Imagine you are at home, vehicle in the driveway, and someone rings the doorbell to inform you that they happened to notice that your windshield is dangerously in need of replacement – even when there isn’t apparent damage. So many folks are shocked and frightened at the safety issues implied by the apparently knowledgeable glass technician, that they hand over their auto insurance card, and sign off on the replacement.
Unfortunately, most of the windshield replacement “technicians” who perpetrate these types of scams are completely unqualified, and use substandard adhesives and cheap or used glass. They are blatantly victimizing car owners by removing their factory windshield (which is ideal for safety), and replacing it with an unsafe product. Not only are the insured being conned into defrauding their own insurance company – they are doing so to their own detriment.
While some people suspect the rise in the suspicious auto glass insurance claims is due to the tough economic times, the price of these crimes is higher insurance rates for the rest of us – when we can least afford it. With the National Insurance Crime Bureau reporting a 527% increase in questionable auto glass claims since this same period last year – we have to wonder how this is affecting auto safety as a whole. They said in their first half 2010 Questionable Claims report:
“We’re seeing concern from our members about criminal rings that are deliberately damaging vehicle windshields in order to file an insurance claim, and in some cases are not doing satisfactory repairs or replacements.”
We hate to see innocent car owners fooled into complicity in an insurance scam, only to be left partially responsible for a crime committed against their own automobile. We hope that people will start calling a local shop with a good reputation and NGA certification to have their windshield looked at by a real professional. Often these replacements aren’t even necessary. You could be saving everyone money, preventing waste glass and preserving your safety in a half hour repair!