1111 Center St, Tacoma, WA 98409

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Frequently asked questions

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The length of time it takes to repair a vehicle is determined by the amount of damage it has. Some vehicle repairs can be scheduled for the same day whereas most repairs are normally a couple of weeks or more from the time the vehicle is dropped off. Usually, an insurance company is involved during the repair process and after we get the vehicle into the shop, we will provide them a full and complete damage analysis that will include necessary repairs, Parts, and procedures like scanning the computer to clear out fault codes and calibrations that reset and confirms that all the safety features on the vehicle are working properly. After we get approval for the repairs, parts can be ordered, and repairs can be started right away. One thing you can be certain of is that your vehicle will be repaired at the standards set by the vehicle manufacturer, and you will have the confidence that your vehicle looks great operates safely and will continue to retain the value that you are counting on.
The best way to get an estimate at center collision is to call our office and schedule an in person estimate which will allow us to set aside the necessary time to go over any questions you may have, give you some options, or assist you in opening an insurance claim if necessary. We have found that not everyone is able to bring in their vehicle during the regular workday, nor is it always convenient for everyone and so we have found a solution that many people have found to be very helpful. If you call our main office or go to our website, you can access an app which will allow you to send photos of the damage to your vehicle and that will give us the necessary information we need to start the process of your repair. The full scope of the repair will ultimately be determined once the vehicle is disassembled in our shop, but we can generate a basic estimate and get things going either by scheduling an in-person estimate, or by using the app and before you know it you will be one step closer to getting you back on the road.
You certainly can call your insurance company prior to bringing in your car for an estimate although without knowing the cost of the repairs it’s sometimes a really good idea to get a professional to look at the vehicle to determine whether it warrants opening an insurance claim first. Once we are able to see the car and look at the damage we can quickly help you determine the route you should go and whether or not you even want to involve your insurance company nobody wants to see their insurance rates go up and if you contact your insurance company with the intention of asking about opening a claim you may actually have to open a claim before you even get any answers from them we would be happy to assist you in helping you make the right decision that works the best for you.
Absolutely, always remember you are the one who owns the vehicle, and you have every reason to want to choose the repair shop that will do any work on it. Your insurance company may suggest that you go to one of the repair shops on their preferred list and you certainly can do that although remember that those shops all work for your insurance company and are contracted with them to serve their best interests. We have chosen to stay away from any contracts with insurance companies so that we can serve the best interests of our customers without being required to use substandard parts and perform unsafe repair practices. It’s always a good idea to check the reviews on a repair shop prior to using their services just like you may do before going to an unfamiliar restaurant. Keep in mind that not all Collision shops are equal, and having a lifetime warranty from center collision will protect your investment for as long as it is on the road.
Most collision shops will offer some type of warranty on the repairs and that is certainly something a consumer should consider when choosing a shop. At center collision we offer a national transferable lifetime warranty which goes above and beyond the standard warranty found it most collision shops our warranty covers the work we perform on your vehicle as long as your vehicle is on the road for example if you move to another state, sell the car, or switch insurance companies our warranty will still be in effect and provide you the Peace of Mind to know that your investment is safe and protected. We only use high quality products and parts that we are confident we’ll stand the test of time, protect your vehicle from the elements, and perform as expected in the case of an accident.
Insurance companies have a financial interest in the repairs on a vehicle when involved in a collision and a claim is made. For this reason, they have created opportunities for collision shops to team up with them with the hopes of getting the repairs done quickly and efficiently. Although this sounds good on the surface you should probably ask yourself quote who is this program really benefiting quote? If you are like most people and you have been paying insurance for quite some time to protect your expensive investment you may be surprised if you take your car to one of their direct repair shops and you find that your vehicle is not being repaired to the manufacturer’s recommendations and the parts being used are untested substandard parts or use parts that cannot be warranted. At center collision we put safety first, this is the very first sentence in our basic core values. For this reason, we have chosen to stay independent of any contracts with insurance companies which would require us to compromise our basic principles and undermine our customers.
Yes, we work with all insurance companies regularly. They provide a valuable product that we all need. Sometimes our customers will tell us that we are not on the list of the preferred shops for their insurance company and so they do not know if we were able to work with them. Although we do not sign up for contracts with any insurance companies, we work with every one of them on behalf of our customers. By not being in a contract with any insurance company we can effectively represent and stand up for the best interests of our customers and their vehicles. Our goal is to repair each vehicle properly and safely and provide a lifetime warranty to protect the vehicle and its owner. By working with each insurance company as an independent collision shop, we can repair vehicles to our high standards and help our customers understand the value of having a shop that works for them.
When you are in an accident your insurance company will often provide you with a list of their preferred shops in the area. You will not find center collision listed on any preferred list for any insurance company. Although we work with all insurance companies, we will never sign a contract with them which would allow us to be on their preferred list. To be honest with you, we prefer to be an advocate for our customers and assist them through this difficult situation that they have found themselves in rather than assisting the insurance companies on minimizing insurance claims that our customers are intitles to. By signing a contract with an insurance company, we would need to repair the vehicles to the Insurance Company standards rather than the manufacturers’ standards. We find this to be a conflict of interest and would prefer to represent our customers in a transparent and honest way. We know that insurance companies provide a valuable resource for us and protect us from financial troubles when we are in an accident but when it comes to repairing the vehicle, we are the experts.
This is a question a lot of people ask about. Most people are not prepared to pay a large sum of money when they get in an accident and would prefer not to if they didn’t have to. If you have collision insurance through your insurance company and you are involved in an accident your insurance company will pay to have the other party’s vehicle repaired with not out of pocket expense to you whatsoever. If the accident is deemed your fault and you want to fix your own vehicle this is when you will have a deductible. Your deductible is a set amount that is your portion of the repair cost, and it can be found in your insurance contract that you signed up for when you purchased your insurance. Most deductibles are around $500 although sometimes depending on the situation you may have a lower or higher rate. Your deductible does not need to be paid until all the repairs are completed on your personal vehicle. When you come to pick up your vehicle after all the repairs are completed this will be the last thing that you will need to do to complete the transaction and it will be paid directly to The Body Shop.
Sometimes vehicles are damaged beyond just the outside panels to the point that the frame itself has damage. This type of damage can occur without being visually obvious, although there are some signs that would point to this possibility just by looking at it. At Center collision we have a state-of-the-art Lazer measuring system that we rely on to check the frame if there is any question whatsoever about the integrity of the vehicle after an accident. If the frame does have damage to it that does not automatically mean that the vehicle would be a total loss. Depending on how much damage it has and where the damage is, it may or may not be repairable. Newer vehicles have repair procedures provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle that provide guidelines on whether a frame can be repaired, how it must be repaired, what cannot be repaired and what needs to be replaced. There are times when we can replace sections of the frame and other times where the whole frame would need to be replaced. These are not decisions we make on our own, they are always based off the recommended repair procedures from the manufacturer of the vehicle.
At center Collision we provide information to our customers and insurance companies that help them make informed decisions about vehicle repairs. Sometimes the amount of damage and the cost involved in repairing a vehicle are more than the vehicle is worth or above the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay. If this is the case, then the vehicle will be considered a total loss and the insurance company will no longer be paying to repair the vehicle. Once your vehicle is determined a total loss your insurance adjuster will normally send your file to the total loss department of the insurance company, and they will advise you on the next steps. Due to the number of vehicles that become a total loss at Center collision we also have a total loss department and a dedicated employee familiar with the laws in the state of Washington and the rights of our customers that can help you make sure they are taking the right steps and making the right choices moving forward. Your insurance company does not own your vehicle and until you release it to them you are still able to consider your options and make choices that would be in your best interest.

A bad color match on a repaired vehicle is a telltale sign of an improper repair. There’s nothing worse than getting your vehicle back after being repaired only to find that the paint does not match like it used to and this will not go away. Although there are a variety of new colors that come out each year, we have all the toners we need to mix our own paint in our state-of-the-art mixing lab here at center collision. New Modern vehicles are painted at the factory with a base coat clear coat system. The base coat, which is the color, is made from a waterborne paint system and the clear coat which protects the color and makes it shiny is a solvent based product.

We use only the best PPG products to match the color and provide durability on the clear coat giving the vehicle a factory looking finish and a color match that cannot be detected.

As your vehicle goes through the repair process at Center Collision you will be informed on a regular basis of what is going on and when you can expect it to be finished. This is part of a 12-step process that we have developed to keep our customers aware of what we are doing on their behalf and what we need to proceed. We update our customers every Wednesday, but we are always available if additional updates are needed or desired. Part of our check-in process includes asking our customers about their preferred method of communication, some people prefer phone calls well others prefer getting a text or an email. Whichever you prefer we will communicate with you and advise you of the progress we are making on your vehicle while it is here at the shop. Once the vehicle repairs are finished and the insurance company has sent the final payment, we will do a final clean up in detail on the vehicle and verify that everything is in order before we let you know it is ready to be picked up.
The difference between OEM parts and aftermarket parts is that one is made by the manufacturer of the vehicle and the other is made by someone else who has copied or replicated it. OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer OEM parts are the parts that your vehicle was built with when it left the factory. They are made by the same people who made your vehicle, they are tried and tested and have met the rigorous crash safety standards that were in effect when your vehicle was made, along with the required corrosion protection that will keep it from rusting. Aftermarket parts on the other hand are a cheaper alternative to the factory Original Parts which makes them desirable for someone attempting to save money on a repair but they’re fit is not the same and they have not met the same standards that are placed on the original factory parts. We always write estimates for using the factory Original Parts or OEM because we want to see your vehicle retain its value and protect you as it was designed to in the event of a major accident.
When you are getting an estimate either from and insurance Adjuster, a photo app, or a collision shop you can be certain that it will not include all the necessary parts, repairs, and procedures simply because it is being written based off what a person can see from the outside of the vehicle. Once the vehicle comes to our shop and is disassembled, additional damage which is accident related is usually discovered at that time. During our repair planning process, we identify what has already been approved on the initial estimate and then we create what we call a supplement which would include anything in addition to the initial estimate that would be required to return the vehicle to its pre accident condition. Once we have a solid repair plan including any additional repair time, parts, or required procedures, we send this information to the insurance company right away along with supporting photos.
Vehicles often come to our shop with an initial estimate provided by their insurance company, most of these estimates are written based off photos that were sent to them by the customer or sometimes from an adjuster who has looked at the vehicle already. Once the vehicle is in our shop, we identify everything that has already been approved by the insurance company, then we disassemble the vehicle and look for additional damage beyond what has already been identified. Anything that is discovered during this time becomes a supplement to the initial approved estimate. Some of the common things we find are broken or damaged parts, damage that was hidden prior to the vehicle being disassembled and recalibration of electronic and safety components that must be checked before a vehicle is safe to drive. We always provide plenty of photos and documentation for anything requested on a supplement so that your insurance company can easily approve it and keep the repair moving forward.
Once you drop off your car we get started on it right away. We start with a pre-wash to clean the surface so that we can clearly identify any damage that needs to be discovered. Next it goes right into our repair planning department where are we disassemble the vehicle as needed to verify Parts and damage that has already been approved then look for any additional damage that has not been discovered yet so that we can include it on a supplement. All of this typically happens in the first 24 hours after dropping off the vehicle. It’s important for us to provide an accurate repair plan right away so that we can get approval soon and order any additional parts that will be needed. After we get the necessary approvals, we order the parts and put the vehicle in into production right away. During this time, we will be communicating with you to let you know what is going on and if any completion times have been determined yet. We update our customers weekly, but we always encourage our customers to call if they have any questions.
At Center Collision we always write our estimates using genuine factory replacement parts “OEM”. Often, when we send our repair plan to the insurance companies, their Adjusters will review them and replace some or all of the factory replacement parts with aftermarket parts in the hopes of saving some money on the repair for themselves. When we find that this has happened, we advise the insurance company of the difference in the quality of the parts and the lack of safety testing and recommend that they change their estimate back to the original parts we had requested. Washington state law requires insurance companies to use replacement parts that are “like kind quality”. This is a fairly generic standard that is easily interpreted to include aftermarket parts by an insurance company who is determined to minimize a claim. If your insurance company insists on using aftermarket parts on your vehicle, we will let you know and allow you the opportunity to discuss your contract with them before proceeding.
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