Auto glass chip repairs, window crack repairs, and windshield replacements are always a hot subject in the media whenever an auto glass fraud or auto glass scam is exposed, and it unfortunately reflects badly on all auto glass shops. So we did the research for you and below are answers to all the questions you, as a consumer should know to educate and protect yourself from unethical auto glass shops involved in auto glass chip repair, window crack repair, and windshield replacement scams.
Types Of Auto Glass
Front Windshield (Laminated) – Two pieces of glass fused together with a vinyl liner between them which keeps the windshield in one piece in the event of a breakage. Besides keeping the bugs out of your teeth, the front windshield provides structural support to the roof in the event of a rollover and it also acts as a structure to bounce off in the event the front or passenger side airbags inflate during an accident.
Tempered Glass – Auto window glass that shatter into very small pieces in the event of breakage. Tempered glass is used on side windows so that in the event a vehicle is submerged, the window can be broken and the passenger can escape through the opening.
CAUTION: Many automobile manufacturers are starting to use laminated window glass for the side windows to keep passengers from being ejected from the vehicle in the event of an accident. This will make it next to impossible to break the window and escape if you are in a submerged car. Why are they doing this? From a safety perspective, there are more cases of passengers being ejected from vehicles during accidents than submerged vehicles. In addition, it will also make it harder for thieves to break into vehicles.
If your side window has a stamp that says Laminated, or if you look down from the top of the window and see laminate in between two pieces of glass, you know you do not have tempered glass.
Government Regulations And Standards
All auto glass installed into US-based vehicles must meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards. When you look at a windshield you will also see a DOT (Department Of Transportation) stamp, which indicates the window meets the FMVSS 205 standards and is marketed as safety glass.
When Do I Replace My Windshield Instead of Repairing An Auto Glass Chip Or Window Crack?
Here are some general rules auto glass shops use to determine whether to replace a windshield or instead, repair the auto glass chip or window crack :
- The chip is larger than a quarter
- The crack greater than 6 inches (bigger than a dollar bill)
- When safety is in question, like chips or cracks that are in the line of sight of the driver because repairs are not 100% invisible
- More than three chips or cracks
TIP: If there is a chip in the drivers line of sight, the insurance company may encourage the client to do the chip repair first and if it bothers them, then do the windshield replacement. The client has the right to have the windshield replaced under this condition and should not have to do a chip or window crack repair.
When you call in an auto glass claim to an insurance company, they will ask you some of the questions above to help determine if they will authorize an auto glass chip, window crack repair, or a complete windshield replacement.
What Is The Difference Between A Pit And Chip?
A pit is like an someone taking a small ice cream scoop out of your front windshield and it does not go into the plastic layer in between the two pieces of glass. A pit cannot be repaired because there is no way for the repair resin to adhere to the windshield and is considered wear and tear; this is not covered by insurance. A chip will have some starring which provides area for the resin to adhere to.
Why Should I Repair My Chip Or Crack?
By doing an auto glass chip or window crack repair:
- You keep the OEM glass and do not have deal with the insurance company on getting OEM glass verses aftermarket glass. See our article on Auto Glass Replacement – OEM Verses Aftermarket Auto Glass
- You keep the original factory window seal and maintain the integrity of the windshield
- The insurance company pays the bill
- It prevents further cracks
- You keep insurance rates for down for everyone
- It only takes about 30 minutes
- It will ensure that your car will pass a state vehicle inspection
- It helps protect the environment by keeping perfectly good windshields out of our landfills
- It avoids the need for a windshield inspection
What Issues Can Result From A Bad Chip Or Crack Repair?
With a bad repair, you may experience shrinkage, the area turning yellow, or the windshield cracking. Not all resins are alike, and more important, the tools and techniques used to apply the resin can make a huge difference in the quality of the repair.
Besides the bad repair, a chip or crack can expand unexpectedly with quick temperature changes (cranking up the AC or heater), and bumpy road conditions.
What Issues Can Result From A Bad Windshield Replacement?
One of the big issues occurs when cheaper urethane caulking is used when replacing an auto glass windshield. The less expensive urethanes require a longer drying time, and that is often not communicated to the client. Depending on where you are in the US, there will be recommended urethanes that should be used for the various temperatures. In Arizona, always request the Sika Brand urethane caulking with one-hour drive time for best results. The other brands commonly used are Progrip, Dow BEATASEAL, and Sika MOVEIT, and the drive times will vary for each product.
TIP: Make sure to always ask your installer why they are using a brand of urethane and what the drive time is.
Your Instructions After A Windshield Replacement
Way too often clients do not listen to the installer’s instructions to leave the side windows cracked for the required drying time, which causes issues. The most common issue is, when a vehicle doors have their windows rolled up, and a door is opened and then closed, the resulting moving air will be pushed up against the newly install windshield urethane seal, potentially creating a small hole which causes an annoying wind noise when you drive. The open side windows allow the air to flow out, preventing any pressure on your newly installed auto windshield seal.
TIP: Make sure to listen to the installer’s instructions and avoid wind noise, wasted time, and potential repair costs if the installer has to come back out!
What Type Of Insurance Claim Is An Auto Glass Chip Repair, Window Crack Repair, Or Windshield Replacement?
Glass claims are always considered a comprehensive claim (no fault assigned) and you would be subject to your comprehensive deductible. Arizona is one of the very few states (5 as of the writing of this article) that provide an optional $0 glass deductible coverage in the event of an insurance claim for a glass chip repair, window crack, or windshield replacement. The price for this additional $0 deductible auto glass coverage ranges from $20 to $75 for six months, and is usually related to the amount of your comprehensive deductible. In states that do not have a $0 deductible glass coverage, there is usually a glass buyback optional coverage that will allow the client to buy down their glass deductible to something like $100. This allows the client to carry a higher comprehensible deductible and offset costs for an auto glass windshield replacement.
TIP: If you are in an accident and there is glass breakage on your vehicle, always make sure the adjustor provides coverage under the collision deductible. This allows you to avoid having to pay an additional comprehensive deductible. Do not pay the extra deductible, contact your agent immediately and ask for help!
Why Do We Need $0 Glass Deductible And Glass Buyback Optional Coverages?
This is a two-part answer. First, there are politics involved, and second, legislators consider it a safety issue. Legislators feel that when there is a lower cost to fix glass, drivers will not drive around with broken windshields. Those are the states where you will find the $0 glass deductible and glass buyback insurance coverage options.
In the past, before the $0 glass deductible or glass buyback optional coverages existed, consumers would carry a low comprehensive deductible like $100 in the event of a chip or broken windshield. These new coverage options allow clients to carry a higher comprehensive deductible for the other types of claims while being able to still cover the most common glass claims at a lower cost. So, in essence, the insurance companies separated out glass claims from all the other types of comprehensive claims like vandalism, stolen car, fire, and many more, which usually are large claims.
In today’s insurance market, we are seeing a shift where clients are starting to carry a lower comprehensive deductible again because the difference in premium for a preferred client is minimal. For example, the difference in price between a $100 and $500 deductible may only be $15 for six months. Should clients have a lower comprehensive deductible is a question for a different article!
TIP: Insurance companies will usually repair your glass chip or window crack for free if you have comprehensive coverage. Why? Because once an auto glass chip or window crack is repaired, there is only a 10% chance that the repair will fail and the windshield will crack. That means the insurance can potentially save hundreds of dollars not having to replace the windshield.
Let’s Address The Industry Myth “My Rates Will Go Up If I Put In A Glass Claim!”
An auto glass windshield replacement or auto glass chip repair is considered a comprehensive claim and should never increase your rates like an “at-fault accident” claim would. What may happen, depending on who your auto insurance is with is that you may become ineligible for a discount after so many glass claims, and your auto insurance premium may increase once the discount is removed.
How Many Glass Claims Can I Have In One Year?
This all depends on the insurance company you are with! If you put in too many auto glass claims, you may find that on renewal you get a letter indicating that underwriting has determined that you are no longer eligible for glass coverage. This is the same situation you commonly see with towing coverage, and every insurance company is different.
Insurance companies are in the business to make money, and in many states, they cannot cancel a policy unless it is for nonpayment of premium, so they do the next best thing and remove the coverage. We had one person tell us that their auto insurance agent in Arizona said they would cancel their auto policy if they put in too many glass claims, which makes no sense, because in Arizona is one of those guaranteed auto insurance renewal states. Check with your Department Of Insurance website if you have any questions. Always ask your agent questions, and do not assume they know everything. To protect yourself, put things in writing, like an email. It is hard to argue with an email trail.
So the next time you a rock hits your windshield and causes a chip or window crack, make an informed decision to repair or replace your auto windshield!