You’re driving through a construction zone when a rock flips up and cracks your windshield. No big deal, right? You’ll call a mobile glass company next week and get it fixed. But wait… if you have a newer model car the repair might not be so simple.
All the bells and whistles
Many newer vehicles make a lot of noise. Bells when someone is in your blind spot. Chimes when you’ve drifted into the neighboring lane. Beeps when you’ve pulled too far into the garage. These safety features, known as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) used to be found only in luxury cars. But as prices drop, they are becoming more common in average-priced models. By 2020, all new vehicles sold in the US will be required to have both emergency braking and forward-collision warning systems. These features are designed to make driving safer, but they pose special challenges when your auto glass needs to be repaired or replaced.
Consider, for example, your windshield. Insurance companies generally want to make repairing or replacing a windshield as simple as possible. Under the old scenario, you notice a crack, call your insurance carrier to place the claim, and are instructed to work with a glass repair company. Chances are you don’t even have to alter your routine. Most glass companies will send a mobile unit to make the repair or replacement at your home or workplace.
But if you car is equipped with ADAS, the repair is not so straightforward. ADAS relies on tiny lenses and sensors placed in various places on your vehicle. Many of those are embedded in the windshield. These sensors have to be located exactly the right spots. Furthermore, they require delicate calibration to continue functioning properly. Your car may have sensors in the side and rear windows as well. If your auto glass is not repaired correctly, your ADAS system cannot work as the manufacturer intended and your safety is at risk.
So if you need an auto glass repair, what should you do? Follow these steps to make sure your vehicle is repaired quickly and to the original manufacturer safety standards.
- Call your insurance carrier to report the claim. This is especially important if you car was broken into. Some auto glass repair companies will deal with the insurance company for you. However, only your insurance carrier knows what portion, if any, you will be responsible for paying. They can also suggest a reputable repair service in your area.
- Gather information about your car including the year, make model number and VIN. Due to manufacturing differences, windshields can be different, even on cars that look identical.
- Call to schedule your repair. In most cases, the glass company will know what safety equipment your vehicle has, and will advise you on the repair process. If your car is one that has a lot of manufacturer variations, they may want to do an in-person inspection before ordering the replacement glass.
- Plan to take your vehicle to the glass shop. Most providers do not yet have the ability to service ADAS vehicles with mobile equipment. You will likely have to leave the vehicle at the shop while repairs are being made.
- Ask about having your glass recalibrated. The auto glass company will repair or replace your glass. But many shops do not have the specific equipment needed to recalibrate the cameras and sensors. It may be necessary to take your car to an authorized dealership to have this done.
- Be prepared to pay out-of-pocket, and then be reimbursed. Most insurance carriers prefer to make one claim payment. Since ADAS glass repair often requires charges by both a glass shop and an auto dealership, they prefer to write one check to the policy holder. Most companies will reimburse promptly, within 2 – 7 days.
Better safe than sorry
“It used to be that windshield repair was the easiest thing we handled,” says Katherine Williams, Vice President and General Manager of General Southwest Insurance. “In the past few months, we’re seeing a lot of claims for cars with new safety technology, and there’s a lot of confusion out there about how to handle the repairs.”
Some drivers are also annoyed to find out that getting the glass fixed on their new car is a multi-step process. It’s important to have the glass repaired properly, both for warranty reasons and for safety. “Drivers quickly get used to having, literally, all the bells and whistles,” says Williams. “To suddenly have them not working is a serious danger.”
Auto glass repair companies are aware of the special issues posed by ADAS equipped vehicles. Most are working to upgrade their on-site technology and their mobile repair services. For now however, the process can be complicated. If you are unsure about how to handle your auto glass claim, contact your insurance company or your General Southwest advisor. We will help you through the process.
ADAS technology reduces accidents and makes our roads safer, but only if it’s working properly. If your newer car needs a glass repair, make sure you take the steps necessary to have it properly repaired. It might just save a life.