Does Car Insurance Cover a Cracked Windshield?

Step 1: Start your claim

To start an auto glass claim through the ERIEGlassSM program, call (800) 552-3743, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To get started right away, file your claim online.

If you have other damage to your car, contact your agent or call ERIE at (800) 367-3743.

Which States Replace Windshields for Free?

You may be wondering, “does insurance cover windshield replacement in my state?” All state car insurance requirements and laws are different. There are three states that do not allow insurance companies to charge a deductible for windshield repairs and replacement even if you don’t have full auto glass coverage.These states are referred to as zero-deductible states with free windshield replacement. Insurance companies in these states cannot charge a deductible for glass replacement or repair:  


What Causes Damage to a Car’s Windshield?

Pretty much any object that can come into contact with your windshield could cause a chip or a crack. Here are some common scenarios:

  • Gravel and road debris. When driving behind other vehicles, it’s a good idea to keep a safe distance to prevent gravel and other road debris from hitting your windshield.
  • Hail. A severe thunderstorm can drop hail that’s between a quarter to a golf ball in size with falling speeds between 25 to 40 miles per hour, which can chip, crack and break your windshield.
  • Debris from parking under trees. Broken branches can cause chips and cracks to your windshield.
  • Poor quality or installation. If your windshield was manufactured with poor quality, it could be more likely to chip or crack. If it was installed improperly, it could vibrate in the frame at higher speeds, which could cause possible damage.
  • Accidents. External pressure from car accidents could cause your windshield to crack. Other types of accidents, like a neighborhood kid tossing an errant baseball, also pose a threat.
  • Temperature. Sudden fluctuations and extreme temperatures can put stress on the glass and cause damage. Direct sunlight can heat the outer edges and cause the glass to expand faster than the center, which can cause the glass to crack.

Will the Claim Affect Your Premium?

Depending on where you live and on your specific policy, a deductible might not even apply. Some states require that for windshield repair, insurance companies cannot apply a deductible. Even outside of states with this requirement, your policy might not include a deductible for glass repair, so check your policy or talk to your agent to be sure.

Regardless, though, you’ll also want to consider the impact a claim will have on your rates. If you were in an accident that you caused, you might see a spike in your rates, as you’ll be considered a riskier driver.

In most cases, if the window damage wasn’t caused by a collision, it won’t affect your rates. This isn’t a universal rule, though, so check the details of your policy.

Does Car Insurance Cover a Windshield Replacement?

What if your windshield is completely totaled and you need a replacement? Does car insurance cover a broken windshield? Luckily, when you have car insurance, a windshield replacement is usually covered as long as it meets certain requirements.

Naturally, your car insurance will recommend that you first repair any windshield when it’s safe to do so. That’s because it’s usually cheaper than a full replacement.

However, if your windshield has large cracks or has cracks that obstruct the driver’s line of vision, your comprehensive policy or windshield protection plan will cover the costs. Just like with a cracked windshield, you may need to decide whether or not it’s the most cost-effective for you to use insurance or pay out of pocket.

Cost of a Windshield Replacement

The average cost to replace a windshield is $350, according to the National Windshield Repair Division. Unfortunately, though, this range can vary even more than the cost of repairing cracks. Factors that affect the cost of a new windshield include:

  • Sensors and other technology. Many newer cars contain important sensors and other technology. These must also be replaced with glass, drastically increasing costs by several hundred dollars. Therefore, you may find it’s cheaper to get replacement glass in your older vehicle.
  • Classic cars. That said, not all older cars have cheap windshield replacements. Classic cars may require custom windshields because they aren’t a standard size.
  • Tinted glass. Do you want tinted or special glass? If so, this will cost you more than standard auto glass.
  • Luxury vehicle. Certain makes, like Mercedes Benz and Lexus, require special glass straight from the manufacturer. This increases the cost of glass.
  • Front or back windshield. Usually, it’s your front windshield that takes the brunt of any damage. But if your back windshield needs to be replaced, it can be a little cheaper because you usually don’t have to worry about the wiper assembly.
  • OEM glass. Using an aftermarket windshield can greatly lower the cost of a replacement. However, using OEM glass provides higher quality.

Replacing vs. Repairing Your Windshield

That tiny rock might have only made a small chip in your windshield, but if you don’t get it taken care of, it could become a bigger problem. A chip or crack can block your vision when driving and can become a much larger crack quickly.See a windshield specialist as soon as possible. They can help you determine whether your windshield needs to be replaced or if they can do a glass repair. If the crack is shorter than a dollar bill, the specialist may be able to repair the cracked windshield.If you do need your windshield replaced, you can get it replaced with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) glass or get an aftermarket automotive windshield. OEM glass is the same type of glass that was originally installed into your car. This glass is manufactured following your car maker’s regulations.Aftermarket automotive windshields are made by manufacturers that don’t have contracts with your automaker. This means they don’t have to follow certain guidelines that regulate glass thickness, durability or color.

Filing a Claim

There are numerous considerations to keep in mind before filing a claim for glass damage, but it’s typically not as severe as filing a claim after an at-fault accident. A cracked windshield caused by something like flying road debris or a stray baseball doesn’t implicate you as someone of risk, so you won’t see your premiums go up in response. Just keep in mind that deciding to file when you have a deductible is primarily a financial concern. If the cost of repairs exceeds your deductible, you’ll probably want to file.

If you can’t afford your deductible, you’ll be in a tight spot. Driving with a cracked windshield is risky. Not only does it make driving itself more dangerous, but you could get a ticket if a police officer catches you. Fortunately, it may be possible to find a private glass company in your area that’s happy to waive part of your deductible. They often need the business, according to The Balance, so you can expect to find a company that’s eager to help because they can still profit after covering part of your deductible.

Comprehensive Coverage

The key to ensuring that you have coverage for a cracked windshield is having comprehensive insurance. The vast majority of cases will be covered under your comprehensive policy, but you have to have a comprehensive policy in the first place. It’s an optional addition to your policy that’s not legally required in any state. Typically, it’s coupled with collision insurance and covers any damage that can happen to your vehicle due to what are called acts of God.

Value Penguin explains that there are several common occurrences that comprehensive coverage protects you from, but essentially any damage that falls outside of collision coverage could potentially be covered. Some of the most common causes of cracked windshields that comprehensive coverage would protect you from include the following:

  • A falling tree branch

  • A flying baseball

  • Road debris

  • An animal

  • Vandalism

  • Snow

  • Hail

Should I use insurance to replace my windshield?

In general, it’s worth filing a claim for glass or windshield damage if the repair cost is higher than your car insurance deductible. For example, if your windshield replacement costs $400 and your deductible is $250, you’ll only pay $250, and your insurer will pick up the remaining $150.

Does filing a windshield claim affect my insurance premium?

This varies between car insurance companies. Talk to your insurer for more details.

Will Filing a Glass Claim Raise my Insurance Rates?

Whether a glass claim can affect your future car insurance rates depends on your insurance company. Generally, a glass claim to repair or replace your windshield shouldn’t have much of an impact (if any) on your car insurance rates. But if you have multiple glass claims over a short period of time, it could impact your rates at renewal time. For example, if you have more than three glass claims over a three year period.

A history with multiple car insurance claims could also catch up with you if you want to switch insurance companies. That’s because insurers report claims to a database that other insurance companies review when you apply for a policy. Generally, insurers see multiple claims as an increased risk, which could translate to higher premiums.

But the good news is that you can shop around and compare auto insurance quotes no matter what your claims track record is.

Related: Cheapest Car Insurance

Can glass damage be repaired?

If you have a chip or crack on your windshield that is smaller than a dollar bill, it could be repairable. Benefits of repairing your windshield include:

  • If you have the appropriate coverage, GEICO will waive your deductible when you have your glass repaired
  • The repair process only takes about 30 minutes
  • Repairing your windshield leaves the original factory-installed seal in place
  • Windshield repair leaves only a slight blemish that will become less noticeable over time

This material is intended for general information only. It does not expand coverage beyond the policy contract. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.