Filed under: Auto Related, Automotive Tips, Windshield Repair
Let me start by saying, I have been performing auto glass repair on vehicles since early 2002, and during this time I have seen a lot of glass shops use the word “FREE” in their marketing material and storefront signage. Use of the word free in my opinion is deceptive and confusing to consumers, not to mention it is far from the truth. The truth is, auto glass technicians are ultimately paid by your insurance company for fixing the damaged glass on your car.
Note: If an auto glass specialist asks to see your insurance card, it’s not only to keep him from asking you questions while he fills out your paperwork!
During my time on the service drive talking to customers and fixing windshields, I would approach customers and introduce myself with the following.
Hi, I noticed you have a chip in your windshield. I can repair that at no cost to you, make it 80 to 90 percent less visible, and keep it from spreading any further. Who is your insurance company?
The introduction above is designed to cover what the windshield repair would do for the glass, how it would look upon completion, and how I would be paid. At this time the customer would either ask me why I need to know who their insurance company was or they would tell me. I would then explain how their insurance company will waive the deductible and pay me to repair the damage as long as they have comprehensive coverage. Insurance companies do this to save on the expense of replacing the whole front windshield, plus it strengthens the original glass back to its recommended factory specifications when done properly.
I have found that a lot of consumers are concerned about the possibility of increased insurance premiums after having a glass claim filed. I have only had one person in the course of 10 years tell me their insurance premium increased after a claim was filed. I immediately contacted their agent to find out why their annual premium went up. The insurance agent for my customer told me that it was not a rate increase but rather a removal of some discount for not filing any claims in the past year. Long story short, I sent a check to the insurance company to cover the claim and the agent reinstated the discount. I have also spoken to insurance agents about the claims process and was told the following in regards to glass repair claims:
An auto glass repair claim is considered to be a “no-fault claim” and is filed under the comprehensive portion of the insured’s policy. In most cases you can file up to six comprehensive claims per policy, per year without any rate increase. The six claims are for all vehicles listed on a policy, so if you have three vehicles on your policy and you file two claims on each vehicle during the course of a year, then it’s possible your premium will increase. However, not all insurance companies are the same, and I would suggest contacting your agent for confirmation prior to having any work performed.
As a glass tech, I would suggest saving your insurance claims for items like hail damage repair. Why file a claim for windshield repair when it’s something that is very affordable and can easily be paid using cash? Think of it this way, what if you had five major comprehensive claims during the course of a year and your sixth claim was filed to fix a chip. Now you’ve just reached your claim limit, according to the agent I spoke to, and your rates could be increased from something that could cost around $50 in most cases.
Now that you understand the truth about glass claims, be sure to watch out for two types of companies that I consider scammers — glass claims harvesters and pit chasers. Visit the repair page of auto glass locator now to read more about these types of companies. www.autoglasslocator.com does not allow these types of shops on our site. Visit our home page when you’re ready to locate a reliable shop in your area.
Filed under: Auto Related, Automotive Tips, Replacements, Windshield Repair
As a person who spends a lot of time driving, I often see others driving around with cracked windshields. I actually know a few of these individuals personally and the reasons for not replacing their windshields vary. Some say their insurance has a deductible that they currently can’t afford. Some say the crack doesn’t obstruct their view, while others say they just don’t see the necessity if it’s not shattered. It’s hard not to roll my eyes at all these answers. Little do they realize the risk they’re putting themselves and their families in by not having their windshield replaced. The purpose of this article is to tell you why it’s so important to have a good windshield on your vehicle and to give you some tips for when you make this very important purchase.
The Purpose of Your Windshield
Believe it or not, front windshields serve a much bigger purpose than just allowing you to see outside of the car when you’re driving. They also protect you from the rain, snow and other elements of weather. More importantly, however, are the safety features provided by your car’s windshield such as the 3 bullet points below.
- It Acts As A Shield For Air Bags – Cheap, low-quality glass is more likely to crack or pop out, which can cause incorrect deployment or improper inflation of your air bags.
- It Prevents The Roof From Collapsing – Many people don’t realize that the windshield of the car provides from 30% to 60% of the car’s structural strength. In a roll-over crash, a cheap windshield can cause your roof to collapse, which can be life-threatening to you and your passengers.
- It Helps Prevent Ejection of Passengers in a Crash – Your windshield can also keep you from being thrown from your vehicle in the case of a collision. With the exception of seat belts, the windshield provides the most safety from being thrown from your vehicle. These are some of the many reasons why OEM glass is required by car manufacturers.
Safety Comes First
Purchasing auto glass for any part of your vehicle is more than just opening the phone book and choosing the first provider with the cheapest price. Safety should always be the #1 concern when we’re driving. Here are four safety questions you should ask windshield replacement service providers before you choose which one to use.
1. How Qualified are the Technicians Replacing Your Windshield? While windshield replacement service providers, also referred to as auto glass technicians, are not required to be licensed, they should be highly trained, experienced and knowledgeable of the whole process. With so many makes and models of vehicles around today all having different types and shapes of auto glass, windshield installation and replacement can be complicated. Ask your auto glass technician to provide proof they are certified. Do some research before hiring someone to do the job. Are they reputable? Will they take care of insurance paperwork for you? Check credentials while comparing costs!
2. What Type of Glass & Adhesive Do They Use? If your auto glass technician states he can get you a windshield cheaper than average, you should definitely question what type of glass is being used. Is it OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass? OEM glass is safer, sturdier and less prone to cracking. If you’ve gone so far as to require OEM glass, you will want to ask if they are using OEM adhesives as well. Low-quality adhesives do not work as well in wet or cold climates and take much longer to dry or cure. This can be a real problem if the car is used too soon after installation. In other words, the windshield may leak with the slightest impact if you start driving around before the urethane has time to dry.
3. How Soon Can You Drive Your Car After Installation? With the busy lives we all lead today, we seldom have the time to sit at a garage waiting for a new windshield to be installed. Auto glass providers often come to our home or place of business and do the work while we do our work. This is extremely convenient, but can be dangerous if we’re unknowingly driving the car before it’s ready. The glass and urethane need time to properly cure to the car in order to prevent future problems. This is known as “safe drive away time” and is listed on each bottle of urethane. Question your windshield replacement service provider on this safety issue, as well as if there are any precautions that should be taken a couple days after installation.
4. What Type of Warranty Do They Provide? If you’re like many others who have waited almost forever to finally replace your windshield, you’re going to want to make sure it last and, if it doesn’t, that they’ll replace it free. If you’re offered anything less than at least a 1-year warranty, question the type of glass that’s being used. Some companies may offer a lifetime warranty. If this is offered, you can almost assume they’re using high-quality OEM glass.
Windshield – Replacement or Repair?
As much as you may want to put off spending money on your damaged windshield, it’s very possible you may only need a repair. A good rule of thumb is that if the crack is at least as long as a dollar bill, it should be replaced. Even if it’s shorter than a dollar bill, it should be replaced if it extends to the edge of the glass. If the chip or crack is smaller than a dollar bill and it’s not extended to the edge of the glass, it may be able to be safely repaired. Additionally, if the crack is in your line of vision, it needs to be replaced.
While all the glass on your car is important, the front windshield is most important in terms of having it fixed when it’s damaged. Something to consider, insurance companies often will pay to have a windshield repaired because it may prevent a larger expense if it shatters completely. Also, some insurance companies require a deductible be paid for replacements, while others may waive the deductible. Contacting your insurance company could save you money! That being said, the main concern here is safety and hiring a certified technician will ensure the job is done correctly whether you’re saving money through your insurance or not.
Filed under: Auto Related, Replacements, Windshield Repair
There is little doubt that windshield replacement cost can vary greatly. The many different automotive designs alone mean that one vehicle may use a fairly simple, smaller piece of glass, while yet another might require an expensive, larger, more complex windshield. Today’s more aerodynamic designs often equate to longer, sloping windshields that cost more to replace. However, repair costs also vary due to wide variations in the quality of materials and installation expertise.
3 Factors that can and will influence pricing:
- Windshield Quality - First of all, aftermarket glass is often not as rigorously checked for irregularities in surface contours and other defects. Compromises often occur as aftermarket manufacturers vary the fit and design to avoid running afoul of original manufacturers’ patents. In some instances, the glass is actually thinner than is appropriate.
- Adhesive Quality - Still another variable lies in the quality of the adhesive system used to secure the windshield glass for the years to come. A high-quality polyurethane adhesive system with a proper cure time can produce the desired results. Again, some companies cut corners here as well.
- Installer Capability -Prices are often lower when companies cut costs by using lower-paid, non-certified technicians. The integrity of a final windshield installation is also quickly compromised by errors in installation.
When any or all of the above key variables are compromised, you might also find yourself needing your windshield replaced again in the future. Lesser-quality glass, improper fit, lower-quality adhesives, and/or problem technicians can all cause future problems:
Leaks Can Result
Water leaks are a common issue when the quality of the product and/or the installation are poor. Imagine having to deal with water inside your vehicle anytime it rains. In colder climates, the freeze-thaw cycle can make marginal, cheaper poorly fitting windshields more likely to cause leak damage.
Water leaks are an obvious concern, but air leaks can be surprisingly problematic as well. They can be distracting. They can also cause unavoidable fogging of the windshield. Any type of leak that threatens to hurt visibility is usually not worth the dollars saved.
Stress Cracks Can Develop
Finally, stress cracks can develop when a poorly fitting windshield is “shoe-horned” into the opening at the time it is installed. When the fit is wrong, expansion and contraction can over-tax the rubber seals to the point that something has to give. The next thing you know, there’s a stress fracture beginning to crawl across the windshield, typically beginning in one of the corners. Such stress cracks have to be quickly repaired, at additional cost to you, or you’ll be back to replacing the windshield all over again.
Important Safety Issues
How is windshield quality related to safety? Interestingly, about 45-percent of the structural integrity of the vehicle in a front-end collision comes from the design and strength of the windshield. Certain aftermarket windshield replacements that are thinner or otherwise weaker put occupants more at risk in a collision. In a roll-over, the windshield becomes even more important, as it may provide 60-percent of the structural integrity. Should a windshield fail in a rollover, the likelihood of the roof caving in on the occupants increases.
In conclusion, the extra dollars invested in a high-quality, properly installed windshield are worth it in terms of peace-of-mind alone. The cost difference between windshields may appear significant, but any cost difference is typically tiny in relation to the overall value of the vehicle. And, of course, the value of a quality windshield that helps to better protect occupants in a collision is beyond calculation.