Windshield replacement scam alert
Beware of possible fraudulent auto glass offers.
If you’ve ever been approached by someone who claims they can fix your windshield for free, it could be a scam. While windshield replacement scams are most common in Florida and Arizona (states that don’t have deductibles for windshield damage), they can happen anywhere, whether you’re at the gas station, car wash, or at home. Here are some tips that will help you protect yourself from a potentially fraudulent auto glass offer.
What a windshield replacement scam may look like
Recognizing auto glass scams from the start can help you stop fraudulent windshield replacement activity in its tracks.
Freebies and cash rebates
Questionable auto glass shops may be pushy and offer incentives such as free car washes, movie tickets, or gift cards. They may even claim to provide cash rebates to cover your deductible. But these shops aren’t merely trying to keep you safe by repairing a windshield chip or cutting you a good deal out of kindness. Instead, they’re often trying to pocket money from your insurance company, so make sure to ask questions to protect yourself.
Replacing an undamaged windshield
Watch out for auto glass shops that want to replace an undamaged windshield or one that has minor glass damage. They may be trying to profit off your policy by filing a claim with your auto insurance company for unnecessary repairs. This is insurance fraud, and insurance fraud hurts everyone! Insurance companies typically pass that cost to all of us in the form of higher premiums. Trustworthy shops will try to repair a windshield that has minor damage first, rather than automatically offering you a “free” windshield replacement. And, a windshield repair is a much more affordable option if you’re paying out of pocket and not filing an insurance claim.
Sneaky repair shops
Be careful with what you sign! If a technician asks you to sign any papers, be sure to read the fine print. If you don’t, you may unknowingly sign away certain insurance benefits to a sneaky shop that may not have your best interests in mind. Once an untrustworthy shop has certain rights under your insurance policy, they may inflate your claim or sue your insurance company under your name to profit off your policy.
Windshield scams put you at risk
Don't get an unwelcome surprise from an auto glass company that may not be around next year. Using a questionable repair shop could result in issues like:
- Windshield leakage
Untrustworthy repair shops may not have the proper training, tools or materials to perform quality work. This could result in air or water leaks which could cause extensive damage to your vehicle, including damage to your electrical systems.
- Recalibration not being performed
Most vehicle manufacturers require advanced safety systems recalibration (also known as ADAS recalibration) on many newer vehicles after a windshield replacement. Still, some shops don’t perform this critical service, which can put your safety at risk. Features like automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning may not work until recalibration is complete.
- Loss of insurance coverage
Sneaky shops sometimes file multiple claims within a short time, which can lead to cancellation of insurance coverage1.
- Higher insurance premiums
If a repair shop files an unnecessary claim, it could raise your premiums. Other policyholders may also see increases in their premiums due to fraud losses1.
- Getting in trouble for committing fraud
If worse comes to worst, you could face allegations of insurance fraud if the shop you chose filed fraudulent insurance claims in your name2.
How to fight back
Insurance fraud costs American consumers billions every year. If you think you've been scammed, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud asks that you report the incident to your state insurance department. They also recommend following these steps and others to protect yourself:
- Use a reputable auto glass repair company. Your insurance agent can point you in the right direction. You can also schedule service online with an auto glass shop that partners with your insurance company.
- Make sure the auto glass repair company you choose guarantees windshield repairs and backs replacements with a warranty.
- Inspect your bill for inflated charges. For example, if you need a minor repair and a shop bills your insurance company for a complete windshield replacement, you may have been scammed
Additional steps you can take:
- Sign the Consumer Protection Coalition’s petition to ask the Florida Legislature to reign in auto glass fraud and protect consumers.
- Report problems with shady shops to the Florida Division of Consumer Services.
- Report insurance fraud by submitting a form on the National Insurance Crime Bureau website or call them toll-free at (800) 835 - 6422.
Windshield services you can trust
If you have a broken windshield, you've come to the right place. Here are just some of the benefits of fixing your glass here at Safelite:
- We partner with most insurance companies. So, you can trust us to verify your coverage and file your claim for you.
- We back our services with a nationwide lifetime warranty that will cover you in Florida, Arizona, and wherever the road takes you.
- Our certified technicians are trained to repair and replace windshields on all vehicle makes and models.
- We offer windshield replacement and recalibration in a single appointment to keep your vehicle as safe as possible.