Click on Questions Below for Answers
What are your hours of operation?
We’re open M-F from 8:00AM – 5:00PM & Sat. 9:00AM - 2:00PM
Do you warranty your repairs?
Yes, Auto Collision Center offers a lifetime warranty on all repairs as long as you own the vehicle. You will receive the written copy of our warranty in the repair order sign in process.
My insurance company wants me to go to their body shop. Can I have my car repaired by you instead?
Yes, you can have your car repaired at the body shop of your choice. Your insurance company can only suggest their body shop. They are going to try hard to sell you on one of their Direct Repair Program (DRP) body shops. For example, you may hear statements from your insurance carrier such as, “We can’t get our company appraiser out to that shop for several days” or “we can’t warranty their repairs” or you may even hear “you may have to pay for any differences in the cost of estimate.” Auto Collision Center will never charge more than the insurance company estimate unless you’ve agreed to additional repairs. The insurance companies are interested in only one thing and that is controlling costs. The insurance company’s contract with body shops is offering discounts on labor rates, discounts on labor hours, discounts on parts, free storage, etc. This discounting does only one thing: it affects the quality of the repairs that you receive. Auto Collision Center has been trained by the manufacturers in steel and aluminum. We follow manufacturer’s procedures and techniques and specifications. There is only a 10% profit in the auto body repair industry. After all the discounting to the insurance companies the repair process is usually not followed. The consumer repairs are being jeopardized. The state of California has agency’s protecting your consumer rights, the Bureau of automotive repair and the California insurance commission. The Bureau automotive repair bill states that YOU MAY GO TO A BODY SHOP OF YOUR CHOICE…..! And the insurance commission states that it is illegal for an insurance to direct work to only their shops.
Can you arrange for a rental car?
Yes we can make all your rental car arrangements. There are several rental car agencies in the area. We suggest Enterprise because they work with all insurance carriers and honor rental car rates on your policy.
Can you tow my car?
Yes, Auto Collision Center can arrange to have your car towed to our shop anywhere in the USA. You may use your AAA or auto insurance policy.
Eddie's Towing is our preferred towing company and you can reach them at (805) 499-1492. They’ll quickly dispatch a courteous driver in a state of the art tow truck.
When I drop off my car, can I get a ride home?
Yes, we’ll drive you to home or work.
What should I do to prepare to drop off my car?
If the insurance company has already written an estimate, please bring that in. The insurance estimate is a blueprint to get repairs started. If the insurance company has not written an estimate, please bring in your policy or claim number and any contact information you have.
Please remove any valuables and things that may get in the way of the repair. This could be laptops, CDs, money, parking passes, sun glasses, garage door openers, car seats, toys, and any items you may have stored in your truck. Also please bring in any alarm remote control for your vehicle.
Can you pre-order the parts to minimize me being without my car?
Yes, however we would need a deposit to ensure you’ll return for the parts we’ll be paying for the repair. Unfortunately in the past we have pre-ordered parts for customers who have never returned for them, & very often we get stuck with the parts.
Deposits shouldn’t be an issue because normally you’ll be paying your deductible anyways. If you’re not filing a claim & paying out of pocket, again the deposit shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re a claimant & are paying nothing, you can simply sign over the insurance check at the time the parts are ordered. That will act as the deposit, or you can give us a credit card deposit that will be refunded to you when you bring your car back in & drop it off for the repairs.
It should be noted that even though you’re pre-ordering parts, there is a potential for parts delays after the car is dropped off for repairs. They could be that the wrong part was delivered. This can occur since your car was not here to compare the new part to the old one. Other potential delays can be that after the car is torn down, many times we find additional damage that requires more parts, so we end up waiting for those parts anyways.
Can you match the paint color?
Yes, absolutely! This is the most important part of the repair. We have highly trained refinish technicians to ensure accuracy as well as a computerized mixing system to correctly match the paint code assigned to your vehicle.
How long do repairs usually take?
Guessing repair time is controlled by many different factors. We figure repair time by taking the total number of labor units (hours) from the completed estimate, dividing by four (4), rounding that number up to the next whole number, then adding usually a day or two for parts.
Can I demand only new factory OEM parts, even though the insurance company wants to save money?
Yes, but unfortunately with some insurance policies, somewhere in the fine print, you may have signed off on the use of aftermarket parts. If you’re a claimant you may have some leverage to avoid aftermarket parts. The insurance companies usually will tell you that they guarantee to "fit" of these parts, so if they don't fit, we just charge them to re-do the repair with a new OEM part(s), but this can cause a delay in the repair. However, we will gladly upgrade to factory parts if you elect to pay the difference.
Other alternatives to aftermarket parts are, repairing the damaged part that’s on the car (assuming it’s a factory part). This can be good for you as the owner too. Many parts in cars have the car’s VIN# label (serial #) on fenders, hoods, trunk lids, etc… So repairing these parts leaves the VIN# label intact, which adds value to the car & makes your car appear more “original” & undamaged if you go to resell or trade in your car.
Another alternative is looking for used parts. Used parts are factory parts that are used. Used parts that have rust or dents in them get refused. Small dings in used parts would be repaired prior to paint, so your used part would look like new. Insurance companies usually call used parts “Like Kind & Quality” (LKQ) parts, meaning they’re the same as your car make & model, in similar quality & condition.
Reconditioning is another popular choice. Reconditioning is popular on bumpers & wheels. There are companies that we subcontract work to that repair bumpers & wheels. It’s your old factory bumper or wheel that we remove, they pick up & take to their facility, repair it, re-machine it, etc… They come back just like new, & they are still factory. The insurance companies like this choice because it’s a low cost alternative to new factory parts, but since it’s your old part repaired, there’s no sales tax, which saves almost another 10%!
Total losses. If my frame is bent, my car must be a “total loss”, right?
No. Frame damage does not by it’sself constitute a total. Total loss is determined by the cost of repairing the car vs. replacing the car. Most totaled cars are fixable, but the cost exceeds what the car is worth. Occasionally we do see what is called a “constructive total”, which means the car is damaged in such a way that makes a safe repair not possible.
Most insurance companies will determine total loss when the initial estimate to repair the car is less than 80% of the car’s value. For example, a car worth $5000 that has an initial repair estimate of $4000 would be considered a total loss because $4000 is 80% of $5000. You may say to yourself, “why would the insurance company rather spend $5000, instead of only $4000. There could be many reasons. The main reason is that based on insurance company past experience, they figure once the car is taken apart & repairs started, body shops usually will find additional damage. If that additional damage exceeds 20%, they would be better off totaling the car right away. They also consider car rental costs, the “salvage value” an auto wrecking yard would pay for your car in its wrecked condition.
Am I entitled to keep my totaled car?
If you do opt to keep your totaled car, you’ll have to buy it back from the insurance company for the value that the auto wrecking yard would be paying for it. As in the example listed above, if the insurance company & you settle on the cars value being $5000, & you have a $500 deductible, & the salvage value to the auto wrecking yard is $1000, your settlement would be $3500, ($5000, less $500 deductible, less $1000 buy back cost). If $4000 (80% of the car’s value) was not enough to properly repair the car, certainly $3500 will be a challenge to repair it.
Can you save my deductible so I don’t have to pay it?
In order to “save” your deductible, a body shop needs to do one of two things. #1. Over bill your insurance company for parts or services, then don’t provide those parts or services. This is insurance fraud & against the law. Or…#2. Do exactly what the insurance company pays for, and then just collect less money. This just doesn’t make good business sense.
As far as over-billing your insurance company goes, any shop that is dishonest enough to cheat your insurance company, will be dishonest enough to cheat you as well, so why would you let them fix your car & allow yourself to be cheated.
As far as doing exactly what the insurance company pays for, then just not collecting all the money, would imply that there’s so much profit built into their estimate, that we can afford to not collect all the money. On the contrary, the insurance industry has its own employees in place that come here & write their own estimates, never overpaying for parts or tasks. Their estimates are written “tight & accurate".
When do I pay my deductible & to whom?
Your deductible is paid before the car leaves & paid to us, not to the insurance company.
What type of payments do you accept?
Insurance company checks or drafts.
Visa or Master Card, either credit card or debit card. No American Express or Discover.
Personal checks up to only $500.
Can I pay you later or post date a check?
No, unfortunately everything is COD.
When can I wash & wax my new paint?
You may hand wash it whenever you like.
What is a D.R.P?
DRP is an industry term for Direct Repair Program. These programs are designed by the insurance companies primarily to control & lower their costs. It’s done by contracting with a body shop to perform repairs at a lower hourly rate, in exchange for an increased volume of work from that insurance company.
The benefit for the insurance company is a decrease in repair costs & some leverage over the body shop.
The risks for all parties are in quality control. One of the reasons an insurance company establishes a DRP, is so that their claims are given “priority service” over other repairs in a body shop. A few SCV shops in their greed, try to lock up as many DRPs as possible. When ever volume is increased, quality control usually becomes a problem. If a shop is a DRP for more than 2 or 3 large insurance carriers, beware. Body shop greed is not the consumer’s friend. Ironically
If your insurance company tells you that you need to go to their DRP shop, they usually try to sway you with this "lie".
“If the shop you pick has an estimate higher than we authorize, they may have you pay the difference”. This is untrue at IAuto Collision Center. We work with every insurance company to negotiate an agreed price to repair your car with quality & safety in mind.
What is Betterment?
Betterment is a charge related to making a part or portion on your collision repair “better” than it was before it was involved in the collision. Tires & batteries are a great example. Let’s say in the collision, your bumper punctured your tire & that your tire was worn out 25% before the accident. Let’s say that the tire costs $100 new. Since 25% of the tire’s tread was already gone (worn out) before the accident, the insurance company would pay 75% ($75 + tax), the insurance company would make you pay 25% ($25 + tax) for your worn out portion. The remaining tread is measured & compared to the tread depth of a new tire. Batteries are typically date stamped on the top, as well as labeled with the battery’s life expectancy. The difference between the date stamp & the accident date & the life expectancy would differentiate what portion the insurance company pays & what portion they charge you with. The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) says that betterment must be “measurable & discernible”. Betterment is most common on tires & batteries. Some insurance companies apply it to mechanical items that typically wear out, some go as far as to apply betterment to many things like paint, upholstery, convertible tops, etc…