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S.C. environment ripe for ‘glass harvesting’

Post Time:Apr 18,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:328


If you have recently experienced aggressive marketing tactics from some auto-glass repair companies, you are not alone. It seems that more and more drivers are being pressured by door-to-door visits, in parking lots, at car washes, and gas stations to replace any chipped or cracked windshields immediately as to receive some supposed benefit.


According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s most recent data, questionable auto-glass claims have spiked to a level that places South Carolina among the top five states in the country. Not only does South Carolina have more frequent indications of fraud on auto-glass than our neighboring states, but we had even more than some of the more populous states such as New York and California. Questionable claims are submitted for suspected automobile-glass fraud in order to help identify any trends or patterns.


So why does South Carolina account for a disproportionate amount of suspected auto-glass fraud? Only four states, including South Carolina (Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts), are known as “zero deductible states.” That means that as long as you have comprehensive insurance on your vehicle, insurance companies are required by law to allow you to purchase a windshield replacement using insurance with no deductible.


If you live in one of these states, and have comprehensive insurance, it’s easy to use your insurance to pay for your auto-glass replacement. With no direct cost to consumers, it is suspected that many windshields are being replaced when small chips could simply be repaired at a lower cost. The difference could mean putting about $400 more in a glass company’s pocket at the insurer’s expense.


Zero-deductible states are known to attract “glass harvesters” or “windshield bullies” and their high-pressure sales techniques that convince people to replace their windshields. Some of these companies emphasize that you are entitled to a free windshield. However, what they often fail to mention is that many small chips and cracks can be repaired, and by inflating the claim to cover the cost of replacing the entire windshield, they may be attempting to defraud you and your insurer.


As most of us understand, insurance fraud is anything but a victimless crime. While the exact amount of fraud is difficult to determine, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that 10 percent of the insurance industries’ losses and adjustment expenses can be attributed to fraud. Fraud is an expensive problem for insurance consumers.


According to the NAIC’s report on average expenditures, South Carolina vehicle owners pay less than the national average for auto insurance. However, when the figure is broken down by coverage, South Carolina pays approximately 10 percent more than the national average for comprehensive coverage that includes the coverage to replace auto glass.


Insurers want to repair or replace your windshield in a manner that meets all safety requirements and allows savings to be passed along to their customers. Public awareness is critical in a zero-deductible environment that attracts “glass harvesters” and costly insurance fraud.

Source: glassbytesAuthor: shangyi

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