Smashed! What’s behind the spike in broken windshields?

Posted at 11:05 PM, Jul 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-08 00:08:24-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dump trucks, many of them hauling rocks and gravel, are all over Richmond metro due to road construction. Even though Virginia law requires the back of those trucks be covered, many drivers said stuff is constantly flying out.

"It’s definitely happening more," Michael Fisher, an insurance agent with State Farm Insurance, said. State Farm Insurance, which is Virginia’s number one insurance provider, said windshield claims have shot up in the state, from 27,000 in 2013 to 32,000 in 2014. Fisher said claims are on track to rise again this year. Even Fisher said he had to replace two windshields in the past year.

"I’m a living example of what is happening, we’re getting a lot of windshield claims," Fisher said. "We get three to four windshield claims every day."

Rodney Inge, with Bullzeye Glass, repairs and replaces windshields all over Central Virginia. He said more potholes, combined with hail storms and road debris are main culprits.

"Last month or two our repairs have been up a lot," Inge said.

Recently, Inge repaired three chips in Juliette Olivia’s windshield.

Windshield 02

"I was going up 64 west on my way to work and one of those gravel trucks spewing rocks everywhere and hit my windshield," Olivia said. "I didn’t know how to deal with the insurance."

While Olivia’s insurance covered the claim, Inge said many of his customers do not have the type of insurance that covers broken windshields.

Insurance salesman Fisher advised drivers make sure their insurance covers the glass in your car and encouraged drivers stay away from construction trucks. Easier said than done, upset driver Patricia Ward said.

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"I was stuck behind a dump truck and here come the rocks and I can’t get over yet and I took another chip to my 4Runner, and I was so frustrated," Ward said. "In my entire adult life as long, as I’ve had car insurance, never had to replace a windshield until I moved to Richmond."

The experience left Ward frustrated enough to contact the dump truck’s owner, but she said they refused to cover her claim.

“Because I didn’t report the incident to the police, they weren’t going to cover it,” Ward said.

Sergeant Stephan Vick, a spokesperson for Virginia State Police, said if something damages your windshield, you should call VSP.

He said depending on the circumstances, the trooper may take a report, or may just advise the driver to call their insurance company and the company responsible.

Vick also said if you spot a truck losing its load, call #77 to report the time, date, location, truck description, and licensed plate number.

VSP will then broadcast that information to their troopers to be on the lookout.

A CBS 6 viewer sent u video he captured with his dash camera that shows a rock falling off a dump truck and hitting his windshield.

He said that video proof led to the company covering his claim.

Ward, though, said without a dash camera that is difficult.

“It’s very hard to prove without me putting my vehicle at risk, the other vehicle’s around me at risk by doing all of the things that are against the law like getting my phone out,” Ward said.

Ward said she recently changed her insurance so her glass deductible was a zero deductible.

"It’s been a really smart move because we would have spent hundreds of dollars at this point," she said.



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