Does Car Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?

Does Your Insurance Cover Windshield Damage?

Standard liability insurance won’t cover windshield damage or other forms of glass damage. You’ll need to carry additional coverage to pay for windshield damage caused by perils such as flying debris. 

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage reimburses you for costs to repair damage to your vehicle that isn’t a result of a collision. This includes vandalism, theft, flood, hail, windstorm, or accidents caused by animals. Glass loss makes up nearly two-thirds of claims filed under comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage will only pay for windshield damage if you added the coverage to your auto policy before the incident occurred. You may also have to pay a deductible on your auto insurance to file a windshield-damage claim. 

Comprehensive coverage waives your deductible for repairs. If your windshield needs replacement, you may have to pay a deductible. 

Full Glass Coverage

Full glass coverage, also known as windshield insurance or windshield repair insurance, is an optional add-on to your auto insurance policy. Most insurance carriers let you add full glass coverage to your auto coverage for an extra cost. 

With full glass coverage, you don’t pay a deductible to repair or replace damaged auto glass. Depending on your state’s policies, you can sometimes add this coverage to a comprehensive insurance policy.

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When car insurance does not cover your windshield?

  • The first and most basic situation where you can never get coverage for the windshield is if you do not have comprehensive or collision insurance. If you are driving only on liability coverage then you can not ask for windshield insurance.
  • Secondly, If the damage is caused by you intentionally. Your insurance company will inspect the entire accident and then only will accept your claim. If you fail to prove that the windshield was damaged by accident then your comprehensive or collision insurance will not work.
  • Thirdly, if we were driving under the influence at the time of the accident. Driving under the influence is also considered intentional harm as a result the company will not provide any claim money for the repair or replacement of the windshield.

Deductibles and Windshield Glass Claims

When you buy auto insurance, you choose a deductible, which is the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket before your insurer pays for a covered claim. Depending on the type of glass damage coverage you have, you may or may not need to meet your deductible before your insurer pays out the claim. 

Your insurer may require you to pay a deductible for replacing your windshield using comprehensive coverage. The deductible could be waived if you only need to repair windshield damage. In contrast, full glass coverage typically waives your deductible on both repair and replacement. 

If the cost to fix windshield damage is less than your deductible, you probably don’t need to file a claim because you could settle out-of-pocket for the same cost. Remember, when you choose a lower deductible, you’ll pay a higher premium. 

Some states prohibit insurance companies from charging you a deductible for windshield repair and replacement even if you don’t carry full glass coverage. 

Do You Have to Pay a Deductible for a Windshield Claim?

Comprehensive insurance typically includes a deductible, which is the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket if you file a claim. Common deductible amounts are often between $250 to $1,000. For example, if you have a $500 deductible and it costs $250 to replace your glass, the cost of replacement is less than your deductible amount, meaning you would have to pay for the replacement yourself.

Some insurance companies sell full glass coverage or “zero deductible” option for glass replacement, which is an option separate from your comprehensive deductible. This option will cost you extra, but it could save you in the long run if you have a high deductible such as $1,000 deductible (or more).

A few states have “zero deductible” mandates that say auto insurance companies cannot apply a deductible for comprehensive insurance glass claims. For example, Florida statute 627.7288 says that a deductible for comprehensive coverage does not apply to motor vehicle glass.

What should I do if my insurance doesn’t cover glass damage?

If your car insurance doesn’t cover windshield replacement or glass damage, you should still get the repairs done. Many states have laws against driving with a cracked windshield. Plus, you’re putting yourself and your passengers at greater risk. Not only is it harder to see out of a cracked windshield, but it’s also more likely to shatter if something else hits it.

Does every car insurance cover windshield damage?

In most situations comprehensive or collision car insurance covers windshield damage. If your car is damaged because of a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian or even an animal then collision coverage will pay for the windshield. For example, you wanted to save a puppy on the road and get collided with a tree or fence.

If your car is damaged in natural calamity or vandalism then comprehensive coverage will come into the picture. Comprehensive insurance covers situations that are not in our control like hailstorms, volcanic eruptions, a tree branch falling on your car, etc. If your car is damaged because of a natural calamity or situation that is out of your hands then your car insurance company will pay for the windshield damage or replacement.

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.

Do I Need To Get My Damaged Windshield Repaired or Replaced?

If your windshield has the following damage, consider having a professional look at it and determine whether it should be repaired or replaced:

  • More than three cracks or chips on the glass
  • Damage at the edge of the windshield
  • Damage that obstructs your line of vision
  • Tiny divots that cover an older windshield

Even if the damage appears minor, it’s a good idea to get it checked out. Vibration from driving can cause cracks to spread and grow larger.

Your windshield plays an essential role in the structural integrity of your car and its overall strength, according to the National Highway Transportation Administration. For example, testing has shown that windshields provide some crush resistance in rollover-crashes.

In some states, your car will not pass state inspection if your car has windshield damage. For example, in Texas your car will fail inspection if the windshield damage blocks visibility or if it affects your windshield wipers.

In other states, it may be illegal to operate the car if windshield damage impairs your vision. For example, section 26710 of the California Vehicle Code says an inspection officer can direct you to make repairs within 48 hours and could require you to show a court evidence that your windshield has been brought up to code.

4. What will it cost to add a glass endorsement to your policy?

For most policies, it’s very reasonable to add a glass endorsement to the policy. 

For instance, my coworker added a glass endorsement to her policy which covers two vehicles.  The cost was an additional $21 each year. These vehicles do not have cameras or sensors that impact the windshield. 

On the other hand, another coworker added a glass endorsement to his policy which covers three vehicles. One of those vehicles is a newer model Subaru with sensors and cameras that are affected by the windshield. The cost to add a glass endorsement to his policy was $67 a year. 

That coworker got an estimate to replace his cracked windshield. The online estimate was almost $1,000.  

Even at $60 or $70 a year, you may find that it benefits you to add the coverage when you might be looking at hundreds of dollars for a windshield repair or replacement.

The pricing to add a glass endorsement will heavily depend on the types of vehicles on your policy and how many cars are listed on the policy. If you have a newer car, paying for a glass endorsement may cost more but still might be worth it.

Does auto insurance cover rock chips?

A rock chip happens when a small rock or object nicks your windshield and causes a small chip in the glass. Your comprehensive coverage should cover this type of damage. Since rock chips can spread into larger cracks, it’s best to get them fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your glass or windshield.

6. Your windshield was damaged. What are your next steps?

If you get a chip or crack in your windshield, you need to repair it right away. Chips and cracks often turn into bigger cracks when they are left unrepaired. A minor repair will cost less than a total replacement.

If you don’t have an auto glass endorsement and the damage on your windshield is under six inches, some insurance companies will waive your deductible to have the windshield fixed. Ask your insurance agent how your insurance company handles glass claims.

You will also need to check with your insurance agent about where to have your glass repaired. Most insurance companies partner with a glass repair company. Your insurance agent can help you set up the repair with the correct repair shop.

If you have to pay a deductible to have your windshield repaired or replaced, you should get multiple estimates and do some comparison shopping. Like I noted earlier, often, a windshield repair will cost less than the amount 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

Frequently asked questions

Does my insurance cover windshield replacement?

Most auto insurers cover windshield replacement if you have comprehensive coverage on your policy. In some cases, deductibles are waived for windshield repairs. However, if you need to fully replace the windshield, you will likely be responsible for paying your comprehensive deductible, unless you live in a “zero deductible state”.

Should I replace or repair my damaged windshield?

The best way to decide whether a glass repair is enough is by measuring the damage. If it is smaller than six inches, repairing the windshield may be all you need to do. But if the damage is larger than six inches, the glass could be rendered unsafe, and a new windshield might be the better option. Contact a glass repair specialist for guidance if you have any doubts about whether your windshield should be repaired or replaced.

How much does full car insurance cost?

Full coverage car insurance is more expensive than minimum coverage, but it offers the optional comprehensive and collision coverage that you need to help cover your vehicle’s damage. The annual average cost of car insurance for full coverage car insurance is $1,674 per year.

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