While Florida law now allows individuals with comprehensive insurance coverage to get their damaged windshield repaired without cost, you would think this would provide the auto glass industry with a great amount of work.
That is a good thing, right?
But for many in the auto glass industry, it has not been a good thing at all. In fact, trying to get paid fairly by the insurance industry has been nothing short of a nightmare and has led many small auto glass shops in Boca Raton to pursue lawsuits so they can get paid fairly for their work. But let’s back up a bit.
What Led to This Issue?
Florida implemented legislation that allows individuals with windshield damage the right to get windshield repairs completed without any cost if they have comprehensive coverage. This means no cost at all, including the deductible.
This is great for the average driver and should be great for the windshield repair shops as well. A customer comes in with a damaged windshield, the shop repairs or replaces it, and the insurance company pays for the repair. But that final step is where it has gotten muddy.
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Insurance Has Basically Set The “Prevailing Competitive Price” For Auto Glass Repairs
In anticipation of this legislature, the insurance industry went into agreements with large auto glass repair companies who could afford to do the repairs at rock-bottom prices because of their volume. This is fine, except smaller shops can’t afford to complete repairs at these drastically discounted prices. But they are being held to them because of policy limitations.
The insurance industry has agreed to pay glass repair prices based on “prevailing competitive prices.” But essentially, through their agreements with the large auto glass repair companies, they have set the competitive pricing standards to keep their costs abnormally low. Smaller shops simply cannot do the repairs for these prices, and, even worse, the insurance companies now often refuse to pay them unless they agree to take a huge cut in their repair costs.
Mom and Pop Shops Suffer
Most Boca Raton windshield repair glass shops are small independent businesses that set their prices based on fair nationwide industry standards. As small business owners, they rely on prompt and fair payment for their services.
But these owners have discovered that for a simple windshield replacement, they are often left to fight the insurance company to get paid fairly for the repairs they make that should be covered under insurance. Consequently, many of them are left to seek legal remedies to get paid for their work. This happens specifically when there is an assignment of benefits involved.
How Assignment of Benefits Creates Part of the Problem
Insurance has a relationship with their insured, not a repair shop. But in a repair situation, most small shops use an assignment of benefits so they can get paid directly by the insurance company. In auto insurance claims, an assignment of benefits allows the repair shop to expedite the work, order car parts and other things necessary for the repair. Under an assignment of benefits, the repair shop takes the insured party’s role, assuming the ability to collect for their repairs from the insurance company. Unfortunately, when the insurance company refuses to pay for the repairs, they also assume that headache.
In the meantime, insurance companies have lots of time and deep pockets. Over the past few years, thousands of lawsuits have been filed by shop owners to try to get fair payment while the insurance companies merely attest to their “excessive and unreasonable” charges and refuse to pay. Many shop owners finally agree to take far less than they deserve just to make the problem go away.
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Experienced Boca Raton Windshield Replacement Litigation Lawyers
At Ged Lawyers, LLP, our Boca Raton windshield repair litigation lawyers help small businesses get paid fairly for their work. If you own an independent auto windshield repair shop that has been unfairly denied payment for your work, let us help. Call us at (561) 995-1966 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.