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Researchers find severity of glass claims has increased, and so has the cost to replace sunroofs.

Posted in News

Panoramic Sunroofs Are Affecting Glass Insurance Claims
Researchers find severity of glass claims has increased, and so has the cost to replace sunroofs.

— Panoramic sunroof replacement costs are rising while the severity of vehicle glass claims increased 27 percent since 2010. Panoramic glass covers the roof with single or multiple panels of glass and some allow a user to slide a section of the glass as in traditional sunroofs.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports as the severity of glass claims has risen, overall losses increased by 39 percent.

Common sense dictates the more glass a vehicle has, the more glass there is to break, and panoramic sunroofs would qualify as a lot more glass.

According to IIHS, glass losses are about two-thirds of all claims filed under comprehensive coverage but comprise just 14 percent of payouts under that coverage, typically about $350 to settle a claim.

Although IIHS says the research is limited, investigators wanted to know if the rise in the severity of glass claims could be seen in 2014-2015 Kia Sorentos and 2016 Kia Sportage SUVs.

Researchers got their answer when they determined glass losses for Kia SUVs with sunroofs were "significantly higher" than Kia SUVs without panoramic sunroofs. The frequency of glass claims for vehicles with standard panoramic roofs was 10 percent higher than for vehicles without such roofs.

Glass claim severity was 26 percent higher and overall losses were 39 percent higher. In comparison to vehicles without available panoramic sunroofs, the frequency of glass claims was 5 percent higher for vehicles with optional panoramic sunroofs and claim severity was 20 percent higher.

Additionally, overall losses were 26 percent higher.

IIHS says research into this aspect of glass insurance claims will increase as more data comes in, but many drivers with panoramic sunroofs can attest to the high cost of glass replacement.

Those drivers also know of the possible troubles of getting automakers to pay for glass replacements as policies typically have exclusions for glass breakage.

As panoramic sunroofs have become more commonplace, so have class-action lawsuits filed by angry owners. Volkswagen is currently fighting claims its panoramic sunroofs shatter because they are defective, and Nissan owners report they paid hundreds of dollars to replace shattered glass.

In addition, shattered sunroofs have caused multiple automakers to wind up in court, including BMW, Hyundai, Ford, Lexus and Kia.


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