ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida legislation that is likely to be signed into law aims to put the brakes on questionable practices by some windshield companies.
Pat Carosone said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing from the cold caller on the other end of the line. “They start telling me that they can replace my windshield. I can receive $100.”
The caller offered him cash and a ‘free’ windshield, even though there was nothing wrong with his car’s glass.
“I said it’s not broke and that’s when she stated that it can be replaced after a time,” Carosone explained.
After a branch came crashing down on her car, Elizabeth Cruz of Poinciana had a glass company replace her windshield. She was shocked to hear that her insurance company was billed thousands of dollars.
“Comes out of our pockets. You know, all the customers who, you know, have been paying for this insurance,” Cruz said.
Inflated charges and cash enticements for control of insurance claims are some of the tactics new Florida legislation is meant to stop. The bill’s sponsor, Florida State Senator Linda Stewart, says it’s good news for consumers.
“Well, for one thing, it’s going to drive the insurance rates down,” Stewart said.
The motor vehicle glass bill (SB 1002) prohibits incentives, like cash or gift cards for windshield insurance claims. It also does away with assignment of benefits contracts, which Senator Stewart claims lead to an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits that consumers were not even aware of.
“We started off five years ago trying to put an end to those lawsuits and every year it just escalated more and more. One person filed 5,200 lawsuits in less than a year,” Senator Stewart said.
The bill also requires vehicle recalibration or that consumers are notified when a recalibration is necessary after windshield replacement, keeps referral services from ‘steering’ consumers to a preferred vendor, and Senator Stewart told Action 9 the bill requires auto glass installers to negotiate the terms of the cost.
“So therefore, they’re not replacing the glass and then sending the bill to the insurance company and the insurance company says, ‘Oh, we don’t pay that much,’” Senator Stewart said.
Cruz hopes this legislation brings real change and insurance premium relief.
“Yes, that would be awesome, because people need to know. People need to know what’s going on,” Cruz said.
This motor vehicle glass bill has passed both chambers and will take effect immediately after Governor DeSantis signs it into law.
If you have a windshield issue, contact your insurance company first if possible.
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