Belongs in Windshield Repair
As a person who has been working with insurance companies since 1975 for
the waiver of deductible for windshield repairs, I would like to respond
to the recent article written by National Windshield Repair Association
president Kerry Wanstrath (see January/February 2011 AGRR, page 36) .
This is a time when we need more support for the repair of windshields
and less “discouragement” toward windshield repair.
In 1975, I was asked to do a windshield repair demonstration for Allstate,
where Charles Goodhue, a regional claims manager in Detroit, educated
me about why the company had instated a deductible for comprehensive coverage.
Prior to 1975, all comprehensive policies carried a $0 deductible; windshield
replacements had been free to clients and were billed accordingly to insurers
by auto glass shops.
But, since comprehensive coverage covered all glass on a vehicle, claims
could come in for as little as $2 to $3; for example, headlights are made
of glass and were therefore covered on the policy.
What most people didn’t realize, however, is it cost Allstate $35 per
claim to process and write a check to pay each claim; Mr. Goodhue had
suggested the company add the $50 deductible, so that covered claims would
be more than the cost of processing a claim. Allstate agreed, and instated
this for renewals only.
Many policyholders were upset by this, as they now had to pay for a windshield
replacement, and the company’s own agents were frustrated that other insurers
still offered a $0 deductible. Mr. Goodhue had a simple idea—offering
a free repair by waiving the deductible for windshield repairs. The agents
would pay for the repairs out of the small claims fund in their offices,
and a claim would not need to be filed, thereby saving Allstate $35 for
processing the claim. Soon, other companies followed suit.
Insurance companies offer glass coverage for the windshield because it
is part of the vehicle’s safety features. A broken windshield makes for
an unsafe vehicle, and an insurance company aims to keep your vehicle
in a safe operating condition. Why do you think it is against the law
to drive a car with a chip in the windshield in many states? Because it
is unsafe. Why is it against the law to drive a vehicle with a cracked
windshield? Because it is unsafe. Windshield repair technicians are not
just repairing chips to make the windshield look better. Windshield repair
is the most economical and the safest way to restore a windshield to a
safe, usable condition.
We all should be promoting the safety aspects of windshield repair to
the insurance industry, along with getting State Farm to reverse their
decision regarding waiving deductibles for repairs, rather than trying
to avoid dealing with the issues at hand.
Chief Executive Officer
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