American Way Auto Body
6614 East Trent Avenue
Spokane Valley, WA 99212
(509) 535-5008

8am to 5pm Monday-Friday


What do I do after an auto accident?
Get the name, phone number, driver's license, vehicle license, insurance information from any others who may have been involved in the accident. Try to get any witnessess' names and telephone numbers. Note the location, time and date. And, if you have a camera, take pictures.

Contact the repair facility of your choice and have them set up a tow or appointment to get your vehicle in the shop.

Contact your insurance company, let them know where the vehicle is and/or is going, and ask for a claim number. If the insurance company asks to examine your vehicle, inform the Insurance Company that you are dropping the vehicle at the shop of your choice, and the vehicle may be examined there.

Call the shop and give them the claim number. From this point on, the shop will work with your insurance company to insure that your vehicle is returned to you in pre-loss condition.

Am I required to notify my insurance company before repairs begin on my vehicle?
Yes. Only the vehicle owner may authorize repairs.

Who pays for the repair of my vehicle?
If the damage to your vehicle is a result of your error and you have comprehensive and/or collision damage, then your insurance company pays for the repairs (less your policy's deductible). You are responsible for paying the deductible amount directly to the repair facility.

If the damage to your vehicle is a result of an error or negligence of someone else, then their insurance company is responsible for paying the full amount of the repair costs.

Who guarantees the repairs to my vehicle?
The collision repair facility guarantees its own work. An insurance company or other third-party cannot effectively guarantee the quality, thoroughness, and craftsmanship of the repairs.

Can I select the facility that will repair my vehicle?
Yes-the choice is entirely yours. An insurance company may make a recommendation, but they cannot force you to take your vehicle to a facility of their choosing.

Do I need to get three estimates?
No, there is no law requiring three estimates. You are free to get as many estimates as you desire, but it is not necessary. Your only obligation is to choose the shop of your choice and inform the insurance company.

If you are dealing with a private party or an insurance company that does not have a local office, it may expedite your repair /claims process to obtain two estimates. Do not obtain an estimate from any collision repair service that you would NOT want to repair your vehicle.

What about after-market or "replacement quality" parts?
Original equipment manufacturer's (OEM) parts made by the manufacturer of your car are generally better quality, better fitting, and have better corrosion protection capabilities. Depending on the age and condition of your vehicle, there may be some sound economic reasons to use after-market parts in the repair. The decision should always be yours; however, many insurance policies are being rewritten to give the insurance company the sole right to make this economic decision. Make sure you know the terms of your policy in this area.

Why did another body shop provide an estimate that is different from yours?
Differences in repair estimates are quite common. There are three primary estimating systems used by collision repair services and insurance companies: Mitchell, CCC, and ADP. Each of these systems break down labor operations differently and frequently use different material allowances for similar operations.

The biggest reason for estimate differences is that one estimate may not include all the required steps and processes. If you have any questions, American Way Auto Body Center will go over any insurance company estimate or estimate by another repair service with you-line by line.

We want you to have all the information you need to make informed decisions about the repair of your vehicle.

How do I choose a collision repair facility?
When evaluating a collision repair facility, make sure they can provide the following then items:
  1. The facility should have an excellent reputation. What has your prior experience with the repair facility been? Do you have positive referrals from friends or relatives that have had their vehicles repaired by the facility?
  2. The facility should be well-organized and well run. Ask to walk through the facility. Are the offices, reception area, and customer waiting areas clean and neat? Is the shop area (where actual work will be done on your car) an organized and safe working environment? Take notice of other cars being repaired in the facility--does it look like the workers are paying attention to details by masking off areas and protecting those areas not damaged in the collision? The facility should not pay their technical personel on a commission basis--pay structures should be hourly or salary only. Commission rewards speed; it does not reward quality.
  3. Rental or loaner cars should be available so that you have use of a vehicle while yours is being repaired.
  4. The facility should be open on Saturdays and should be available to any requests for off-hour pick up and delivery of your vehicle.
  5. The estimate for repair should be computerized and very detailed providing specifics on every new component needed, the types of repair and/or replacement required, with itemization of all labor and materials. Someone at the repair facility should review every line item of the estimate with you and they should encourage you to ask questions if you don't understand something. Be wary of a repair facility that does not take the time to answer your questions completely.
  6. The repair facility should have digital photography equipment and be able to electronically communicate with insurance companies and adjusters. This speeds up the claim process considerably and provides a complete record for all parties.
  7. All frame, unibody, and alignment equipment should be computerized and you should be provided with an accurate printout of tolerance readings-both before and after repairs.
  8. A heated, downdraft paint booth is absolutely crucial.The paint colors on many vehicles manufactured after 1990 can not be matched to factory color specifications without being cured in a paint booth capable of maintaining a 160-degree cycle for 20-60 minutes.
  9. A reputable collision repair facility includes a written guarantee for all repairs.
  10. A reputable collision repair facility makes every effort to accommodate you including complimentary pick up and delivery service for your vehicle.