Why Do Auto Glass Repair Estimates Differ?

If you’re shopping around for auto glass repairs, you might be surprised why each provider has different estimates. It’s not that some are trying to rip you off. It’s just that some factors affect their pricing and how they deal with repairs.

Remember this: simple questions can have different answers. The same goes for auto glass repair quotes. If you’re wondering why this is the case, you should consider the following points:

Type of glass to be used

Take note that the kind of glass to be used for the repairs will impact the cost of service. OEM glass is expensive since the shop will source it directly from the manufacturer of your car. On the other hand, you can save some bucks with after-market glass. These are mass-produced auto glass that is generically made for various car models.

So if you happen to encounter different quotes, ask about the glass that they are using. It’s usually the defining factor.

Model and make of your car

Many car owners don’t understand the model and brand of their car, so they often conclude that some shops are trying to dupe them. If you have a luxury car, expect that the repairs will be higher than other entry-level models. This is because the shop will need to source the glass from your manufacturer and they may have to use special tools.

Although you can use after-market glass for your luxury car, it may reduce its market value if you plan on selling it.

Insurance coverage

Depending on the terms indicated on your policy, you may only need to pay a deductible during auto glass repairs. However, if the cost is lower than your deductible price, your insurer may not pay for any claims.

Also, some dealers have a pre-negotiated rate among insurance companies based on the volume of repairs. This will directly affect the cost of repairs and their rates.

Certifications and licenses

If you’re availing of auto glass repairs from a premium shop, expect a higher cost. Most high-end auto shops have special certifications, licenses, and memberships. All of these make their service more reliable. On the other hand, it also allows them to increase their repair rates.

There’s an advantage and a disadvantage to this. But if the cost isn’t a big issue, premium auto shops will surely provide the best value for your car.

Location of the provider

Auto shops located downtown and within the business center of the area will have higher rates. This is due to the higher cost of rent, supplies, and wages. For those who are looking for a more affordable rate, they can take chances on small shops in the marginal areas. Nevertheless, being secluded doesn’t always mean lower rates. Take note that auto shops have to factor in the logistics of the materials they have to use.

Final words

It’s quite normal for auto shops to have different repair estimates. What’s important is you stay smart with your options. Inquire about the breakdown of expenses and see which one offers the best value.

What Happens When You Are Hit by an Uninsured Driver?

No matter how careful you are as a driver, other motorists may not be as responsible as you. Getting hit by another driver is a big problem, but it’s even bigger if they aren’t insured. The numbers may surprise you: 1 in every 7 American drivers doesn’t have basic car insurance. So what happens when an uninsured driver hits your vehicle?

Depending on the circumstances, three possible things will happen if a non-insured driver hits you:

#1. Your insurer will answer for the repairs, but they will go after the uninsured driver to recover the cost. This means you will have to testify in court and endure the dragging legal process. In some cases, hearings can take weeks.

#2. Your insurer will cover the cost with no fuss, but only if you have an under-insured or uninsured motorist inclusion. This means that you need a special coverage clause. Otherwise, you’d have to settle on the first scenario or the last one:

#3. You would shoulder the repairs of your car on your own. This means you’d shell out money from your pocket. This is the most convenient choice if money isn’t an issue. However, doing this will not put the other driver accountable.

What to do when an uninsured driver hits your car

Ensure your safety

After the crash, make sure that you and the other passengers are safe. Also, check the driver who hit you and make sure that he or she is fine. Pullover to the side of the road while you assess the situation. Ask the other driver to do the same.

Secure pieces of evidence

Once you’re safe, take photos and videos of the scene. Document the damage of your car. If you have dash and rear cams, you can use the footage when filing for a claim to your insurer. Also, you can use it as evidence if the other driver tries to come clean.

Call 911

As quickly as possible, call 911 so the police will reach your area. You must report the situation since the other driver is uninsured. This way, the police will get his or her name, contact number, and address. Make sure that you have your license ready in case the police will ask for it.

Don’t accept money

If the other driver tries to come up with a settlement, avoid taking money. When you do this, you’re letting him or her off the hook. Take note that the driver at fault would have to face penalties over the damages. Also, you don’t have any idea yet about the damages to your car. Most likely, it will turn out that the cost of repairs is higher than what the other driver has given you.

Accepting settlement money from the uninsured driver who hit you can also raise problems if you try to file an insurance claim.

Don’t panic or start a fight

As much as getting hit is a big hassle, try to stay calm. Don’t let anger get the best of you. Besides, you need a clear head to communicate with the authorities and to document the situation.

 

Signs of a Bad Auto Glass Repair Shop

Your car is an investment, so when it needs repairs, you only want a trusted company to help. But you should know that the auto industry has a few bad apples. That’s why you should be watchful for some tell-tale signs of a bad auto shop. So the next time that you look for someone to help fix your car windshield, make sure that you keep an eye out for the following signs:

The technicians drag out the repairs

As much as possible, avoid auto glass shops that take too long to repair your car. This means that they are prioritizing other clients over you. Still, it’s normal for some shops to be a few hours or a day late from the set ETA. However, if they keep on making excuses, you should think of pulling your car out of their shop and bringing it to a reliable shop instead. It’s just a small hassle as compared to waiting in vain for the repairs to be done.

The quote is way different from the actual cost

Each auto glass shop will have varying estimates for their service. However, the actual cost after the repairs shouldn’t be far-fetched from the amount they quoted. Take note that once a shop declared specific pricing, they should stick to it, come what may. A sudden price change, especially if it’s too hefty, is a red flag.

Some shops will quote a much lower price so they can get you to sign the deal. But once the repairs are ongoing, the real cost will show.

Rude staff

Rude employees are the leading sign of poor service. If the shop has poor customer service or rude technicians, look for another one instead. You wouldn’t want to deal with evasive and apathetic people once your car is undergoing auto glass repairs.

Take note that the shop’s attitude toward you is a reflection of their overall service. Also, most of the technicians in these shops are unreliable, which will cause more headaches in the long run.

They don’t put everything in print

This is somewhat related to sudden price changes. Some shops will not put everything on print to trick you into signing the deal. Also, it gives them the opportunity to inflate the cost and to drag the repairs.

So if you’re planning to try a new auto glass shop, always ask for documentation of the expenses and the process that they will use on your vehicle.

If the shop is unwilling to give a written quote, walk away and look for another option.

The result is messy 

After the repairs are done, the results will show what type of shop you’re dealing with. Messy finishes, blotches of adhesive, and stains on your glass are signs that the repairs were done improperly.

If the shop looks messy itself, you should think twice before hiring their expertise. Although you should never judge a book by its cover, the cleanliness of the staff and the facilities will give you an idea about their service.

 

Signs it’s Time to Get a New Windshield

Your windshield takes a beating from outdoor elements. Over time, it will sustain damage, cracks, and dings. Some of the damage can be repaired, while some may require a new windshield or other auto glass. Unfortunately, a lot of car owners don’t know when it’s time to replace their windshields. As much as technicians may suggest that they do so, they keep on resorting to repetitive repairs that cost more in the long run.

So when is the time to replace your windshield? You should consider the following situations:

Cracks have branched out

If the cracks in your windshield have branched out into long fissures, it’s best to invest in a new windshield. The rule of thumb is that if the crack is bigger than six inches, you should consider replacing the windshield.

Nevertheless, you should ask the opinion of a technician. Some cracks can be repaired for the meantime while they source the replacement windshield. Never put off repairs or replacements as it will put you danger while on the road.

Previous repairs aren’t working

If you have had several windshield repairs in the past and the problem keeps recurring, take it as a sign for replacement. Sometimes, the repair isn’t a failure. It just happened that your windshield has already reached the end of its lifespan.

Instead of paying for repetitive repairs, it’s best to invest in a windshield. Aside from saving money, you’re also removing the risk associated with faulty auto glass.

A piece of your windshield is missing

If you discovered that your windshield had been smashed, check if all the parts are intact. If pieces are missing, you may need to have it replaced. Repairs are only possible if your windshield is chipped or cracked.

Replacements cost a fee, but it’s much better than driving with a hole in your windshield or car window. Also, if your windshield isn’t in a drivable state, you can ask the auto shop for towing services.

Your view is blocked and warped

Pitting on the windshield will cause light to scatter into tiny rays. This can blind the driver and make it difficult to see the road. If your windshield is mired with this kind of damage, it’s best to have it replaced right away. Don’t wait until accidents happen before you visit an auto shop.

Also, hazy windshields could be candidates for replacements. This usually means that the plastic layer (PVB) is starting to come off the glass. In this case, a replacement is necessary as the plastic is sandwiched between two layers of glass.

You’re selling your car 

For those who are planning to sell their car, a new windshield is both a buyer magnet and a good investment. This is true if you’re investing in OEM glass. Since the glass is new, buyers will be more interested in your vehicle. Also, they can’t use auto glass issues as grounds in haggling the cost.

Besides, your car insurance may cover a large chunk of the replacement cost. Make sure that you hire a trustworthy auto shop to do it for you.

How to Lower Your Auto Insurance

Many of the car owners we’ve met have one simple goal: to lower their insurance premiums. Although all of us need car insurance, it doesn’t mean that we have to pour a fortune into it. Before you purchase a policy, make sure that you have done your homework and a little research. Here are some tips on how you can reduce the cost of your insurance while enjoying decent coverage:

Always ask about discounts

The easiest way to lower your insurance costs is by asking for discounts. Some insurers will offer a special discount if you have a clean record or if you’re purchasing the policy from an accredited dealer. Also, you can secure discounts if your car has low mileage, you have anti-theft devices in place, or you have updated driver’s ed.

Also, you can secure great discounts if you own more than one car and you’re purchasing the two policies from the same insurer.

Shop around and compare prices

Don’t settle for the first insurer that will give you an offer. Shop around and compare prices between auto insurance companies. This way, you can look for the best value without paying a lot on premiums.

You can call insurance companies to ask for free quotes. Most of them are willing to accommodate. If not, take it as a sign of poor service and look for another one.

Opt for a higher deductible

If you don’t want to pay exorbitant monthly premiums, you might as well opt for a higher deductible. Deductibles are the amount you’re going to shell out when filing for a claim. The rest will be paid for by your insurer.

Technically, the bigger your deductible is, the lower the premiums will be. Still, this has pros and cons that you have to weigh first. In the event of expensive car damage, you’d have to shoulder a large chunk of the cost.

Look for policy bundles

Policy bundles are usually offered at a lower price since you’ll be purchasing multiple policies at a time. Insurers offer a bulk rate at a discounted price for each policy if you consolidate your insurance to them. This means that you will get your homeowner’s, auto, health, and other policies from the same insurance company.

This is convenient since you only have to deal with one insurer. However, you have to ensure that they are trustworthy so you wouldn’t lose big time in the long run. Again, shop around and explore your options.

Maintain a good record

Another guaranteed way to evade excessive insurance premiums is by having a clean record. Be a responsible driver to prevent accidents. This way, when the insurance company looks at the history of your car, there’s nothing that they can use to charge you a higher fee.

Also, a good credit record will also help you out. It sends an excellent image to your insurance company that you’re in excellent financial standing and equipped to pay both the deductibles and premiums on time.

 

How to Keep Your Car in Great Shape for as Long as Possible

Keeping your car in great shape is a good way to save money by avoiding repairs and extend the lifespan of your vehicle. Don’t fret because, with some simple steps, you can prevent expensive repairs and your car will stay in shape for as long as possible. This way, you wouldn’t have to dig into your savings for a new car or to shoulder costly repairs.

Always keep the car clean

The first step in keeping your car in good shape is by maintaining its cleanliness inside and outside. Vacuum the interior and don’t leave your filter left untouched for months. Make it a habit to clean or replace air filters at least every quarter.

Also, wash your car properly to remove dirt and muck that could damage the paint. Most of all, use only the right products when rinsing your vehicle.

Keep your tires properly inflated

Do you know that a tire with insufficient air will consume 5% more fuel?  Your engine has to do more work to compensate for the poorly inflated tire. Besides, tire gauges are cheap and you can get one from the nearest auto shops.

The rule of thumb is to check the tire for pressure every other day. Once you notice a massive decline, get it inflated right away.

Opt for regular check-ups

Just like consulting with the doctor, you should never wait until you get sick before making an appointment. The same goes for your car. Annual tune-ups are necessary to prevent damages and to diagnose minor problems before it becomes an expensive issue.

Aside from bringing your car to an auto shop, you should also perform visual checks to spot dings and cracks.

Don’t let your car run dry

Always keep your car’s fluid topped up every time. Running your vehicle dry will cause irreversible damages to your engine. Aside from engine oil, make sure that you check your transmission fluids to keep your car running smoothly.

If you don’t have any knowledge on how to check your car’s fluids, you can ask a mechanic to demonstrate it for you. This way, you wouldn’t have to keep going back to auto shops just to fix a simple problem.

Don’t put a lot of stuff on your keychain

Many car owners are fond of putting a lot of things on their car keychain. They often hook a bunch of keys and other items, which will make it heavy. This will affect the ignition, regardless of the car’s make and model.

As much as possible, don’t mix your car keys with other small items. This will keep your ignition safe from damages.

Store your car properly 

If you’re planning to store your car for long periods, make sure that you do it right. Fill the tank and mix it with a fuel stabilizer so condensation won’t build up on the tank. Also, put your car on jack stands so the tires wouldn’t have to endure the vehicle’s weight. You should also disconnect the battery and plug the tailpipe.

Debunking Collision Repair Myths

Having your car repaired after a collision is a big responsibility. If you fall victim to some of the myths that surround the industry, the process could become a nightmare. Below we will go through some of these myths and get to the bottom of them.

Myth: Your insurer is always right about the estimate

Many car owners trust their insurers too much that they often end up being charged more than they should be. Take note that some insurance companies will have higher estimates than the auto shop you chose. If you follow the insurer’s estimate, you could be paying a higher deductible than you really need. Some insurance companies use this as a tactic to get more money from their policyholders. It’s best to ask a professional mechanic to negotiate the cost with your insurer.

Myth: A collision insurance policy covers everything

Just because you have a collision policy in place doesn’t mean you can get away from all the expenses. Take note that this kind of policy requires a deductible. This is intended to cover a portion of the repair cost while the insurer shoulders the rest. A bigger deductible means a lower premium, while a smaller deductible means a bigger premium.

Your insurer will discuss the deductible cost with you even before the purchase of the policy.

Myth: Your insurance premiums will not go up if you’re not at fault

Usually, your premiums will not be affected if you’re not the one at fault for the collision. However, this isn’t an absolute fact. For example, a parked car that got damaged by another driver is covered under the collision policy. However, your insurer will surely dig how and where you parked your car.

If they found at least a little proof that the incident could have been prevented on your end, they may increase your premiums a little. In this situation, you’re not at fault for the accident, but you still have some level of responsibility.

Myth: The insurance company will choose the repair shop

This isn’t true. You can choose the auto shop that you trust for the repairs. After that, the shop will be the one to communicate the expenses to your insurer to get it covered. Still, you’ll be the one to file the claim while the auto shop will serve the proof for the needed repairs, including the cost and extent of the damage.

Also, the auto shop of your choice can help negotiate the cost with your insurance company.

Myth: A comprehensive insurance policy will cover all the expenses 

Just like the collision policy, comprehensive insurance may not protect you from the cost of repairs. Take note that comprehensive insurance covers incidents, not accidents. Some of these incidents include hail damage, flooding, vandalism, and so on. If your car figured in a collision, this policy may not be applicable. Nevertheless, a comprehensive insurance policy is a must-have, regardless if your vehicle is old or new.

Comparing Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance

Collision and comprehensive auto insurance are two different policies that will secure your vehicle. However, not all car owners recognize the difference or the benefits of each. So for this post, we will compare the two coverage policies and what you should know about it.

Collision coverage

A collision insurance coverage covers the damages your car sustained during an accident. Take note that this policy should cover you regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

As much as collision insurance will cover the cost of repairs, it’s a different story if the overall repair cost is higher than the booked cost of your vehicle. In this case, your insurer will declare your car as ‘totaled’. With that, your insurer will only pay for the booked value of your car. Some will give the option to replace your vehicle.

If another driver is at fault for the collision, your insurer will pay for the repairs then go after the driver to recover their losses. In this situation, your insurance premium will not be affected, plus your insurer will handle the communication with the driver’s insurance agency.

Depending on the specifications of your policy, you can also add uninsured motorist coverage. This way, when an uninsured driver hits you, your insurer will answer for the repairs. Also, some collision insurance policies involve parked cars, rollovers, backing into an object, and hit-and-run collisions.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car insurance covers incidents rather than accidents, as indicated in a collision insurance policy. Take note that comprehensive coverage will vary per policy or what you decided to include in the fine print.

Some of the incidents covered by a comprehensive insurance policy are falling objects, vandalism, flooding, theft, and so on.

You must read the policy before signing or purchasing it. You may want to include other incidents that you think will likely damage your car in the future. However, remember that the more incidents you include, the higher the premiums will be.

Some policies will cover car theft, fire damage, hitting an animal, and break-ins. Again, it all depends on the coverage you wish to get.

 What type of car insurance should you get?

It’s best to get both collision and comprehensive car policies if you can. This way, your vehicle will be protected from just about any incident or accident that may take place. This is truer if you have a brand new or expensive and if you are at risk for such accidents or incidents. Also, if you live in an area with a high crime rate, getting as much protection for your car is necessary.

These two policies can be purchased together or separately, depending on what your insurer offers. Usually, insurers offer discounts if you avail consolidated policies from them.

Also, remember that both collision and comprehensive insurance only applies to the vehicle, not you as the driver. This is an exception to policies that apply to rental cars. Both will require a deductible for every claim that you will file.

 

Common Auto Glass Scams You Need to Look Out For

The auto glass industry is a pretty good industry as a whole. But like any industry, there are a few scams that try to separate customers from their money. Some are tricky and difficult to spot. Still, with the right knowledge, you can avoid these scams and you can save yourself from the hassle. Next time that you need auto glass repairs, avoid falling for these scams:

Unnecessary maintenance 

Some shady auto shops will tell you that your windshield needs maintenance and to leave your car with them overnight. Little do you know, no such maintenance that will take place. Others will also try to sell you into additional services such as waxing or other repairs, even if your car is in good shape.

Since many car owners are not knowledgeable enough about their vehicles, it can be easy to fall victim to this kind of scam.

The self-proclaimed pro

So you’re in the parking lot when someone approaches you and tells you that your windshield needs repairs. The guy is an unmarked salesperson who claims to know a pro that can repair your auto glass for a low price.

Although the repairs will be done, the quality is usually substandard. Worse, the so-called pro will charge you excessive fees. It’s a double whammy: you lose a lot of money and your windshield will probably need further repairs.

Asking you to replace even if repairs can be done

Sometimes, this isn’t always a deliberate scam. Other technicians aren’t knowledgeable enough that they recommend a full auto glass replacement even if repairs can be done to solve the problem. If you are in doubt, you can always consult with several auto glass shops.

After confirming the necessary repairs for your auto glass, look for the auto shop that provides honest and transparent service. You should never hesitate to ask questions since your money and car is at stake.

Forcing you to avail a specific auto glass brand

Some auto shops who have partnered with brands will try to sell you into the auto glass they are endorsing. They may mean well, especially if the auto glass has excellent quality. However, it’s always best to opt for OEM if the cost doesn’t have much difference.

Always be smart when it comes to car repairs. It doesn’t hurt to look into other options, but take a step back if your auto shop is forcing you to avail of a specific brand.

Overcharging

This is quite common among shady shops. Some will try to inflate the price and make it look legitimate. Take note that it’s normal for shops to have varying glass repair estimates. However, there’s also a fine line between a reasonable estimate and dubious fees.

Always ask for the breakdown of the cost and what materials will be used for your vehicle. Usually, this will reveal a lot about the attempt to overcharge you for the auto glass repairs.

Final words 

When it comes to auto glass scams, being smart and informed are the key to prevent yourself from being the next victim. Ask the right questions and always shop around for estimates.

Clearing up Car Insurance Myths

Dozens of myths surround the automotive industry. Some are ridiculous, while others get to victimize many car owners. In this situation, knowledge is power. Being informed is the key to identifying myths and knowing what’s best for you and your vehicle.

For this post, we will debunk some of these myths:

Myth: Your credit score has nothing to do with your insurance 

This is 100% false. Your insurer will look into your credits score and rating in the process of calculating your premiums. Take note that if you have a poor credit score, you may pay more than someone who has an impressive credit record. It’s best to improve your credit score so you can save money from your car insurance.

Myth: The car color you choose will affect the cost of your premiums

Again, this is an unfounded statement. The color of your car doesn’t have anything to do with your premiums. Your insurer will base your premiums on the age of the vehicle, mileage, your credit score, engine size, your driving history, and so on. They will never use the color of your car to change the cost of your premiums. Sure, you will pay more with a new paint job, but it will not save you money from insurance.

Myth: The person who damaged your car is responsible for the repairs

Your car, your insurance. Regardless of whether your friend borrowed your vehicle and damaged it, it’s still your insurance that will pay the price. Take note that insurance policies apply to the car, not the person inside it, or driving it. So whoever is in your vehicle will not be responsible for the potential damages. Unless that person is willing to shoulder the out-of-pocket cost, it’s still you who’s accountable for the repairs.

Myth: Your insurer can revoke your coverage at any time.

Several state laws prohibit insurance companies from revoking a policy for no specific grounds. Usually, insurers are allowed to drop you off the policy if you’re not paying or if they proved that you’re trying to defraud them with a false claim. So if you pay regularly and you have a valid driver’s license, your insurer can’t ditch you for no reason.

Myth: Thieves don’t steal old cars, so comprehensive insurance isn’t needed

Thieves steal anything with value and that includes your old car. In fact, some criminals know the value of an old car, especially if it’s a rare model. Also, some old cars are no longer in production, so the spare parts for such models are in great demand in the market.

So even if you own an old vehicle, make sure that you have a comprehensive policy in place.

Myth: The items inside the car are covered by auto insurance automatically 

The gadgets and other valuables you place inside your car will not be included automatically under your auto insurance policy. You need a personal protection policy if you want to secure these items. Take note that such coverage isn’t specific to the valuables in your car. It can be any item that you want to cover.