Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ho Hum.

Found this in the driveway about an hour ago.

I was heading out the door, closed the garage and hopped into the truck, expecting to leave for the Barco. It seems the flybridge cover is installed and I wanted to give it a look over before paying the other $4K for the project.

The back window looked odd, I thought. It was beaded over like a heavy rain had just hit. I paid no attention as I closed the door and put on the seat belt.

That was when I heard the sound of a million glass beads hit the bed of the truck, like a bag of ice cubes being spilled on a tin roof.

All I could see was maybe a penny in the bed, perhaps someone threw it at the window while passing by, I don't know.

 Ho hum, my first glass claim and I called the nice folks at USAA/Safelite explaining I had a broken window. They confirmed my coverage but told me I have a $250 deductible.

"Did you know State Farm does not charge a deductible for glass claims in Florida?" I asked. (You see, I used to be working for those good neighbors, and I am still a Florida Licensed 220 Property and Casualty Agent...)

"Well, Safelite and USAA charge a deductible, sorry," said the nice lady. Then she referred to me in my old rank from the Navy which lit me off unnecessarily.

"Please don't call me that. I've been out for 13 years and I earned the title 'Mister'".

We amiably chatted about the claim and I asked Safelite to not arrange for repair just quite yet.

The reason I stopped motion on the claim is that Safelite was hoping to schedule a repair time over the next week.  They gets a bit busy towards weekends, yannow.

Unsat. I expected if I am going to pay $250 bucks, somebody might pop by, say in a couple hours?


"Some time Tomorrow afternoon, maybe between oneish and maybe sixish?"


Mental note:
Why the heck am I talking to a faceless national call center about scheduling a glass repair? Am I not  an insurance professional who knows people in da bidness?

We closed out the conversation with me getting a claim number and the spiel about how much USAA Safelite appreciate my business.

I whipped out my calling card book and called my good friends at T&C Autoglass, Orange Park. I have flipped them at least forty windshield claims in the past three years, and that doesn't account for our entire insurance office staff which was sending them business All. The. Time. This is because of their reliability and how well they treated our most difficult customers to the total satisfaction of those customers. I received nothing in return for sending those customers other than superb service from T&C.

Andrea remembered me and asked to call me back with a price for repairing my 2008 GMC Sierra. She understood that I would be paying for the entire repair and I would be responsible for any reimbursement due me from my insurance company.

Three minutes later I got my price; $165 with lifetime guarantee. "And can we come by your home tomorrow morning to install?" What a nice person!

This stuff happens everyday with auto glass repairs in America. The Glass companies have tough competitors and insurance companies leaning on them to keep repair rates low. USAA and Safelite have a little sweet deal which does indeed keep costs down, but it is a little sweeter for Safelite in that they get the whole deductible, when applicable. In fairness to Safelite, they are a National company with a good reputation for mobile repair and service and there is nothing wrong with earning a profit. State Farm happily does business with Safelite everyday, but in Florida, State Farm does not charge a deductible for any glass replacement. Pays to be the largest Auto Insurer in the USA, doesn't it?

I get no remuneration for saying nice things about State Farm other than an open door to return for employment, whenever I would like to go back.

Bottom Line:
Taking charge of my repair will save me about $85 bucks and I know the folks doing the work. And the insurance company saves the costs of adjusting the claim and having to pay their partners. Win-Win. I still like USAA, I just wish they weren't in so many "Partnerships", especially the partnership with Progressive for boat insurance. But that's just me being choosy.

Insurance "Pro-Tip";

Resist doing business with those nice folks who cruise parking lots and driveways, asking you personally if you knew about the damage on your windshield. If some seedy looking, pushy gent tries to tell you he can arrange for the repairs... Thank him for alerting you, and firmly tell him you will go through your own insurance company. Some company, named for the ocean edge of a continent, has crews of people in many cities looking to drum up business... and these guys get a little premium (say $50 to $100) for finding broken windshields. There is no problem with the quality of work that they do, but they may not have a cost cap agreement with your insurance company, leaving you with possibly owing an additional amount above what your Insurance will allow for the repair.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!


LL said...

Sorry about the rear window - but thanks for the advice on glass repair.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Thanks for stopping by LL!

As we all know, guano occurs.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks for the advice, and sorry to hear about that window!

Buck said...

Good tips.

USAA also has a "partnership" with Progressive for RV insurance. And here I thought I was done with Flo...