It is one of the most often used protective devices in your vehicle. Now, insurance, and windshield experts say your windshield is the target of possible insurance fraud.
"They come in, fly-by-night, replace a bunch of windshields and they're gone", says Russ Dubisky, executive director of the South Carolina Insurance News Service. "They don't stand by their work".
South Carolina is one of four states that have a "mandatory zero detectible" for windshield claims. However, Dubisky says, over the last five years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of windshield claims. Especially replacements, over repairs.
"This, over time can have a direct impact on the amount we pay for the comprehensive portion of our auto insurance, the more immediate impact is it could affect a consumer's eligibility for claim free eligibility", said Dubisky.
It may already be affecting the amount South Carolinians pay for comprehensive coverage. Dubisky says, drivers in our state pay 11% more than the national average for that portion of the policy.
The impact on the wallet, can only be eclipsed by shoddy workmanship that windshield installation expert Jeff Olive says, is a trait of many of these harvesting operations.
"We have pulled out windshields where it's clear they cut corners", said Olive. "They didn't use any of the primer on the body after the scraped down the old glue. They didn't prime over any of the scratches, and there was rust already starting. If that happens, and that's not taken care of you can develop rust and your windshield won't be bonded in at all".
The windshield helps prevent the roof from collapsing in a rollover crash, and a key component in the passenger side airbag system.
"It has to have over two thousand pounds of holding strength in order to hold that windshield in with the airbag deflecting off it at 200 miles per hour", said Olive.
The safest thing to do if someone approaches you with concerns about your windshield, is to call your insurance company.
"Take a day, make that call, let an adjuster come out and look at your windshield, or take it to a reputable auto glass company, that way you're not pressured into becoming part of an insurance fraud scheme", Dubisky said.
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