Wednesday, January 17, 2007

cracked windshield

It must have happened Monday night. On my way home from work, a rock hit my windshield and caused a slight crack. Because it was evening, I didn't notice the crack until Tuesday morning. I've heard debris hit my windshield many times in all my years of driving (knock wood), but this is the first time I've ever seen damage.

The actual damage was only about an inch long, slightly right of center, and about 2 inches from the bottom of the windshield. I really wanted to get it fixed, but thought it'd be such a pain. I thought I'd have to file a claim, get estimates, and then pay my comprehensive deductible. The only saving grace was that I wouldn't have to rent a crappy car to wait for completion of the repair.

I found out otherwise in a casual chat with my co-worker Jodi yesterday. I was coming back from lunch and saw her at the table eating her midday meal. Her husband Dante works nearby and they usually carpool together. Last Friday, their Saab died in the parking lot and it seemed like half of her department (Customer Service) hung out with them to make sure they got home OK.

I asked Jodi if they found out what caused their car to die. This led me to describe my windshield mishap and she advised me to call my insurance carrier immediately. They experienced the same incident and their insurance company had the windshield fixed without having to replace it. For FREE. I never knew about this kind of service.

Immediately upon returning to my desk, I called CSAA. They had an option on their menu for glass repair. Wow, major cool. I spent the next 10-15 minutes giving the vitals to the service representative. She gave me the option to have the car serviced that day or the next, and whether I wanted the repair to be done at home or work, or at their facility. Gee whiz. I chose to have the repair done at work. She scheduled me for the 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. block and apologized it couldn't be sooner. Wednesdays are usually my late nights, so it wasn't inconvenient at all.

The repair guy from Safelite arrived at about 12:45 p.m. today. It took me about 5 minutes to show him the where the crack was and sign the paperwork. The job itself is only about 30 minutes. Repair work of this kind will yield best results when the damage is minimal (no more than 6 inches) and reported immediately. The warranty is good for the lifetime of the car.

Compared to the body shop/repair experience I had in 1995 after my 8 month old Acura Integra was broadsided in an accident, this was a walk in the park. I wish all service experiences were this easy!

One last shameless plug. Safelite's headquarters are located in my birthplace city, Columbus, Ohio.


Alan said...

It is true that some insurance companies will pay for windshield chip repairs, times are changing and the buyer should beware. Owning a windshield repair company in Oklahoma City, I've filed many windshield repair claims for customers until recently. State Farm, is now in the process of eliminating coverage for chip repairs. I have seen a few others also drop or change coverage in regards to windshield repair. With that said, I've seen some of the remaining insurance companies claim it won't count against someone, only to find later it did. An example of this was a customer we did a repair for through their insurance. They advertise it don't count against you. Yet a few months later on ice they slid off the road causing damage to their car. When they filed a claim for the repair they were then told that since they now had filed 2 claims in a year they were canceled. This is just one example of several we have seen. Windshield repair is a small claim and in the insurance industry a claim is a claim whether it's for $50 or $25,000. Consumer Reports and the Wall Street Journal among others have reported that you should not file small claims. News reports also show that these small claims can be added to your CLUE Report. CLUE is the largest database used by the insurance companies to quote rates. It's a record of claims you have filed over the last 5 years. Keep in mind that even if your insurance company doesn't count it against you, if you decide to switch companies during the next 3 years it can affect the quotes you get or for that matter some may refuse to give you an offer. Also CBS reported July of 2006 that you should not contact your agent unless you plan on filing a claim. They cite that by just asking your agent about filing a claim they will file it on CLUE as a claim. This appears to be accurite based on incidents we have been told about. One agent I know told me that he was with the company he was with simply due to the last company that he represented required them to file every question as a claim on CLUE. Finally, as I tell people any more when you get a windshield chip ask friends and family for references, check the phone book or go online to find a shop. After all when you need to get an oil change or tire repaired would you call your agent for help. Oh, and by the way insurance road service claims like for flat tires, no gas and being locked out many times will apear on CLUE as a claim. MSNBC, "Run Out Of Gas They Track That Too", is just one of several stories concerning road side service. It includes a person that in 3 years requested help for a lock out and twice for flat tires. They were canceled and had a hard time getting insurance due to being a high risk.

king said...

There are quite a few people weary of an insurance career because they think they have to be an aggressive sales person. Of course, sales is a necessary ingredient, however insurance is a service everyone needs. Besides, most positions do not require straight sales.

Garry Brei said...

Must have really been a breeze for you to get it repaired. Who wouldn't want to fix things like this easier, yes? And, I don't know why I also already find it usual to hear debris hit my windshield.

I live a few blocks off West Hollywood, and there are quite a number of auto repair shops here, too. My car hasn't been damaged yet (and hope it stays that way!), but of course I know I should be responsible to know stuff like this.