an entire portion of another, similar model of car is used to replace the damaged portion of another. This is not as common now, but it is very dangerous. It can cause structural flaws in your car that make it very dangerous to drive.
Torque can be another problem when repairs are made. Make sure that any bolts or screws that were replaced are not stripped and were torqued to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Bolts applied too loosely can cause parts to come off too easily, while too tightly could cause the bolts to be stripped if they need to come out again.
Lastly, check to see that original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts were used for replacements wherever possible. Medines only uses OEM parts when available; however, some shops will try to pass aftermarket or used parts on your repair to cut costs. Unless you have specified that you would like to use aftermarket parts for your repairs, ask to see the parts invoice and make sure that only OEM parts were used in replacements.
Using Wreck Check to Diagnose Repair Problems
While following the above steps is important, it can be difficult for anyone who is not a professional auto body repair technician to determine whether or not their repairs have been done properly. Fortunately, there is another valuable tool at your disposal in the form of a Wreck Check Car Scan. These scans use 3D dimensioning equipment to help technicians review all aspects of your vehicle and its repair, ensuring that it was restored to the manufacturer’s specifications. In Baton Rouge, Medines is the one and only certified Wreck Check Car Scan Center, helping drivers get back on the road with the peace of mind that their vehicle is structurally sound.
For quality repairs or even assessments of repairs performed by others, you can always count on Medines Collision Center to deliver both excellence and honesty. Click below to request a free estimate, or call us today.