Parking Lot windshield scams on the rise! What you need to know and avoid becoming a target!
More and more consumers are complaining that they have fallen victim to windshield insurance fraud. What you need to know, and how to avoid becoming a target!
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PRLog (Press Release) – Dec. 9, 2013 – WEST MILFORD, N.J. — More and more consumers are complaining that they have fallen victim to windshield insurance fraud. “Windshield bullies”, as they are called, are looking for innocent, unknowing victims in which they can bill their insurance companies thousands of dollars for unnecessary repairs. Despite the stiff penalties for insurance fraud, these types of operations seem to be popping up all over including gas stations, convenience stores, car washes, retail stores, etc.
How it works is quite simple. Someone will approach you and let you know that they have noticed a small, almost imperceptible chip in your windshield. They will then use scare tactics and tell you that if you don’t have it repaired it could eventually lead to bigger problems. Amazingly, a technician is on hand to help you out and will repair your windshield completely free of charge! Lucky for you? No.
Unfortunately this is a known insurance scam and seems to be on the rise in parking lots all over America. As the old saying goes, “nothing in life is free”. This is absolutely true in the insurance world. By having unnecessary repairs to your vehicle, your insurance rates may not rise immediately, but it certainly gets factored into future calculations which may prevent you from being quoted at a premier level, therefore raising your rates. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, they estimate that fraudulent insurance claims add up to $80 billion annually in the U.S. and increases the average annual family’s insurance costs by $950 a year!
According to Joe Laurentino, vice president of material damage at Esurance, instances like these have become increasingly prevalent in recent months. “Because some states waive the deductible on windshield chip repair (http://www.autoglassnj.com), we’ve seen a rash of unscrupulous ‘repairmen’ offer ‘free’ repair. But here’s the catch — sometimes, there’s no damage to begin with. Sometimes it’s only a surface pit that causes no safety risk. Even worse, sometimes these fraudsters cause the damage before pointing it out to you,” Joe said.
This is not to say that you should not have your windshield repaired. 50 percent of chips crack within a year, 80 percent within 2 years, and 90 percent within 3 years. Windshield repairs actually do help keep your insurance premiums lower. With the insurance companies only having to pay out a fraction of the cost of a new windshield, they are more than happy to cover 100% for your windshield repair. If you do get a chip on your windshield, it is important to have it inspected by an industry professional to determine if your windshield needs to be repaired or replaced.
How do I report insurance fraud? If you suspect a windshield scam or other insurance fraud, contact The National Insurance Crime Bureau by calling 800-TEL-NICB or texting the keyword “FRAUD” and your complaint to TIP411 (847411).