This is a question we get a LOT. Customers come in after they’ve been hit in an accident. They call in their claim to their insurance company and start the process. But when the time comes to deliver the car, they are surprised to find that they have to pay a deductible. “But the accident wasn’t my fault,” they say. “I shouldn’t have to pay for any of it.” And they’re right….sort of. It’s actually a little more complicated.
If someone else causes your car accident, that other party should have to pay, usually through their mandatory liability insurance. But just because YOU feel you aren’t at fault it doesn’t mean that police or the insurance company will make that determination. Also, for you to avoid having to lay out any money, you would have to open your auto claim through the other party’s insurance carrier – this is usually only possible if a police report has been filed. Unfortunately, even in those cases where you pursue the other party’s insurance company, they can take up to 45 days or longer to determine their policy holder is at fault. IF they determine fault. Often times, they determine what’s known as ‘shared liability,’ deeming that both you and their insured contributed to the loss. In those situations, you’ll only get partial payment to cover the repairs, and you can bet it won’t be to cover your deductible. That partial payment will go right to your insurance carrier through a process called subrogation.
Now, subrogation isn’t all that bad. Subrogation is the process by which insurance companies determine liability for losses and reach settlement between the interested parties. So, if you do have to pursue your claim through your own carrier, your insurance company will use subrogation to settle the claim. This can help you avoid incurring rate increases, and sometimes even get you reimbursed for your deductible. Now, it’s important to note that each accident is different and results will vary. But it’s comforting to know that you have a process in which to participate.Read More...
New Jersey gets hail. Teeny tiny little pellets about the size of Tic Tac or smaller will fall during a storm every now and then. We New Jerseyans “oooooh” and “ahhhhh” for a moment or two, snap a pic and post it on social media. Then, we go about our day. Until last month. But this time we didn’t “oooh” and “ahhh” so much as we hollered and ran for cover.
On June 21st, Waretown experienced a freak and unexpected hail storm that delivered serious damage to homes and cars. Greenbriar Oceanaire Community was among the worst hit, tallying up hundreds of thousands in property damage claims. Because this storm hit in the mid-afternoon, many residents were out driving or parked in open-air parking lots. These cars experienced the worst of the damage, and let me reiterate: it was SERIOUS damage.
As the only auto body shop in town, you can imagine we’ve seen a number of these vehicles up close and personal. This also means we’ve quickly become well-versed in how each insurance carrier handles these types of claims. Trust me: they are NOT equal – they are not even close! I want to take this opportunity to help our customers with some helpful hints and important info, so your claim is processed RIGHT!
I hope this helps you navigate your claims process. If you’re not sure what, if any, damage you’ve had, give us a call.Read More...
So, last week the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission announced some anticipated changes to our required car inspection process, and it’s not all good news. In fact, one could argue (and I will) that none of it is good news at all.
You may remember that in 2010 the MVC made huge changes to inspection requirements, restricting inspections merely to emissions testing only. This eliminated the safety and mechanical check that helped protect motorists from unsafe vehicles and alert them to needed repairs. The arguable silver lining of that announcement was a shift to inspections from yearly to every two years. The issue I take with the 2010 change is on two fronts: 1) all the licensed re-inspectors had paid for costly equipment to meet the pre-2010 requirements that were now eliminated – shafting those private business owners and 2) vehicle registration fees DID NOT DROP in cost even though these changes lessened the volume and overhead for the state. Funny how New Jersey managed to stick it to the little guy on every front there, huh?
With these new proposed changes, expected to be effective May 1st of this year, we see a new crop of poor decisions. And, again, the motorists are getting a raw deal.
Firstly, the MVC plans to institute a passenger vehicle only initial inspection at state-run facilities, forcing commercial vehicles to get all inspections privately. More on the problem with private inspections in a moment, but let’s focus on commercial vehicles. This change will mean that the commercial vehicles we share the road with will NEVER be inspected by state facilities and are more open to the inevitable mismanagement of privatization (e.g. erroneous, incomplete, fraudulent inspections.) And the MVC is being disingenuous when it implies that the current inspection stations are ‘state-run,’ as they are a private company paid contractually by the state.
Secondly, any subsequent re-inspections on passenger vehicles will all be funneled to private inspection facilities licensed by the state. Now, this is the same segment of the business population that merely 6 years earlier got sandbagged by the MVC. Is this about-face a belated apology? Who knows? But what I do know is that it costs MONEY to get a private inspection at a licensed facility. So, the MVC is making us pay twice; both for annual registration renewal (at $60 a pop) and again for your inspection sticker. It should also be pointed out that the MVC is sending us motorists to mechanical repair facilities for these inspections – you know, places that have a financial motive to fail vehicles in the hopes of securing repair business from the customer. I’m not saying that all these facilities would engage in this nefarious behavior, but the MVC has certainly given them an opportunity to consider it.
Lastly, model years that are from 1995 and older are not required to have inspections at all. Granted, this is the lesser of my gripes, but one that still holds some merit. I’ll concede that there are far fewer 1995 and older vehicles haunting our roadways, but those that do are putting out far worse emissions than their younger brethren. So, if the goal of these emission-only inspections is to adhere to a clean air mantra how can the MVC reconcile old, oil burning, carbon coughing jalopies getting away scot-free? I have no idea, but I’m not the only person complaining. Environmental advocates are making their voices heard, too.
I don’t know if this MVC inspection proposal will become a full reality on May 1st, but I hope it doesn’t. As a life-long resident of New Jersey, I’ve yet to see the cost of registration and renewal go down with any of the MVC’s ‘cost saving’ measures, and this new proposal is no different. We’ll still be paying. And paying…and paying…Read More...
Over the last 13 years, Stetson Automotive, Inc. has been blessed with a wonderful clientele. You’ve helped us grow through these years and that is why we want to announce to you some exciting changes our shop is initiating.
More than 20 years ago we had our start in collision repairs, so Stetson is going back to its roots! We’re devoting our entire facility to accommodating our ever-growing auto body shop. Stetson’s auto body shop has developed into one of the most recognized collision repair shops in the county and have grown out of our two-unit area. Expanding into the entire building will allow us to service a higher volume of repairs with greater speed and security.
The unfortunate drawback of this advancement in our auto body department is that the mechanical shop will no longer be needed. And so, effective March 31st, 2016, we will be ceasing mechanical repair service permanently. It was a difficult and emotional decision to make, as we are a family run organization. But one that was well thought out and necessary; the future and security of our family and business is always a top priority in all of our judgements. Our customers’ best interests are very much a priority as well, and as we hope to retain your patronage in all of your collision-related needs, we would also like to refer your mechanical repair services to a location we trust.
Barlow Buick GMC is also a family owned and operated company with a wonderful service reputation for all makes and models – beyond GM. Their hours of operation are very accommodating, and their staff is very courteous and thorough. Barlow’s Service Department can be reached at (609) 597-4700.
We at Stetson want to express our sincere appreciation for your loyalty, support and friendship, and we look forward to continuing to providing excellent service as we transition fully to Auto Body. Thank you for being a part of our growth and success.Read More...
Most drivers have had to interact with a mechanical shop. What many people may not be so familiar with is collision repair. You may go decades without having an accident, and that’s a good thing! But when it does, unfortunately, happen, it puts you in an awkward and confusing position. “Who do I call first?” “Will my insurance company raise my rates?” “How long with this take?”
These are all reasonable questions. So, here are a few facts and tips to help you or someone you know.
Considering our recent storm, I figured this might be of particular importance right now. Of course, we’re here from Monday to Saturday, and we can answer any questions you have.Read More...
309-315 Route 9
Waretown, NJ 08758
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