Your windshield does more than keep rain out your face and bugs out of your teeth. According to the Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council, that piece of glass provides up to 45% of the
structural integrity of your passenger cabin in a front-end crash. That rises to 60% in a rollover. The correct installation of your windshield and side windows also affects the deployment of your airbags. All good reasons to be extremely careful about who you trust with your auto glass repair and replacement.
Auto glass fraud is on the upswing, especially in Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky, the three U.S. states that require insurance companies to waive the deductible on windshield replacement when you have
comprehensive coverage. But even if you live elsewhere, there are plenty of scammers out there ready to rip off you or your insurance company. Here are some things to watch out.
If someone approaching you in a car wash, parking lot or other public place and offers to replace your “damaged” windshield for free, your scam-alarm should go off. Typically, they’ll point out a small ding and
claim that your entire windshield is compromised. They’ll also boast that they can do the work for “free” if you act immediately. Their tactics tend to be aggressive, bordering on intimidation. Not surprisingly, they prey on the most vulnerable people. Don’t buy into their bullying.
If you have a crack or nick in your windshield, contact your insurance company to set the legitimate claims process in motion. Many will even fix a small crack or chip for free. Besides, many car insurance policies
give the insurer the right to inspect the damage before it can be replaced. You also don’t want to risk having your car insurance premiums increasing because of an unnecessary claim. Even worse, once they have your insurance information, the fly-by-night scammer can charge several windshield replacements to your policy, which could result in your car insurance being canceled.
The scam artists won’t use quality replacement parts or employ the best installation techniques. You could end up with a substandard windshield that dangerously distorts your vision and can easily crack or shatter in an accident. When that happens, don’t expect them to be around to honor a warranty.
Always deal with reputable auto glass replacement companies. Make sure all parts and labor are guaranteed and that the guarantee is backed in writing. Get a written estimate and compare it to your final bill to make certain you haven’t been charged for more than you agreed to. If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to your state insurance department.