Glass holds a special place in the world of car insurance. According to Safelite AutoGlass, windshields and windows generate more insurance claims than any other parts of the car, and that probably won't change anytime soon. The amount of glass components in cars has increased by 15 percent in the past decade.
Thankfully, auto glass falls under the comprehensive portion of a car insurance policy. So if your windshield is damaged by flying debris on the road, your car insurance will cover repair or replacement of the windshield.
Keep in mind, however, that comprehensive coverage is optional. And in some cases, you'll have to pay a deductible before the insurance company picks up the tab for fixing or replacing that windshield. Some car insurers will waive the deductible, however. Why the waiver? Most glass cracks are classified as "no fault," meaning that there's no way a driver could have prevented the damage, such as a rock hitting the windshield.
Repair or replace?
Generally, auto glass replacement is subject to a deductible, but not glass repair, according to GEICO; other insurers follow similar rules. It costs much less to repair a windshield than replace it, so insurers encourage car owners to go with the low-cost option rather than insist on a new windshield for every little blemish.
If your car has glass damage, the big question is whether you should repair or replace it. According to CarsDirect.com, the average cost of a windshield replacement is $300. That's not bad, but repairs can be even less, from about $20 for a small chip to $70 for a long crack.
JN Phillips Glass Co., which specializes in auto glass, notes on its website that technicians can inject a resin-based bonding agent into the crack. (Any glass can be handled this way, although it's relatively rare for non-windshield glass to sustain this kind of damage.) This stops the windshield from cracking even more, the company says, and restores your ability to see clearly through your windshield.
Another advantage of repair over replacement is that the original seal connecting the windshield to the car frame remains intact, according to JN Phillips Glass.
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Insurance attorney Frank Darras says that if an auto glass chip or crack is bigger than a dollar bill, you should replace the windshield or window.
The only car owners who may face difficulties in repairing or replacing auto glass are those with classic vehicles or unusual foreign vehicles, says Pete Pearson, senior vice president of client sales and support at Safelife AutoGlass.
Beware of glass scams
No matter what kind of car you have, be careful about where you get a windshield or window repaired. Scam artists will set up temporary glass repair operations at gas stations, car washes or parking lots where they'll offer free windshield repair, Pearson says.
"They’ll ask for your insurance information and then go to work," says Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the nonprofit National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Indeed, the nonprofit Coalition Against Insurance Fraud gives examples on its website. Scam artists may tell you that a virtually invisible blemish requires repair. They'll contact your insurance company; since the deductible is waived, you just sign off on it. Or they may tell you a crack that could be repaired really needs a new windshield. If you hesitate, they offer to pay the deductible themselves and overbill your insurer. Either way, the insurer pays for an unnecessary repair, which affects everyone's car insurance rates.
Windshields may be small change by themselves, but the costs add up. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud notes that one auto glass company billed $6 million in phony fees over three years.
Avoiding auto glass fraud
How can you protect yourself? Instead of doing business with what may very well be a fly-by-night business, your best bet is to ask your car insurance company for a referral to a reputable auto glass company, Scafidi says.
Other tips include:
Working only with companies that have real addresses, not just P.O. boxes.
Looking at your bill to make sure a repair wasn't billed to the insurer as a replacement.
Being wary of repair services that come to you, "noticing" a crack you haven't seen and offering freebies or other incentives.
Geico insurance utilizes a third-party administrator named Safelite Solutions to file auto glass repair and windshield replacement claims on their behalf. Windshields of Arizona is a Phoenix “Geico Preferred Auto Glass Program Participant” so all work is guaranteed and backed by Geico insurance nationwide. In addition, Windshields of Arizona honors Geico’s contract pricing so that there will never be any additional out-of-pocket costs to you.
Plus, you will receive $50 CASH at the time of service with any zero deductible windshield replacement Geico insurance claims!
Geico insurance now requires the policyholder to be on the line to file an auto glass repair or windshield replacement claim. Windshields of Arizona will conference you directly with Safelite Solutions and will help you file this claim. Safelite Solutions will need to ask a series of questions to process your claim. Once the claim is filed, Safelite Solutions will be able to verify coverage and give Windshields of Arizona authorization to perform the work. Below is a list of the questions that will be asked by the Safelite Solutions Claims Representative during the auto glass claim process. Typically, these conference calls can be completed in less than 15 minutes.
Upon, the connection with Safelite Solutions, the representative will announce that your call will be monitored or recorded for quality purposes and that Safelite Solutions is “financially affiliated” with Safelite Auto Glass. This is “only” a legal declaration and in NO way obligates you to use Safelite Auto Glass. Always remember, per Arizona State Law ARS 20-469, “You have the Right to choose your auto glass service provider”.
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Here is the list of questions that Geico will ask in order to process your auto glass or windshield replacement claim:
What is your name?
What is your Geico policy number?
What is the date of loss? (When did the damage occur?) Geico cannot pick the date so if you do not know the exact date choose a date that is as close as possible. Make sure you had coverage on this date.
Was there any additional damage besides glass?
For verification purposes, we need to go over some personal information with you. Is it ok to do that on this line or should we call you on another line?
What is your date of birth?
What is the zip code that appears on your policy?
What is the year, make, and model of the vehicle? (Example:2013 Acura ILX)
Who was driving?
In what state did the damage occur?
What type of damage?
Can you describe the damage?
Geico performs random auto glass inspections and you may be selected for an inspection prior to work being performed. (If this occurs, a Geico adjuster will come to your home or office and inspect the windshield damage and then give us authorization to either repair or replace your windshield) If this occurs, it will delay your claim until adjuster can perform the inspection.
Geico claim representative verifies your glass coverage
What is your email address? (Geico will email you a copy of your auto glass or windshield claim)
Geico verifies your auto glass shop as Windshields of Arizona and informs you that we are a Geico preferred auto glass service provider and that we will stand behind our work and give you a written warranty
Geico representative gives Windshields of Arizona a referral number in which they use to bill Geico for work (We agree to Geico pricing and are on their approved vendors list)
Windshields of Arizona representative schedules your convenient appointment
About Geico Auto Insurance
GEICO Insurance is one of the leading insurance brands in the nation. The former Government Employee Insurance Company is now available to those who live almost everywhere in the United States, and provides coverage for everything from RVs to motorcycles. The vast majority of those who use GEICO do choose car coverage, though, which does tend to cover any damage to auto glass. The company itself is well known for the ease of filing claims, as well as the ability to contact customer service with any questions. This makes it easier to find out about any problems you might have with your vehicle.
While GEICO is certainly one of the insurance companies with the highest level of advertisement on television, it still ranks only 13 out of 25 with consumers. The company has had a rather low profile until the ten to fifteen years, though its low prices and helpful agents are gaining ground on some of the more established companies. The majority of those who seek out GEICO insurance tend to be attracted to the comprehensive coverage and relatively low rates, though GEICO’s ability to provide insurance for a multitude of vehicles is a current selling point.
GEICO Insurance also tends to be particularly helpful when it comes to auto glass replacement. While GEICO does require that those covered pay a deductible, it sets few limits on who can do the repairs. This gives you the ability to have your window repair work done at a local replacement facility rather than having to choose from a list of GEICO’s approved sites – a very useful perk. GEICO actually recommends that customers contact the company and have the glass replaced as soon as any damage is inflicted, as simple maintenance costs both the consumer and the company less money than having to undergo the full replacement process.