Beware of calls about a windshield replacement ‘recall’

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — Insurance insiders and auto glass companies are warning consumers to be leery of anyone claiming your replaced windshield is now under recall.

They are reacting to an ongoing Better Call Behnken investigation into questionable windshield replacement insurance claims.

Windshield replacement turns into $14,393 in claims and doubled premiums

Marvin Shebroe and Colleen Hernandez both said they filed a claim with Farmers Insurance for a cracked windshield.

Both say months later, their phones rang and they thought they were talking to the company who replaced their windshield. They say they were told there was a recall that could be fixed for free. Later, they discovered bills for thousands of dollars sent to their insurance company, contributing to skyrocketing premiums.

In both cases, the bills were generated by a Sarasota company, The Florida AutoGlass Guys, LLC. No one from the company will return calls from 8 On Your Side, and there’s no public record of the bills they’ve sent insurance companies.

‘Doesn’t cost $6,000 to replace’: Another driver complains about inflated windshield claim, skyrocketing insurance rates

Mark Friedlander, of the Insurance Information Institute, says any call about a recall for autoglass should sound alarm bells.

“We would rarely see a windshield replacement under a recall,” he said. “That is very rare.”

Hillsborough County court records show the Florida AutoGlass Guys, LLC has filed 77 windshield lawsuits against insurance companies since July 2023.

Thirty-eight of those have been filed this year, against numerous insurance companies. Friedlander says lawsuits like these are driving up premiums.

‘We all pay for this’: Auto glass company has filed 77 windshield lawsuits against insurance companies since July

Data tracked by the institute shows 50,000 auto glass lawsuits in Florida last year, compared to 591 in 2011. Friedlander says there’s a rise in insurance claims for thousands of dollars for a windshield that should cost around $500.

“There should not be a lawsuit over such a simple repair and simple claim as glass replacement,” Friedlander said. “It’s because of these fraudulent actors who are intentionally taking advantage of consumers and charging exorbitant rates that should not be paid.”

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