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March/April 2003

 

WGRReports
    repair news

LEGAL
Massachusetts Considers Mandating Repairs
The state of Massachusetts’s attorney general, Thomas Reilly, recently proposed legislation that would require consumers to repair minor stone breaks in their windshields rather than have them replaced. The proposal requires the approval of the state insurance commissioner and stems from an effort to keep auto insurance premiums down in Massachusetts.

According to Daniel Johnston, president of the Automobile Insurers Bureau of Massachusetts, the regulation was proposed in an effort to cut costs of insurance premiums—or at least keep them low. He said he suspects glass is often replaced when it could have been repaired—usually tripling the cost of the job.

“The average consumer doesn’t realize he can have windshields repaired rather than replaced,” Johnston said. He estimated the bill could save insurance companies approximately $10 million annually.

If the bill were to pass, a repair would be required if the damage was minor and outside the driver’s critical viewing area. Minor damage is defined as “a crack less than 6 inches in length and stone breaks, bull’s eyes and star breaks less than 1 inch in diameter.”

The regulation also says that the repair “must not impair the operational safety of the vehicle.”

Likewise, windshields would be required to be inspected by insurance companies before any work could be done at all, the way auto body repair usually occurs now.

At press time, the bill was under consideration, but no decision had been reached.



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