6 Popular Questions about Auto Glass

Yesterday, we were visited by one of our glass vendors.  I always have questions for our vendors, and they are usually questions I get from our insureds.  I thought I’d start posting frequently asked questions here since I know they’ll benefit someone else.  Here are some questions about auto glass, and the answers I have gotten from our various glass vendors:

Q1.  Does my insurance cover glass replacement?

A1. If your policy has full coverage, then most likely you have coverage.  The comprehensive coverage of the auto policy covers theft, vandalism, windshield/glass replacement, damage due to fallen objects, weather and most other claims that is not a result of a collision.

The amount of your deductible will depend on whether or not it will be paid for by your insurance company.  If your deductible is higher than the cost of the repair or replacement, then this is an out-of-pocket expense.  But, my advice is to check your policy.  Some insurance companies offer a reduced or waived deductible or for glass claims.

Q2.  I only have a rock chip.  Will my glass be repaired or replaced?

A2.  I have asked several glass vendors about this, and the consensus is:  if the rock chip is smaller than a quarter (coin), or the crack does not exceed the length of a dollar bill then the glass may be repaired.  In some instances, the deductible is waived, if you have comprehensive coverage.

However, if the crack or chip is in your line of vision or the crack is an extension of the chip and is “growing”, the glass may have to be replaced.  Realize that if the glass is not repaired immediately, further damage may be done to the glass.

Q3.  Should I select dealer, OEM or aftermarket glass?

A3.  As with all automobile parts, the prices range differently among dealer, OEM (original equipment manufacture) or aftermarket parts.  This is a personal choice. If you want to ensure that the glass is set to the standards of the auto manufacturer, then dealer or OEM glass is the way to go.  Dealer glass usually has the manufacturer emblem on it, but the dealers aren’t glass companies so they will likely outsource the job to an OEM glass company.

Aftermarket glass uses the same measurements as the auto manufacturer measurements, but quality may not be the same.  If you are going through your insurance to pay for your replacement, check with the glass company to find out what type of glass they use. Also check with your insurance company to find out what type of glass they will pay for.  Some insurers may only cover the cost of aftermarket glass.

If you are leasing the vehicle and you are considering using aftermarket glass, check with the dealer first because if it’s not OEM you may be penalized when you return the vehicle.

Note that if you get into an auto collision and any of the windows need to be replace, all repairs will be covered by the collision coverage of your policy and all repairs will be managed by the auto body shop assigned to fix your car. This means that the window will be replaced by a company assigned by the body shop. Find out what type of materials will be used, whether OEM or aftermarket.  Again, the insurer may only cover the cost of aftermarket parts.

Q4.  I drive the car to work everyday.  I can’t be without my car.  Can the glass be replaced at my work or home?

A4.  There are mobile glass outfitters that will repair or replace the glass wherever the car is located.  However, since this work will be done outdoors be aware of the weather.  The adhesives used may not seal correctly under cooler temperatures.  A good mobile glass company will help you make this consideration.

Q5.  I don’t have comprehensive coverage on my insurance, how much will this cost?

A5.  This depends on on the glass company.  The average windshield is not more than $500, so even if you have coverage and your deductible is $500 chances are you will most likely be paying out of pocket to replace the glass.  The glass company may even offer the glass at the “insurance” rate.

Q6. Will an auto glass claim affect my insurance premium?

A6.  No. Any claim against the comprehensive coverage of your policy generally does not affect the insurance premium.   But it’s a good idea to check with your insurance carrier regarding your specific situation.

If you’ve got questions about insurance, let me know and I’ll answer it in an upcoming post.

Photo credits:
photo 1 by Collin Allen, photo 2 by rmisko, photo 3 by MelvinSchlubman

Gene Simmons, of rock group KISS and reality show fame, has embarked on a new career:  life insurance salesman.  He’s among many celebrities that are endorsing the importance of life insurance.

“Life insurance is a must,” Simmons says. “It’s the one thing in your life you are doing for everybody else. Once you are dead, you really don’t care, but while you are alive it is the one big, selfless thing you should be doing. And you should try to maximize the amount of money that you leave behind to your family, your loved ones and whoever else you deem.”

Straight and to the point. Read more about Simmons’ thoughts from The Street.

If you want your family to continue to live their current lifestyle if the worst happens, life insurance is a way to do that.  It’s a way of letting your legacy continue when you’re not around.  Talk to your insurance agent to help you determine your needs.

California families now have lower premium options to insure their children if they act now. The current open enrollment period ends March 1st, so it’s critical to look into this now while the window is still open. After March 1st, the open enrollment period is during the child’s birth month, but those who choose to wait may face higher premiums.

Keep in mind that children can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Also, once a child receives coverage, it’s important to continue the coverage. Letting the coverage lapse may incur penalties to reinstate the coverage, or face higher premiums if you have to re-apply.

For more information visit the 100% Campaign website* or call the enrollment hotline at 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669). Parents whose children are denied private insurance should call the state health insurance consumer hotline at 1-888-466-2219 for help.

For families that can’t afford private insurance, the state has options for low-income families such as Healthy Families and Medi-Cal.

*The 100% Campaign, a collaborative effort of The Children’s Partnership, Children Now
and Children’s Defense Fund California, was created to ensure that all of California’s childrenobtain the health insurance they need to grow up strong and healthy.

Life happens… day in and day out. Each day, we make sure that we take care of ourselves and those close to us. But we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Did you know that September is Life Insurance Awareness Month? Take this time to review your life insurance needs. If you have a policy, review your coverage to make sure it still fits your family’s current situation. Review your beneficiaries and make changes if needed. If your policy is from your employer, find out what happens to the policy if you are laid off or you leave your company. If it automatically cancels when you are dismissed from your job, think about supplementing your policy.

If you currently don’t have a policy, consider your family’s needs. If someone depends on you financially (a child, parent, spouse, etc.), you should strongly consider purchasing life insurance. Your coverage options may vary depending on your stage in life. The LIFE Foundation has an excellent article to guide you through this thought process, at whatever stage you are in life: “Who Needs Life Insurance?

Or better yet, talk to a life insurance agent. We can help you decide what is right for you.

I know many folks in the last year who have lost family members and struggle to pay their loved one’s final expenses (funeral costs, hospital bills, etc.), or find it difficult to keep up with their monthly bills without that 2nd income. This is because they put off purchasing a life insurance policy, or they let their policy lapse. If you have a policy that lapsed, contact your life insurance company. They may be able to reinstate the policy for you if you continue to be in good health.

Remember… the best life insurance policy is the one that’s in force when you’re gone.

You all know how the song goes: “Summertime… and the living is easy…. ”

That is, until you get into an accident. Even a fender bender can get you all stressed out. The number of car accidents increase during the summer months, especially during the holidays. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the July 4th holiday statistically has the highest number of crash-related deaths than any other day of the year due mainly to drunk driving.

But the summer holidays are a time to celebrate independence, spend time with family, and go on those road trips, right?! Before you hit the road, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for potential dangers. Here are some tips from the latest article by the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC) that drivers should follow in order to get to their destinations safely:

Follow the rules of the road. Buckle up, allow extra time for busy roads and avoid speeding, which reduces your ability to react to road hazards.

Designate a driver. If you have been drinking, plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver or call a cab. A DUI conviction could cost upwards of $10,000. (Not to mention that your insurance premiums could quadruple and remain high for at least 6 years!)

At the scene of an accident. If you are involved in an accident take notes of the scene and the situation, taking pictures if possible, exchange information with the other driver without discussing insurance coverage limits and call your insurer as soon as possible.

Getting pulled over. Pull over to the side of the road when it is safe. Roll your window down to hear the officer and exchange documents, answer the officer respectfully and sign the ticket without question. Signing a ticket is not an admission of guilt if you think you were wrongly cited. (You can avoid getting pulled over by being aware of your speed at all times.)

So keep these tips in mind, and don’t forget to take along your playlist of roadtrip songs. Don’t have any? If you’re a Gen-Xer like me, here’s a great list that I found from 80s Road Trip Songs:

Eddie Money-Shakin
Dexies Midnight Runners-Come On Eileen
Tracy Chapman-Fast Car
Go-Go’s-Vacation
Katrina and the Waves-Walking on Sunshine
Billy Idol-Rebel Yell
The Clash-Should I Stay or Should I Go
Joan Jett-Bad Reputation
B-52’s-Love Shack
Sammy Hagar-I Can’t Drive 55

Fire Escape Plan

As Fire Prevention Month comes to a close, I want to remind you about the theme for this year: “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned” There are many places to go to find safety tips and ways to prevent fires. But sometimes, a fire may be caused by an external event that is out of your control. This can leave you “burned” financially if you’re not prepared. I have a friend that had lost everything in a structure fire a couple of years ago. He had been out of town when the fire happened and came home to ashes. He was devastated for days.

Many of the things we own is material that may be easy to part with because it’s just “stuff”. We can always get a new wardrobe, tv, computer, but it costs money. It’s also hard to recreate those objects that we are emotionally attached to, like mementos, photo albums, manuscripts, awards, etc. Once they’re gone you feel like your whole past has been wiped out. Now is the time to prepare for this worst case scenario.

1. Have an escape plan (in case something happens when you are in the home), and review it regularly with your family. Everyone should know when/how to stop, drop and roll, in case your clothes catch fire. If windows have bars on them, make sure there is a way to release the bars so that you are not trapped in the home.

2. Create a household inventory, and review it periodically. This will help immensely in an insurance claim. Write down the serial numbers, brand, make, model of valuable and expensive items. Take photos of each room so you remember what was in each room. Once everything is gone, it’s difficult to recall from memory exactly what furniture and fixtures were in each room. The Insurance Information Institute provides a secure home inventory online at http://www.knowyourstuff.org.

3. Create a disaster supplies kit. This should be kept in a safe place that’s easily accessible if you are evacuated from your home. Use this checklist to help you get started.

4. Digitally store your memories and other important documents: There are things that you may not be able to replace because of their intrinsic value. But you can hold on to the memories by creating a backup of photos, creating digital images of awards/certificates and manuscripts/award-winning essays, and uploading them to external storage. Sites like SugarSync, MyOtherDrive, and mozy are examples of online backup that allow you to access your backed up files from almost anywhere on the web. (By the way, I don’t endorse any of these products. I have read numerous reviews online, and these seem to be the most popular and reliable. I encourage you to thoroughly research these to determine which works for your needs.)

5. Know what your hazard insurance policy covers and what is excluded. If you want to replace personal items that are lost or destroyed, you may need Contents Replacement coverage if it’s not already included. Loss of Use coverage will provide or reimburse funds used for food, rent, etc., if you are displaced from your home. Any valuables may also be covered by a floater, which provides additional coverage for specific items. Review your policy annually, and if you make any home renovations, whether it’s changing the kitchen cabinets, replacing carpet with hardwood, or extending the living room, let your agent know so that you are adequately covered.

With the constantly changing weather patterns around the country, especially here in California, fire season is year-round. Be prepared now, so that you “don’t get burned” later!

About a month after the 9/11 attacks, I was able to see first hand the damage done at Ground Zero: the makeshift memorials of those who were never heard from after the event, and the large hole in the ground where the towers used to stand.

Eight months after the attacks in May 2002, I had the opportunity to attend the candlelight vigil of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial . This is an annual event held in Washington, D.C. This particular year highlighted the fallen heroes of the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93, and there was a record number of visitors — standing room only!  It was a very emotional, yet uplifiting, moment for all those present.

More recently, in 2007, I vacationed in New York City and revisited Ground Zero and viewed the 9/11 memorials. At the same visit, I went to the NYPD Museum and experienced the memorial, which included a video tribute, for the officers who responded to the WTC attacks.

Eight years later, each memory or visual of the 9/11 attacks still makes me emotional. I’m sure everyone remembers what they were doing that morning. I remember driving to work (I had a 30 minute commute at the time) and listening to the various radio stations covering the catastrophe. I didn’t see any of the tv footage so I didn’t realize how extensive this was. About 20 minutes into my commute, I get a call from my sister who was in New Jersey on business at the time. She asked me if I had heard the news about the attacks. She then told me that she was supposed to be on Flight 93, which was to arrive in San Francisco.  I believe it was by divine providence that her project was delayed and she had to spend an extra day or two in NJ. It wasn’t until I got into work and saw the news coverage that I realized – had her project been on schedule I might not have seen her again…

I can’t imagine how those who actually lost someone in that catastrophe feel each year at this time. I am remembering today those who lost their lives while going about their normal day, especially those who put their life on the line to save the others. Thank you for your courage and heroism. I continue to pray for the families and friends they leave behind.

No one has greater love than this,

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:13

It’s during times like these that we should take the time to appreciate our loved ones who are still living, and memorialize those who have gone before us. Regardless of how they passed, they somehow made an impact on our life. This is also a good time to think about the legacy we will leave, whether it’s through an estate, will, foundation, etc. Contact your family attorney or financial advisor to help with your estate planning. Many banks and credit unions also have departments that can help or can refer you to someone. The credit union I belong to holds seminars that educate their customers on estate planning. Your insurance agent can help you get started with a life insurance policy. It’s a very simple way to start that legacy.