Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about our shop, our services, and insurance handling. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer it.
Do you offer a warranty?
Yes! Western Auto Body provides a lifetime guarantee on repairs as long as you own the vehicle. Western Auto Body shall not be responsible for claims resulting from abuse, neglect, or normal wear and tear. Refinish panels subject to chemicals, road abrasions, or impact from foreign objects will not be honored. Western Auto Body reserves the right to inspect and perform all necessary adjustments.
Are your estimates accurate?
We try to write the best most comprehensive estimate the first time. For small cosmetic repairs where we can see all the damage on the outside, our estimates are almost 100% accurate.
For repairs where there is hidden damage, there are usually going to be what we call supplements, or additions to the original estimated price. When working with insurance companies, they understand that there is always a possibility of a supplement, and we can bill them for anything extra we may find.
How do I get my car towed to Western Auto Body? Who pays for towing?
We will call the tow truck company. We usually deal with North Bay Towing, and don’t worry about paying for the towing charges. If you have insurance, we will bill your insurance company and the towing charges will become part of the overall repair bill.
If you decide to pay for the repairs out of pocket, the towing charges will be part of the repair bill. Or you can use AAA if you have the coverage and are not going through your insurance.
Do you have loaner cars?
Yes! We have a few cars that we loan out if you do not have rental car coverage and cannot borrow a car for the repair. We can also get deals through Hertz and Enterprise.
Do you have an after-hours drop box?
Yes we do. If you need to drop off your vehicle before or after our business hours, we have a safe and secure drop box located right outside of our front office door.
Should I take my belongings out of my car when I bring it in for repairs?
It is not required to remove personal items from your car, but sometimes it is helpful.
Depending on the type of repair, we may need to take interior trim components out of your trunk and car in order to complete the repair.
If we do need to remove them, they go into a box and kept safe in our storage room and put back in your car until when the work is completed. We apologize if anything seems out of place afterwards, we do our best to put everything back where it originally was located.
Do you do auto detailing?
It depends on the type of detail you want. We cannot carry any products that contain silicone because it can affect our paint jobs. This means that most waxing and shampooing products are not allowed in the shop area. We wash and vacuum each car after repairs are done.
If you would like for us to do some polish and/or brush touching please inquire. If you are interested in these services please come by for an estimate as the cost of each job varies.
Do you do glass work?
We can replace door glass in house. For windshields, quarter glasses, and any other glass that is glued in we sublet out to Reliable Auto Glass (707-525-9550). They are mobile, so they can come to you, or come to us if you want to drop your car off here to get the work done.
Auto Body & Collision Repair Services
I've had an accident, what should I do?
- Do not move your vehicle if on public property – if on private property, police cannot make any decisions, therefore you may move it after exchanging information.
- Stay calm and check other parties for injuries – get help if necessary. Keep comments to yourself – let the police do that job.
- Call the police.
- Do not listen to “don’t call the cops, I’ll pay for the damages.” The common person has no idea how expensive repairs can be. Once you leave without a police report, you may be forced to repair your vehicle at your own expense.
- Exchange information – Insurance company, name, address, phone numbers at home and work.
- Go to a physician for a check up – whip lash does not usually occur until the next day. The insurance company may speed up a settlement if personal injury is evident. Proceed with caution on a settlement.
- Choose a repair facility of you choice – ask the insurance company to have an adjuster work with the repair facility estimator concerning your vehicle repairs.
How much is it going to cost for an estimate?
All of our estimates are free! Give us a call at (707) 829-2477 anytime and we can fit you in.
Do I need to call before I bring my car in for an estimate?
It is not necessary to call us before you bring in your car for an estimate, but it does help to know ahead of time that you are coming in so that we can make sure that we have the right person here to take care of you.
How long is it going to take to fix my car?
Every job and repair is different. It all depends on the amount of damage your vehicle has and what other damage we find during our tear down of your vehicle. An average repair involving paint work is about 3-4 days. But again it all depends on the amount of damage your vehicle has.
What is a teardown?
A teardown is what we call it when we have to take parts off of vehicles (usually bumpers) in order to write a more accurate estimate. Teardowns usually take an hour or two depending on what type of car you have and how bad the damage is.
Can you scan engine codes?
Yes! We have a scan tool that allows us to plug in to most car’s computer systems to see why your engine code is on. Sometimes if your car is less than a year old, it may be a little too new for our system.
Also, some German cars, depending on the type of code, may not be able to plug into our system. We can clear the code, however if the problem is not fixed, it will more than likely come back on shortly after it is cleared.
Do you report my estimate or accident to CARFAX?
No. We do not report your accident or estimate to anyone. Here is a little information taken from the CARFAX website for your knowledge:
If an accident has been reported to CARFAX it will be included in the CARFAX Vehicle History Report. CARFAX reports have information about accidents in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. We guarantee we will have information about the most severe accidents, ones for which the states or provinces have issued a branded title. We also have the largest publicly accessible database of less severe accidents which we have compiled from thousands of sources.
However, we do not have all accidents as many have never been reported, or may only have been reported to a source to which CARFAX does not have access. We recommend that any car be inspected by a qualified mechanic prior to purchase to make sure the vehicle is functioning properly and check for signs of unreported damage.
Do I have to report my accident to the DMV?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) states that:
An accident must be reported to the DMV within 10 days when someone is killed, injured, or property damage exceeds $750.
To report an accident to the DMV you, your insurance agent, or legal representative must complete the Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (Form SR-1).
For additional information, see the DMV’s accident guide.
Insurance Bill of Rights
- Can I take my car to the shop of my choice?
YES – You may select the repair facility of your choice unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise.
- Should my insurance company be notified before repairs?
YES – Your insurance policy generally states that, if requested, you must file a sworn proof of loss, exhibit the damaged property, and submit to examination under oath.
- Do I need to contact more than one shop for an estimate?
NO – Generally, one estimate from the shop of your choice is required, unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise. California State Law requires you to be given a written estimate before starting repairs.
- Am I responsible for the cost of the repairs?
YES – You are usually responsible to the repair facility for payment of repairs unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise. Ordinarily, if you are insured, your insurance policy states that the insurance company will pay for the loss, less any applicable deductibles or depreciation. Any arrangements for payments by your insurance company are your responsibility.
- Is the repair facility responsible for the repairs performed on my car?
YES – The Automobile Repair Act of 1971 requires all repair dealers to be registered with the State of California and to post a sign. This Act (Section 9884.7(1)(g)) states that the Department of Consumer Affairs may invalidate the registration on the repair dealer for a number of causes, including: making any statement written or oral which is untrue or misleading; causing a customer to sign any work order which does not state the repairs requested by the customer; failing or refusing to give a customer a copy of any document requiring his or her signature, as soon as the customer signs such document; any other conduct which constitutes fraud; any willful departure from or disregard of accepted trade standards for good and workman like repair.
- If I am having difficulties with my insurance company, do I have recourse?
YES – First consult with your insurance agent or broker. Then, if your problems still have not been resolved, consult with the Department of Insurance, State of California, at their office in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, or telephone their toll-free line:1-800-927-4357.
- If my insurance company does not agree with the amount of loss, do I have recourse other than question 6?
YES – Your insurance policy may provide that, when the insured and insurer fail to agree on the amount of loss, both parties are entitled to arbitration.
- Can an insurer require, direct, suggest, or recommend that my automobile be repaired at a specific shop?
NO – Unless the referral is expressly requested by you; or you have been informed in writing of the right to select the repair facility; and the insurer that elects to repair a vehicle directs, suggests or recommends that a specific repair shop be used, shall cause the damaged vehicle to be restored to its condition prior to the loss at no additional cost to you other than as stated in the policy or as otherwise allowed be law.
- Can my insurer require me to use non-original equipment manufacturer (non-OEM) replacement parts for the repair of my car?
NO – No insurer shall require the use of non-OEM replacement parts in the repair of an automobile unless: The parts are at least equal to the original equipment manufacturer parts in terms of quality, safety, fit, and performance; and Insurers specifying the use of non-OEM
Can you work with my insurance company?
Yes! We can work with every insurance company. All companies handle their claims procedures a little differently however. As soon as you get us a claim number for which company your working with, we can usually take over all the administrative labor. We try to make it as easy on you as possible!
What's the difference between being a claimant and an insured?
This is an importance difference and it reflects who was at fault in causing the automobile accident. If you were at fault—and it may take the two insurance companies some time to resolve this issue—your insurance company will be responsible for paying for the repair of both your car and the other party’s vehicle. The other party is called the claimant and you are called the insured under this scenario.
If, however, the other party is found to be at fault, then his or her insurance company is responsible. In this situation you are the claimant and the other party is the insured.
Should I pay for the repairs out of my pocket or file a claim with my insurance company?
This is perhaps the most important question we answer. If your personal budget permits you to assume the cost of the repair and you feel you can pay the bill without too much financial pain, you should consider paying out of pocket. And remember that if you are found to be at fault in the accident, your rates may go up. You need to factor that in, also.
Keep your options open. Talk to us at Western Auto Body so that you can make an informed decision before you submit a claim. Let us suggest whether or not it makes sense to pay for the repairs out of pocket or submit a claim.
What if Western Auto Body finds damage that the adjuster did not?
Sometimes additional damage is found after the car is disassembled. If additional loss-related damage is found, Western Auto Body will write up a supplemental estimate to include the additional damage. A second check would be issued.
When you drop off your car, you will be asked to sign an authorization that gives Western Auto Body the authority to negotiate with the insurance company in order for you to obtain the best possible repair.
What if the shop estimate is higher than the insurance adjuster's estimate?
Not to worry. Western Auto Body has over 12 years of professional relationships with adjusters in the area and can help you facilitate your repair. We will work with the adjusters to resolve any pricing or cost issues.
Do you save deductibles?
The expression “save your deductible” can be a little misleading.The way deductibles are “saved” is when a portion of the repair is not done, and put towards the deductible.
For example: Let’s say the damage to your vehicle is a dented fender, bumper, and a scratch in the headlight. The insurance will pay to fix everything perfectly, back to pre-accident condition. If you can live with the scratch in the headlight because it is not broken, you can put the cost of the headlight towards the deductible.
So if the deductible is $500, and the headlight is $250, then you can save half of it right there. The next time you hear about “deductible rebates” on the radio, it’s important to get the full story.
Profit margins are not very high in the autobody industry, so it’s nearly impossible to save your deductible and get the full repair done. Every situation is different, so if you can’t afford your deductible, be sure to ask us before the repair is started if there is anything we can do to help.
What does cashing out mean?
Cashing out is when you make an insurance claim for the damage on your car, and then you take the money for the repairs instead of getting your car fixed. Legally it is your money, you are owed whatever it takes to get your car back to pre-accident condition.