Are windshield replacement schemes driving up insurance costs?

Posted at 4:39 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 16:43:24-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- It’s a great time of year for windshield repair companies.

“There’s been an uptick in business here lately," said Sarah Seymour with Seminole Auto Glass. “When it goes from being super cold in the morning to hot, like it is right now, that’s when that tiny chip grows into a crack.”

While business is great, for years now her industry has been plagued by what some call a windshield repair scheme.

Companies trolling for business in parking lots are offering free incentives like meals or gift cards. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line.

“People don’t realize they’re singing away their benefits," said St. Sen. Linda Stewart (D) Orlando.

Stewart says that signature, known assignment of benefits, gives contractors the chance to pursue payments from insurance companies at inflated prices, often leading to litigation which over time equals higher premiums for everyone.

She, and a House colleague, are committed to fixing the issue by pushing bills for next session. If approved they would forbid repair companies from using incentives and better ensure customers know what they’re signing.

The bills have yet to move in committees. Stewart said she may rework the language after lawmaker pushback.

“I need to get this bill passed for the consumers," she says. And something Seymour thinks may bring a bit more honesty to a business she loves. Especially this time of year.