Insurance Agency Stops Me From Saving Money On My Windshield Deductible

Guy’s windshield lost a battle with a flying rock, and his insurance company gave him a similar cold-cocking when he tried to find a way to save some money on his deductible. His Sate Farm insurance agent said he wasn’t allowed to repair the windshield through a company that promised him $50 off his upfront costs.

He writes:

I recently had a run in with a large rock while driving down the highway. The damage requires that I have the windshield replaced, something that I have had to do far too often I’m afraid. Anyway it just so happens that last week I received a coupon in the mail from a local glass company offering $50 off of my insurance deductible. My wife called to schedule the appointment and mentioned the coupon and was told that State Farm (my insurance company) won’t allow a coupon to be applied towards my deductible.

This doesn’t make any sense to me. How can State Farm control whether an independent company chooses to give me a discount? If the auto glass company wants to give me $50 off my deductible how is it State Farms business? After all it is the company that is giving me a discount and making a lesser profit – not State Farm.

I’m not insured by State Farm, but have faced similar situations when looking for companies to replace my windshield. The competition is so fierce that some cut you checks in return for your business. I’ve found the best policy is to book the appointment and then let the contractor haggle with your insurance company to seal the deal.

Asking for permission from your insurance company beforehand is a sure way to failure, since insurers have preferred companies they work with who aren’t keen on passing along their profits to you.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. cosmic.charlie says:

    In Illinois insurance companies cannot deny you from working with a company that they prefer. There are preferred shops that may make it easier to get a quote on the work and turn it around. However they cannot say you can only go to that repair shop.

    • Jeff-er-ee says:

      Same in CA. You can have the work done by whomever you choose.

    • Shadowfax says:

      State Farm isn’t saying the OP can’t use that company. He’s saying the company can’t give him a $50 discount. And that makes sense. The deductible is supposed to be taken off of what the glass company charges. If they charge you $1,500 and your deductible is $500, then the insurance company gets billed for $1,000. If they only charge you $1,450, you still pay the $500, and the insurance company gets billed for $950. If the glass company charges you $50 less, that doesn’t mean your deductible goes down. It means the total cost of the work goes down.

  2. nybiker says:

    It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. IOW, I think Phil has it right.
    Now if only we could get coupons for suspensions and related items here in NYC as a result of all the potholes. Windshield problems haven’t been a problem for me. /knocks on wood.

  3. OnePumpChump says:

    “State Farm”

    There’s your problem.

    • dr_drift says:

      Oh, you’re one of those people.

      • dolemite says:

        I’ve had State farm for…almost 20 years. No problems yet. Of course I haven’t had to file any claims either…

        • Mewf says:

          I used to work as a patient advocate in a hospital. My daily work load was dealing with auto insurance on behalf of the patient. State Farm and Farmers both were the most incompetent I ever had to work with. I was constantly turning them into the state to get fined for violating patient rights/the law.
          The problem is do simply do not train their employees and the employees assume they know wtf they are talking about when most of the time they have no idea. I can’t tell you how many times I was beating my head against the wall, quoting statutes to them and they had no idea nor did their supervisor.

        • INsano says:

          Blue pill or the red pill buddy.

        • TheSurlyOne says:

          dolemite- My parents have been with State Farm for 27 years. They have five vehicles, two houses and a vacation home (mountain cabin) all insured by State Farm. In July 2008, they filed a claim under their uninsured motorist coverage because my mom’s Explorer was side-swiped in a parking lot and the other driver didn’t both to stop or leave their info. The damage was about $2500 and SF paid the claim with little hassle.

          A few months ago (July 20th), my mom was rear-ended by another State Farm customer. She was actually driving my car because I had borrowed her SUV for a trip. The rear-end hit was hard enough to knock her into the vehicle in front of her, which caused the airbag to deploy! My mom suffered a two broken toes, burns on her hands and arms from the airbag and a few nasty bruises from the seat belt.

          The driver who rear-ended her was ticketed for multiple violations and the police report clearly states that she was 100% at fault. SF had me in a rental car and approved the $7k+ estimate to repair my car within a few days.

          BUT, they have treated my mom like crap, even though she’s one of their own customers! All she has asked for is reimbursement for the E.R. and doctor visits, medications and tests (X-rays, MRI) and not a penny more. The total amount is less than $2500 and she forwarded receipts for every bit of it to SF. They have tried to settle for less than half of that amount and were so difficult that my parents finally had to hire an attorney to deal with them! The attorney has had no more luck negotiating with SF and it appears that the case will be going to court…

          It defies all logic that they’re treating one of their own policy holders with such disdain. They’re balking at paying $2500 in legitimate expenses BUT they’re costing themselves TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars in future business!!! The moment this ordeal is finished, they’re taking their business elsewhere….they’ve already found better rates with a higher-rated company! =)

      • Griking says:

        Pretty much. You’ll find a person mocking the OP because they were ignorant enough to use the company that they used in any thread here on this forum. I think that it somehow makes them feel superior.

  4. Rachacha says:

    Has the OP checked with State Farm. Based on the quote, it sounds like it was the glass company that said SF would not let him use the coupon. The coupon could simply be a ploy to get people to call a particular glass company and when they mention the coupon they ask for the Insurance company name and advise the caller that the insurance company won’t allow the use of coupons.

    The other less malicious alternative would be that there is a disclaimer on the coupon that says it can’t be used with Insurance claims.

    • nybiker says:

      I like the way you think. I guess my spidey sense must be on the fritz.

    • A.Mercer says:

      I was thinking the very same thing. I thought this sounded like a bait and switch type of offer. They use the coupon to lure you in and then give you are reason why they cannot honor the coupon.

      • jkinatl2 says:

        I hate to agree with that level of cynicism, but I suspect that, like Lily Tomlin said, no matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up. You are likely right – if not in this case, in others.

    • KyBash says:

      Exactly.

      It’s probably bait-and-switch or they jack up the cost to the insurance company by $100 to cover the $50 they’re paying out.

      • clickable says:

        Sounds about right, or close enough.

        I’ve been fortunate, only had this happen one time, and IIRC, I learned then that windshield repair is a pretty standard clause in insurance policies. At any rate, they sent a specific company out to do the repair in our own driveway, with our biggest hassle being to schedule the time that was best for us. IOW, no hassle to speak of. I also asked, and was told by the insurance co., that windshield repair won’t increase our premium. And in fact, it did not.

        This sounds like OP probably didn’t check with his insurance co. yet to see what’s covered and how they provide the service. He may learn that it’s much less of a hassle than he expects.

    • RedOryx says:

      I agree. The write-up is misleading (I know, I know, it’s a Phil article), because the write-up says “His Sate Farm insurance agent said”, but in the customer’s actual complaint it’s the glass company that says no. Did the customer actually even bother to check with State Farm before writing Consumerist?

  5. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I saw the same thing happen in the past when I had a PPO. It was explicitly written in my plan book that deductibles were not allowed to be waived.

    I suspect it has to do with deductibles being used to deter frivolous spending by the insured. When a provider (whether autoglass or a dermatologist) agrees to accept money from an insurance company, they agree to certain conditions.

    In terms of something like autoglass, I could imagine a situation where a glass shop would potentially pay somebody above-and-beyond the deductible amount to get the insurance company to pay the full amount for a new windshield. The insured would get a new windshield, make a few dollars in the process, and the shop would still profit off of the sale.

    It used to be a fairly common Medicaid scam — you round up a vanload of homeless people, giving each $20, and then take them to a medical provider who diagnoses them with various semi-legitimate medical issues. The provider then gets reimbursed by the government and each indigent person gets some cash.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Ding ding ding! Give that man a cigar. The view of the insurance company is, if the glass shop is giving $50 off, it should go to the insurance company first. Deductible not only has a direct impact (i.e. insurance pays $500 less than the full cost), but an indirect impact (you decide not to bother with a new windshield for $1000, and just get the crack filled for $100).

      • Southern says:

        Ya’ll have some mighty expensive windshields.. Here in Houston I can get a new windshield for $150-$200 (even on new cars), and crack repair only runs about $20.

        • mob3000 says:

          Thats the point. If you go get your windshield replaced, the repair shop charges you $200, if you have insurance they charge the insurance company $600 and give you a free box of steaks (a real offer I’ve seen here in Central Florida). It borders insurance fraud and it raises costs for everyone.

      • trentblase says:

        Yeah, the $50 coupon is like a kickback for getting your deep-pocketed insurance company pay $100 extra for the window. I can see why they’d have a problem with this.

  6. Mom says:

    Your deductible is low enough that your insurance is involved in a windshield replacement? How much do you pay for your insurance? And how expensive is a windshield, anyway?

    • tkmluv says:

      That was my thought. When I replaced the windshield on my car about a year ago, it cost me $140 to do it. I dont think my insurance company even offers a deductible of less then $250

      • Beeker26 says:

        I recently had to have a side window replaced and I found out my glass deductible was $100. It’s often not the same as your standard comprehensive or collision deductible.

        I’ve changed insurance companies since and now I have full glass coverage with no deductible even though I have a $500 comp/collision deductible.

    • DanRydell says:

      Windshield deductibles are often lower.

    • tbax929 says:

      In Arizona, we have full glass coverage for private passenger vehicles. I don’t know if it’s an option in other states. My policy (USAA) pays in full for repair of a windshield. If I replace it, I am subject to my comp deductible.

    • ohhhh says:

      on a HUD equipped vehicle the windshield can be up to $450

    • Rachacha says:

      Windshields with radio antennas embedded in them are often more expensive. I am having my WS replaced next week through State Farm, does not cost me a dime, but the replacement will probably be a few hundred because of the built in antenna.

      • ecwis says:

        I’m interested to know what kind of car was the antenna in the front windshield. My car has it in the rear windshield.

        • shepd says:

          I’ve not seen antennas in the front windshield, but I have seen wiper defrosters, which people might confuse as an antenna, especially in wamer climes where such an item would never get any use.

    • frank64 says:

      In Mass compressive includes windshield replacement with no deductible and now surcharge it is free, well included in the premium.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Depending on the state replacements can run upto the 500$ range. I’ve gotten windshield replacements as low as 115$. When I moved to Florida the absolute cheapest place I found was 225$ for the same car after much searching.

      Part of the problem with mandatory insurance covered/no deductable incidents is that this can cause inflation under the premise someone else is paying for it. If they knew you would be paying out of your pocket the prices would be much more affordable.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It really depends on the type of car you have and what state you’re in.

      I paid about $350 for a new windshield last year for my Ford. It cost close to $500 to replace the back glass on our Toyota Pickup.

  7. mandarynn says:

    If the OP had taken the time to call State Farm and inquire on their own, then this post could have actually been informative or perhaps not existed at all.

  8. North Antara says:

    Paying less than a deductible can actually be insurance fraud – in many (all?) places, you are required by law to pay a deductible in its entirety. Any form of rebate is usually forbidden.

    Here’s an example and explanation (thanks Google) from Texas. http://www.texasroofandfence.com/insurance-laws.html

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      Interesting. Especially since in Texas, every hail repair shop will offer money off the deductible. And I know that it’s illegal.

  9. SideshowCrono says:

    It could just be a situation similar to the coupons brand name drugs give you for your upfront payment at the pharmacy. They basically do it to so its cheaper for the consumer to get the brand name and then the insurance company gets stuck with the real, much higher cost. The brand name drug companies then make a lot of money with these ‘coupons.’

    Now I’m not saying that’s whats happening here but its not a horrible idea. You give the consumer a coupon for money off the deductible and then jack up the rest of the price. Maybe for that $50 coupon, you charge the insurance company an extra $100.

    It seems pretty reasonable that insurance companies would want to avoid something like this from happening. its certainly happening in other industries.

    • Powerlurker says:

      In almost all the cases I’ve seen, coupons for brand name prescription medications state that they can’t be used in conjunction with insurance.

  10. iggy21 says:

    Someone correct me if im wrong, but I think there are 2 meanings of the word deductible floating around here: 1- the deductible that the OP pays the glass replacement company and 2-the overall deductible that is associate with the insurance.

    In other words, if the OP has a $500 deductible before the insurance pays, and he has a $100 charge to repair his windshield (with a $50 coupon), the glass company will expect $50 and the insurance company will see that expense as $50 towards the deductible, not the $100 (since the coupon applies to the glass company, not the Insurance company).

    at least thats my take.

  11. balthisar says:

    This is actually a fairly reasonable policy. In many states, you’re allowed to take you car to any state-licensed repair facility for repair, i.e., you’re not required to go to a preferred facility.

    Preferred facilities work with insurers in a manner similar to health insurance. If your doctor accepts your insurance, it’s because he’s pre-agreed to the rates for every procedure that’s covered. The incentive to the doctor is that he’ll have more patients than if he worked cash-only.

    Preferred auto shops have this same deal; they’ll accept pre-agreed rates in exchange for having a higher number of customers steered their way. Not only are you their customer, but the insurance company is also their customer. Their biggest incentive is to keep the insurance company happy (which by extension, means keeping you happy, just not to the point of “happy ending” type of happy!).

    The non-preferred shops, though, have to do other things to attract customers; they won’t be steered there automatically by insurance companies. Their incentives are driven by providing a (metaphorical) “happy ending” to the end customer, and this includes the use of promotions. In the end, though, promotions cost money, and could have a tendancy to drive up the ultimate price of repair work. Because the insurance company doesn’t have an agreement limiting the amount of the repair, it certainly does have an interest in limiting the amount and types of incentives that the shop offers the customer, because in the long run that affects the price the insurance company will have to pay for the repair. Incentives even do affect “reasonable and customary” rates for states where that’s in force.

    • MrEvil says:

      Except unlike health insurance, auto insurance has to pay just as much out whether a shop is preferred or not preferred. Even if the non-preferred shop gives an estimate that’s significantly higher than the preferred ones.

  12. clarkins says:

    When I was in Claims Adjuster classes for Farmer’s Insurance back in 1999-2000, more than once, all the adjusters in the class from Texas had to go to another room to learn the specific Texas rules for things.
    The other states stayed together.
    I agree with the above folks who think this is a bait and switch kind of thing.
    Also, you can have a rider (or something like that) for just having your windshield repaired/replaced so you don’t have to claim it under the comprehensive part of your policy. I’m pretty sure I have that coverage with State Farm.
    Been with SF for 19 years and never had any problem.

  13. humphrmi says:

    Every time I’ve had a claim with State Farm (Mutual, but still..) they’ve given me the option of getting a check for the damages to my car, or having them pay the shop. If your agent is yanking your chain, ask him for the number for the corporate claims office, and deal with the adjuster directly (that’s worked at least once for me).

    • clarkins says:

      You shouldn’t be dealing with any claim with your agent. That’s what the claims adjuster is for. The agent has a vested interest in the claim because if you’re not happy, you’ll leave and take your money with you.
      The agent usually becomes involved when the insured complains to them about how they’re being treated by the adjuster.
      The agent then calls the claims office manager and tells them how much business they’re going to lose because the adjuster won’t pay “what the claim is worth”.
      Then the adjuster gets told to pay what the insured wants to keep the agent happy and you must keep the agent happy because they bring in the premiums.
      The claims adjuster later gets ripped when that file gets reviewed for overpaying the claim.

      • joako says:

        You seem to contradict yourself. You say its not a good idea to do a claim through your agent, but then you go on to describe why its good to go through your agent for claims.

        • clarkins says:

          I was trying (and evidently failed) at being sarcastic.

          What I hated about being an adjuster (one thing) was I would do the best I could for the insured that I was allowed to under the company rules.
          I would get frustrated when, even after all I did, they would whine to their agent and I’d get overturned if he had enough clout.
          More often than not, I also had to explain to the insured that their agent was wrong in telling them that they could do thus-and-so on their claim.

  14. DanRydell says:

    The reason State Farm objects to this “deal” is obvious.

    Suppose the windshield would normally cost $200. Your windshield deductible is $100. So the glass guy gets $100 for you, $100 from the insurance company.

    Suppose the glass guy charges $250 for that windshield and offers you a $50 discount off your deductible. Glass guy gets $150 from State Farm, $50 from you. He still gets the same amount, but he just made State Farm pay $50 of your deductible.

    • obits3 says:

      This.

      If only everybody else could remember elementary math…

      • bwcbwc says:

        Not just this. The deductible is part of your insurance agreement with the insurance company. There isn’t any legal way a repair shop can waive part of the deductible except with the authorization of the insurance company, which only happens if the repair shop is one of their “preferred” shops, and sometimes not even then.

  15. BuddhaLite says:

    In FL insurance companies are required to pay the full cost of a windshield replacement and a nice business has popped up around that. Many places give you some sort of gift to get you to choose them.

  16. Megladon says:

    It sounds similar to a situation we had here about 15 – 20 years ago where the glass repair company would give you 200$ and a free box of steaks for your biz. This same company also charged about 3x the going rate to get your windows replaced. Maybe this 50$ off company charges double what the other guys charge and your insurance is trying to protect their interests by not going there. Eventually all of the above was made illegal, and 1 of the main guys tossed into jail for still doing it even after made illegal.

  17. tator says:

    I’ve tried to arrange with a glass shop to leave the car there rather than fix it at my work (to save the insurance a few $). They wouldn’t discount the job. Then 5 years later the glass company wanted me to drive 25 miles to meet them because of the distance to my job (I declined). The windshield is part of the strength of the body for accidents/roll over. After the windshield is replaced, you should wait 2 hours before driving the car so the adhesive can cure completely.

    • ecwis says:

      The windshield is part of the strength of the body for accidents/roll over.

      Care to elaborate on that one? It doesn’t seem accurate to me.

      • ARPRINCE says:

        Yup…that does not sound accurate to me either. Windshields are tempered glass. That means, they shatter upon impact so that the glass won’t end up cutting you and you in turn bleed to death.

        • FrankReality says:

          Not true. Side windows will typically crumble into small pieces, but not the windshield. Windshield glass typically has two tempered glass layers with an incredibly tough plastic layer sandwiched between. The windshield glass doesn’t crumble and the middle layer (usually) prevents stuff from entering/exiting the vehicle. The windshield for most part doesn’t separate from the plastic layer which provides additional rigidity to the roof.

  18. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The windshield on my car is about $480 (OEM, which is important or the rain sensor won’t work). This is probably on the high end (BMW). I found out when my windshield was damaged as part of a much larger claim. My deductible is $500. I believe if I get my windshield repaired the deductible is waved.

  19. stephent says:

    I had it explained to me one when I was with State Farm that it was to insure that the repair place did not pass on the discount they gave you to them. In all fairness you signed a contract that said you will pay x deductible for y repair so why should you pay less than that. If the place wants to give someone a discount it should be the insurer since you signed the contract.

  20. Macgyver says:

    I didn’t read anything about him calling State Farm.

    He says:
    “My wife called to schedule the appointment and mentioned the coupon and was told that State Farm (my insurance company) won’t allow a coupon to be applied towards my deductible”
    Check your policy, maybe it says something in their that you can’t use coupons.

    And aren’t you supposed to call State Farm first before any work gets done anyway.

  21. SteveZim1017 says:

    in most states this is considered insurance fraud. if his winsheild costs 500 and his ded is 250 that means the ins co pays 250. this coupon is saying that its now 50 cheaper, making it a 450 winshield. having the insurance company still pay 250 and you only pay 200 of your 250 dedectible is illegal.

    do most places still do this? yes. but you have to do it without the insurance company’s knowledge or participation. you can’t submit it to your isurance company like a grocery coupon. yowza!

    This guy is gonna have SIU (ins fraud dept) all over his claim now!

  22. sirwired says:

    This is a pretty reasonable policy. State Farm does not want any sort of kickback going on. They reasonable believe that you are supposed to pay the full deductible, and that State Farm pays the rest. If the “rest” is inflated by $50, it costs State Farm extra money.

    If I was State Farm, I’d have the same policy. If you want a lower deducible, pay for a policy that has one. Many companies even have optional Glass riders with a $0 deductible.

  23. bwcbwc says:

    Basically the glass company isn’t allowed to waive the deductible, so the coupon is a scam. The total price of the repair is what the glass company can knock $50 off of. But that money would come out of what the insurance company pays out to the glass company. The deductible is part of the agreement between you and the insurance company, so only the insurance company can offer discounts on the deductible.

  24. MarvinMar says:

    So is this the same as what they do here in Arizona.
    “Get your windshield replaced with us, and we will give you $50 and 2 free Western Bacon Cheese Burgers!”

    or
    “Get your windshield replaced with us, and we will give you 12 free dinners at x Mexican restaurant”

    “Offer good with coupon only. Offer not valid for customers paying cash.”

    I always read that to mean that they are screwing over the insurance company by inflating the price or something.

  25. bouch42 says:

    This is coming from a auto/home sales rep… No insurance company would knowingly allow that. In a claim they will look at one total, you pay the deductible and they pay the rest. The glass company could offer $50 off but they can’t say off the deductible. Well they can say that, but your insurer won’t agree. It’s kind of odd that the repair shop “knows” State Farm is not down with the coupon. I wonder what would happen if you said you had a different carrier, I bet same response.

    This happens all the time but not in the form of a coupon. You go to X’s Collision Center. He writes up an estimate that covers your deductible. It costs $2000 to fix but X writes his estimate at $2500. Now you and Steve have conspired so you do not have to pay your deductible. If your insurer finds out about this (I’ve seen this… Fax from repair shop had a note to the customer saying they will both make $750 off the claim. Opps) your claim will be denied.

  26. Gulliver says:

    The $50 is actually the insurance companies money. Think of it this way. Say the price is $250. Your deductible is $50. The offer would take the total down to $200, and you still have a deductible of $50. This would not change your deductible. The insurance company can actively go after that $50 from them. Imagine a body shop decide to do this to get more business for their place. They decide to charge $500 more than their competitor and say, we won’t charge any insurance claims a deductible. They are in essence stealing from the insurance company. Take it to the next thing and see how it would work in health care. ” We don’t charge the co-pay.” Of course we run unnecessary tests and bill more in the long-run.

    • annodyne says:

      This did happen many years back with prescriptions. Some pharmacies (big chains), in order to increase their prescription volume actually started advertising “no copays.” Of course it really hurt the other pharmacies in the area, and it was very hard to explain to people why it was insurance fraud. To them It was just $4 (to get an idea of how long ago) less that they had to pay. The insurance companies were not happy.

  27. mszabo says:

    yeah I was gonna say the same thing. For that matter the way the OP is worded it doesn’t sound like a problem with State Farm, but rather a problem with the dealer. The Glass company said it wouldn’t honor the coupon because he had state farm. Nothing todo with state farm. The Glass company probably didn’t honor the coupon because State Farm had a cap on what it pays for a new window.

  28. elysse says:

    Been there, done that. In Kentucky insurance companies are required to pay for windshield replacements by law. A 600$ bill and an hour’s angry phone call to mine proved that they won’t. :(

  29. gman863 says:

    Strange: Nobody has mentioned the issue of the quality and/or warranty of the windshield and labor yet.

    When it comes to any type of car repair I want to know in advance I’m dealing with a reputable shop. Unless it’s a repair company I’m already familiar with or a referral from a close friend, I always check Angie’s List or the BBB for reviews (the same goes for roofers, plumbers or any other paid labor).

    How easy is it to f**k up a windshield? Have a hack install it and you’ll find out. If not seated and sealed properly, water may leak in the car, especially when driving (going 65 mph against a 10 mile per hour headwind equals a Cat 1 hurricane). In extreme cases (although rare), I’ve heard horror stories of an improperly installed windshield coming off the car and going airborne at higher speeds.

    I learned my lesson on being steered to a specific repair shop many years ago when a friend test rode and trashed my motorcycle. State Farm told me I “had to” use a specific Kawasaki dealership for the repairs. It took 10 weeks to get the bike back and it still had major problems. To prove this, I took the bike to two other Kawasaki dealers and (without telling them the specifics), paid them to inspect and test ride the bike. Each estimate was over $1000 (in 1980s dollars) to replace steering parts the first shop had attempted to bend back into shape.

    Morals: The legality of the $50 coupon is not nearly as important as the quality of the work. If your adjuster attempts to bully you into using a specific repair shop, it’s usually a red flag he, she or the insurance company has their own special deal with that shop that may impact the quality of the work. Do your homework and find a quality repair shop you trust.

    • clarkins says:

      It’s not necessarily that a adjuster has “their own deal” with a shop. Some companies have “preferred” shops.
      The adjuster cannot make you use that shop. They can suggest them but cannot make you.
      The benefit to the adjuster is that the shop has jumped through the companies hoops, promised to do certain things, etc. The adjuster can close the claim very quickly if the insured will use that shop. That’s what we were hammered on, how quick we could close them.
      We don’t have to come inspect your car and write our own estimate for the shop you want to go to. The preferred shop writes their estimate.
      We don’t have to come out to the shop you pick and approve any additions that shop makes to their original estimate.
      We don’t have to photograph the damage on your car, the shop does that.
      We don’t have to set up a rental car (if you have that coverage) for you, the preferred shop does that.

      Granted this was back in 99-01, things could have changed drastically.

  30. SChance says:

    This is called “rebating,” and it’s illegal in most states. You cannot solicit a customer’s business by offering to pay all or part of their insurance deductible, or by providing something of value in exchange for their (insurance-related) patronage – that’s why, most places, you no longer see the commercials offering, say, 20 free dinners at Azteca if you get your windshield fixed at Joe’s Auto Glass.

    The company may be giving the customer a discount off his deductible, but they’re charging State Farm full price (or more) for the auto glass. State Farm isn’t being a dick in this case, or “keeping their profit from being passed on to the customer.” THEY’RE AVOIDING MAJOR FINES FROM THE STATE OFFICE OF THE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER.

    Oh, and when the OIC gets wind of this company offering the “discount?” The company will be barred from doing business with the insurance companies and fined themselves. It just happened to three glass companies in my state.

    SChance, licensed insurance agent

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I’ve seen contractors come around after storms where a few houses actually needed repairs. Many contractors solicited business with the free inspection routine AND “making it so you won’t have to worry about a deductable”. We had a nasty hail storm and before you know it entire neighborhoods are getting roof replacements-after the contractors came around asking to do a free roof inspection.

      All the earmarks of fraud are there including unsolicated visits/sales pitches from contractors, uncanny knowledge of the insurance industry in our area, out of state contractors, sub contractors and out and out lying.

  31. dilbert69 says:

    You’re kidding, right? This is out and out insurance fraud. Let’s say a new windshield, parts and labor, is $500, and your deductible is $200. You pay $200, and the insurance company pays $300. Now the company offers a coupon for $50 off, and to cover the expense of the coupon they raise the price to $550. Now you pay $150 and the insurance company pays $400.

    You should never do business with anyone who offers to “cover” or “rebate” or “discount” your deductible. It’s fraud, and I wouldn’t trust the work of anyone who suggested it.

  32. FrankReality says:

    In my state, windshield replacement companies used to be able to give customers freebies like boxes of steaks for your business. The insurance lobby managed to have the state legislature ban the practice.

    Also in my state, you can choose to go to any glass replacement company who want – and even though it’s illegal for insurance companies to steer you to a company they favor, it’s still common practice – they can’t force you to go there.

  33. drburk says:

    Your deductible is the first portion paid (it’s how a deductible works). To offer a $50 discount means that the total price is going to reduce $50. Which means since you pay first the insurance company would pay $50.00 less. To do otherwise is fraud and can result in the insurance policy being voided.
    There are legal and legitimate ways around this, I own a roofing company and this is what we do, we collect the full amount (deductible & insurance payment) to meet all legal obligations. We then sign an advertising agreement with our customer (we pay them $500.00 to display our yard sign). The deductible was paid and a separate legal agreement was reached for a different service so it avoids fraud or voiding their insurance policy.
    They glass repair place should ask you to put a static cling sticker on your window for 5 days and give you $50 up front for. Since they would collect your deductible and have a separate agreement insurance wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be able to interfere.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That explains alot of the contractor signs I’ve seen after storms. If it’s a legal loophole, fine go ahead use it. But you can’t tell me a sharp attorney general couldn’t get that into court.

      Just by coincidence you make a deal to advertise for a company around the sametime you agree to have work done by that same contractor mostly paid for through an insurance claim?

  34. hakkoz says:

    Reading through this quickly, I could have been mistaken that this was submitted by my husband. We are insured by State Farm and a rock hit his windshield this week forcing him to get it replaced. HOWEVER, his story was not very complicated. He used a company that SF recommended, paid his $50 deductible before hand, and everyone lived happily ever after. Perhaps the coupon-promoting glass company just simply isn’t approved by SF.

  35. edrebber says:

    Tell the insurance agent that if they don’t capitulate to your demands, you will take your insurance business elsewhere.

    • SChance says:

      And the insurance agent will happily wave goodbye to a customer that’s asking him to risk his license and VIOLATE THE LAW.

      • edrebber says:

        sChance,

        Complete and utter nonsense, which is good for a chuckle.

        • SChance says:

          Really? I suggest you check out insurance law in your state. I’m VERY familiar with the law in my state, since I’m a licensed insurance agent.

          Oh, here’s a link for you (http://www.glassbytes.com/newscascade20070227.htm):

          “Washington State Glass Company Ordered to Stop Issuing Rebates

          The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) issued a cease and desist order to Cascade Auto Glass of Vancouver, Wash. for Cascade’s alleged policy of offering rebates of up to $150 to customers who had their windshields repaired or replaced at the shop.

          In response to a complaint filed in the Consumer Advocacy Division in November, the OIC initiated an investigation of the alleged rebate offer. According to Bill Ripple, an OIC spokesperson, an OIC investigator was offered $150.00 in free gasoline when seeking a quote for a windshield replacement on two separate occasions. Ripple also noted that there is a coupon good for “$150 in free gas” available on the Cascade Auto Glass website.

          Ripple also noted that it is the job of the OIC to regulate insurers, and as Cascade Auto Glass is not an insurer the order, for the time being, has no authority, and that the OIC can, “just tell them to stop doing it.” Ripple went on to say that, if the alleged action then continues the OIC would contact local prosecutors to pursue the matter further. The alleged rebate offer is in violation of Washington State law which states that “It is unlawful for a service provider to engage in a regular practice of waiving, rebating, giving, paying, or offering to waive, rebate, give, or pay all or any part of a claimant’s casualty or property insurance deductible.”

          In a written statement to glassBYTEs.comâ„¢ Brad Nelson, vice president of Cascade Auto Glass stated the company’s strong opposition to the ruling.

          “Cascade strongly believes that the order should not have been issued. Cascade does not waive or rebate deductibles in the State of Washington where such conduct is illegal. Unfortunately, the representative of the Insurance Commissioner who has been pursuing this has not gotten her facts straight yet.”

          According to Nelson, it is Cascade’s position that the investigator from the OIC had not actually spoken to representatives from his company, but had mistakenly contacted another auto glass business.

          “We know that there are other glass companies in Washington that utilize the Cascade name. We also know that deductible waiving and rebating is widespread in the state,” said Nelson, who went on to state, “Cascade Auto Glass, however, does not waive or rebate deductibles. Any and all promotions that we run in the State of Washington are without regard to the existence of insurance coverage or the existence or amount of a customer’s insurance deductible.”

          Nelson noted that it is Cascade’s intention to “demand a hearing on the validity of the cease and desist order… to establish that we are in full compliance with Washington’s restrictions.””

          So, yeah – what’s nonsense again? Oh, right, your insistence that you know more about the law than a licensed insurance agent who’d like to keep that license.

        • SChance says:

          Oh, and here’s the relevant statute: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=48.30A.015

          For a licensed agent to capitulate to an insured’s demand that they be allowed to accept a rebate from a service provider might not be specifically illegal, but would certainly be considered an ethical violation that could cost the agent his/her license – and would certainly, if it were a pattern of behavior, cause his/her appointment with the specific insurance company being represented to be revoked.

          RCW 48.30A.015
          Unlawful acts — Penalties.

          (1) It is unlawful for a person:

          (a) Knowing that the payment is for the referral of a claimant to a service provider, either to accept payment from a service provider or, being a service provider, to pay another; or

          (b) To provide or claim or represent to have provided services to a claimant, knowing the claimant was referred in violation of (a) of this subsection.

          (2) It is unlawful for a service provider to engage in a regular practice of waiving, rebating, giving, paying, or offering to waive, rebate, give, or pay all or any part of a claimant’s casualty or property insurance deductible.

          (3) A violation of this section constitutes trafficking in insurance claims.

          (4)(a) Trafficking in insurance claims is a gross misdemeanor for a single violation.

          (b) Each subsequent violation, whether alleged in the same or in subsequent prosecutions, is a class C felony.

  36. Retired Again says:

    Windshield replacement can be a real nest of problems. Insurance companies are LIABLE.
    A Windshiled is part of the “structure” of a car’s roof. Inferior or off-market wrongs can allow roof to
    collapse on you in a roll-over, or spray glass shards into your face.

  37. SundanceKid says:

    “His Sate Farm insurance agent said he wasn’t allowed to repair the windshield through a company that promised him $50 off his upfront costs.”

    Writer FAIL! Have you and your colleagues forgotten how to spell check and proofread your work before publishing?

  38. SEIowaRes says:

    Another thing to watch is the whole “rock chip repair” scam. Sure, it works, sure, it is cheaper, sure, the insurance will pay for it in total without a deductible. BUT, they will also charge it against your policy as a claim that can be a cause for your policy to be canceled.

    • SChance says:

      Then you need to look for a better company. My company does not count glass or towing claims when figuring your rate. The worst we might do is tell you that we’ll no longer offer comprehensive coverage for a vehicle that is constantly having the windshield repaired (you need to figure out what you’re doing and change your driving habits/sue the idiots driving around you with uncovered loads/stop living down a gravel road).

  39. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    It’s just bait and switch. I would imagine that quite a few insurance companies don’t allow these coupons.

  40. hansolo247 says:

    State Farm is paying the windshield repair, not the OP.

    State Farm says you will pay a deductible of $X. Any discount should go to State Farm (and they are already getting a bigger discount than what that coupon gives the OP).

    If you want to pay for it yourself, go for it. If you want State Farm to pay, pay the deductible you agreed on.

  41. bubba b says:

    Windhield replacement is very high profit. Insurance Co’s refuse the deductible because they will negotiate the highest discount from the replacer…the deductible is essentially part of the discount to the insurance co. which is why they deny it.

  42. frak says:

    When I had to replace my entire windshield I was given two quotes: $300 if I paid or $400 if the insurance paid. My deductible was $500, so I paid with a check for $300. The whole pricing scheme seemed shady to me.

  43. madashell says:

    i had a rock hit my windshield by a dump truck and saw the rock come directly from the back of the dump truck. I followed him and got the name and number to the company and called them. I recieved the insurance information from the office and called the insurance company. They informed me that they were in no way going to pay to repair my windshield. They said there was no proof that the rock came from the truck. When i threatened to sue them, she said, “good luck tryiing to prove that rock came from our truck.” I was mad as hell.

  44. TheSurlyOne says:

    An insurance company shouldn’t have the ability to dictate whether a policy holder can/can’t use a coupon or discount!!! SF isn’t paying less on the claim either way, they’re just screwing their policy holder out of $50!

    Health insurance companies often do the same thing. I’ve found numerous coupons for prescription medications only to be told that I can’t use them to discount my co-pay. I could only use them if I was paying for the Rx out of my own pocket. How my co-pay is any of their business is beyond me- they’ll pay the same amount (cost minus the copay) either way. So I get to pay $50 instead of $25 each month for one of my meds. The insurance companies must get their jollies by costing their customers as much as possible, even though it doesn’t save them a penny!?

  45. Andyf says:

    Makes perfect sense to me. What has never made sense to me is the glass deductible. I just won’t get a policy that has one, since I’ve never gone a year without some sort of glass work, and the extra charge for $0 deductible is far less than the deductible.

    As far as why they won’t allow it, it’s so that glass companies that charge more (to the insurance co.) can’t essentially pay off the consumer to use their services. MA enforces the same thing on medical insurance deductibles, so that name brand drugs companies can’t use deductible rebates and such to convince the consumers to insist on a more expensive (to the insurance company) option than what would work just as well and save the insurance company potentially hundreds, but cost the consumer maybe $20 more.

  46. BytheSea says:

    You deductible isn’t paid to the autobody shop, it’s a part of your insurance policy and paid to your insurance company. The insurance company isn’t offering the coupon, so they couldn’t redeem it any more than Briar’s ice cream would redeem a Ben and Jerry’s coupon just because they are on the same shelf in the store.

    As for why the $50 couldn’t come off the deductible — the insurance co is paying thousands of dollars to repair your car. You deductible is just a small part of that bill. You might be able to convince them to reduce the deductible by the same proportion of the bill as the $50 covers, but it’s probably a negligible amount.

  47. momonthego1 says:

    I am an owner of an auto glass company. In speaking for our company only, allow me to clarify please. I have offered on occasion a “rebate” for windshields replacements billed thru insurance. I do it to build business since I happen to be located in a highly competetive area. In my state most people carry zero deductible for glass. Not all, but most. If I am offering say $50 rebate and the customer carries a zero deductible then I pay them $50. If however they have a $100 deductible, then I deduct $50 from what they owe, and they are responsible for $50. In no way, shape or form is this $50 that I am offering added on to the billing for the insurance. My company is obligated to abide by very strict pricing agreement since we are also “preferred shop affiliates”. I am in a nutshell willing to lose $50 on the job to obtain your business. I realize there are many theories as to how this works. I see suspicion, which I understand. I ONLY speak for my business, since I have no idea how other companies conduct their business. I HAVE heard of non shop affiliates who charge whatever they want or feel is fair and who do not abide by a pricing agreement. I have heard of those companies who “go after” the customer for what the insurance doesn’t pay. I don’t know how successful they are at collecting, but I have heard of it. I have NEVER done that because, again, being a preferred shop affilitate I must honor and abide by all pricing agreements and whatever other stipulations that insurance company requests. One other thing. I heard mentioned that State Farm doesn’t allow rebates or gifts to be paid to the customer. This is VERY TRUE. It is written in their contracts that we are not to pay gifts or money to the customer in exchange for business or we risk losing our relationship with State Farm. I don’t know why this is, and it is difficult to explain that to the customer who has a “rebate coupon”. That is why there is a “some restrictions may apply” clause on our coupon. Anyway, hope this clears up some confusion.