Volume 13, Issue 2 - March/April 2011

the mailbox


Insurance Belongs in Windshield Repair

Dear AGRR,

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.

Kerry Soat
Chief Executive Officer
Fas-Break Inc.
Phoenix, Ariz.


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