If it’s too good to be true, then it is!
A problem that not many people talk about in the insurance world is windshield repair fraud. If your automobile glass cracks or gets chipped, it is very important to get it fixed. The State of Florida even makes it easy by requiring that insurance companies waive deductibles for windshields if you have Comprehensive Coverage as part of your car insurance policy. That’s right, if you have coverage, then you have an automatic deductible of zero for your windshield. Repairing or replacing a damaged one can be free!
When auto glass companies come knocking on your door, at home, or at the office, it should be a giant, red flag. They offer that they are conducting free inspections in the neighborhood. Much to your surprise, they find the tiny chip at the bottom right corner on the passenger side that you truly believe you may not have noticed. Then, you hand over your insurance paperwork. They happen to have a truck on-site, and they do a replacement, right then and there. It seems like a great coincidence and it cost you nothing. Isn’t that convenient?
Here’s what really happened: The predatory glass repair company has profiled your neighborhood and business area. Next, they discretely walk onto your driveway or office parking area. They make a small chip or crack in a place that the driver wouldn’t normally see. Then, they talk you into believing that it’s been there all along and you just haven’t noticed. They replace your auto glass with what may be authentic glass from your automaker, original equipment manufacturer glass labeled generically, or aftermarket glass that you probably wouldn’t have selected if given a choice. The glass used in your repair had a fixed cost. Let’s say $300. They turn around and charge your insurance company $1,500. As a result, your rates go up. Once the glass work is done, your insurance company has to pay. The vicious cycle of fraud continues. Had you sent them away and called your auto insurance carrier, you would have been directed to a preferred, third-party vendor that would’ve made a profit, but that charge would’ve looked much more reasonable compared to the huge mark-up from the fraudster.
Here at Harry Levine Insurance, we’ve had three separate vendors come into our office during the month of July. They began asking our staff which cars were theirs. Luckily, everyone refused to answer. The next question from the glass folks was “did anyone have damage?” They had a truck, on-site, and could do a same-day repair. We kindly asked them all to leave. Interestingly enough, each time, the crooked vendors were wearing very casual clothing and had no identification. Remember, legitimate vendors will almost always have a company uniform and proper I.D. If it’s too good to be true, it is! A suspicious, free windshield today means higher auto insurance prices for you tomorrow.