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Arizona Car Insurance Auto Glass Legislation

Arizona car insurance auto glass legislation is in the works in the state House of Representatives. House Bill 2463 would institute some specific rules governing the work done by auto glass installers and repairers in the state. The rules included in the new bill are intended to address issues the state has been having with rampant abuse on the part of auto glass specialists who have found ways to exploit the system to overcharge auto insurance companies for their services. The rules make these installers more accountable and protects insurers, and by extension policy holders as well.

Basics of House Bill 2463

House Bill 2463 dealing with auto glass work in the state of Arizona sets down some specific rules governing the work and billing practices of auto glass installers in the state. If it is passed into law, the bill will make it illegal for auto glass shop to knowingly submit a false claim to a car insurance provider for glass repair, replacement or any related services that either were not actually done, were not done in the geographic area in which the billing claims they were done, were not authorized by the owner of the vehicle being repaired, were completed under a falsely signed work order, or were done on a date different than the one indicated on the billing information provided to the insurance provider by the company doing the work [1].

House Bill 2463 also attempts to go after glass repair shops who offer free services when in fact these jobs are billed to the auto owner's insurance policy. Another area of concern addressed by the bill is when shops do additional damage to a windshield to necessitate more work, or when they perform more work than is actually needed to complete the repair. These sorts of abuses are racking up costs for Arizona auto insurance providers, translating to higher insurance bills for their customers. The intent of the bill is to hold glass repair shops accountable while also attempting to protect those they might seek to victimize.

Reasons for the House Bill

There are a number of reasons why Arizona House members have been working on this bill. The presence of this sort of abuse is not just a nuisance but a genuine area of trouble for constituents. These days very few of us in Arizona have all that much extra cash floating around to deal with unnecessary rate hikes from auto insurance providers. Yet one mustn't blame these providers who are getting fleeced by many auto glass shops taking advantage of weaknesses in the system brought about by a failure by insurers to be able to adequately monitor windshield repair work. Due to budgetary restraints, an insurer cannot send an adjuster out every time a shop sends them a claim for a windshield repair or replacement. It is just not feasible.

The House bill has been brought about because certain companies who work in populated areas around Phoenix have developed a growing tendency to suggest their work is actually being done in lesser populated rural areas of the state. Doing this has two desired effects for these glass companies. On one level, when an insurer receives a claim for a windshield out in a rural pocket of the state, it is less likely to respond personally due to the expensive nature of that kind of trip. And on another, these companies have discovered that billing a job in a rural area can get you more money than it can in a heavily populated part of Arizona, like Mesa or Phoenix. This is for that same financial reason of the cost of travel, as well as the known lack of competition keeping prices low in rural areas of the state.

There are other abuses going on due to the auto insurance industry's lack of ability to effectively monitor these glass repair jobs. For example, shops frequently feel free to replace windshields when a simple repair would have been sufficient to stop the crack from getting bigger and save the existing windshield. A complete windshield job nets hundreds of dollars, while a repair might be less than a hundred dollars in most cases. Multiply this cost discrepancy by the number of jobs performed across the state and add in the extra money unscrupulously added to the job by some glass shops, and you can easily see the way this sort of action is costing the state auto industry major money. This money has to be recovered somehow, and in these cases when the insurer is unable to do anything but pay the claim the cost has to be passed on to customers in the form of higher rates. Thus the great importance of trying to counteract this abuse is apparent for all drivers in Arizona.

What it Means for Consumers

It is much too early to predict whether Arizona House Bill 2463 will pass into law. But whether it does or not, there will be repercussions for auto insurance consumers in the state of Arizona. If the bill passes, customers theoretically will be protected from abuse by glass shops who might otherwise take advantage of them in their insured position. Most customers who get this sort of work done on their insurance company's dime pay little mind to the billed amount because it is not coming directly out of their pockets. Yet the indirect cost is tremendous.
The only question if the bill happens to pass into law is its enforceability. The same trouble allowing this sort of abuse to happen might allow glass shops to continue doing the same thing they are doing now. Part of the work legislators need to do is to find a way to allow for ways for the state to somehow help insurers to enforce the laws. If this does not happen, it will be a failure in spite of good intentions. So much work remains to be done. Even so, it is a welcome sign for consumers.

If the bill fails to garner enough support from the House, Senate and the governor to pass into law, things will likely continue the same way they are at present. Legislators, insurers and perhaps other interested parties at the state government level may have to work together to try to come up with alternative plans to fight this abuse on the part of auto glass repair shops. At any rate, the dialogue created by the creation of this bill and the resultant attention it is placing upon the issue of windshield repair costs on auto insurance policies in Arizona cannot do any harm. Whether this new effort will lead to a satisfying change remains to be seen.

Arizona House Bill 2463 is symbolic of an effort by members of the state House to try and fight the corruption that's becoming more evident in the state auto glass repair and replacement industry. If popular support for the measure comes out in full force, it would make passage more likely with legislators bowing to the wishes of constituents. But the issue of enforcement for this Arizona car insurance auto glass legislation remains a question mark.

[1] http://www.choicearizona.com/arizona-insurance-blog/index.php?/categories/10-Arizona-Auto-Insurance Retrieved 2010-02-21.

 

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