One Person’s Rescue Is Another’s Repair: Hot Cars Send Jobs to Auto Glass Shops

Every summer, stories of pets or children rescued from hot vehicles flood local news outlets and social media platforms. The stories almost invariably follow the same pattern: someone needs to run into a business for a couple of minutes, and they leave their pet or child locked in their car. A couple of minutes turns into too many, and the temperature in the vehicle rises dangerously high.

Bystanders or first responders frequently break the car’s window to get to the trapped animal or kid. What happens when that vehicle ends up at your auto glass shop needing new glass? Do the circumstances behind the damage complicate the job?

Quackt Glass’ president, Patricia Smiley, isn’t a stranger to these types of jobs. With its headquarters in South Carolina and locations in both North and South Carolina, Smiley says the summertime heat makes rescues from hot vehicles common. Though the work may not differ from any other case of broken glass, payment and insurance claims could require more diligence.

“My stance is, I always make sure I get paid,” she says.

According to Smiley, the key to this is establishing and verifying who is paying for the work before the job starts.

Sometimes, in a situation where someone, such as a private citizen, a tow company, or another vendor, breaks a window in a rescue, the person or company who broke the window sometimes offers to pay for the repair. Smiley says she always checks this information.

“We physically call the vendor, we get a card number, and we verify that they are indeed taking charges before we do anything,” she says. “If not, we’ll send the customer right back and say, ‘Hey, you need to take this up with [the vendor]; they weren’t willing to give us a card number. Call us back when you get it figured out. Here’s your quote number, and we’d still love to take care of you.’”

Sometimes, first responders break auto glass in a rescue, meaning they have to foot the bill.

“Sometimes fire departments will pay for it if they had to break [the glass] out,” Smiley says. “Or they made a mistake and broke the window when they didn’t mean to. So sometimes you’ll see fire departments pay for them.”

Though every shop owner needs to check the laws in their state, Smiley says in South Carolina, the vehicle owner’s insurance will always cover “glass with no additional damage” at a zero-deductible. If the other party involved in the incident doesn’t cover the damage, Smiley and Quackt Glass can rely on the owner’s insurance payment.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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