Does your Auto Insurance Cover a Cracked Windshield?

1. Do you have liability, comprehensive, or collision coverage on your vehicle?

The type of policy you have on your vehicle will determine if you have coverage for glass repairs. 

If you only carry liability on your vehicle, your insurance will not cover any repairs on your car, including glass. A liability-only policy will only cover damage done to another car or other property damaged in an accident that you cause.

If you carry collision coverage on your vehicle, your glass is covered if you cause a collision with someone or something else.

If you carry comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, your glass is covered if something falls on your car and damages your windshield or other windows. For instance, if a tree branch falls on your car, you’d be covered. Or, if someone throws a rock through one of your windows, your insurance would cover repairs.

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.

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Should I Use This Coverage if I Have It?

It may be worth using your insurance coverage if the cost to repair or replace the damage on your windshield is more than your deductible. If you have full glass coverage, you typically won’t pay a deductible to fix a cracked windshield. 

Repairing windshield damage is generally less expensive than replacing one. Repair costs vary depending on the extent of damage to the glass. The average cost to repair a windshield crack is about $60 to $100 for a chip and $125 or more for longer cracks. 

Windshield replacement costs will depend on a number of factors, including your vehicle type, the type of glass used, and your location. Replacements often range from $250 to about $450 or more.

Filing a windshield damage claim won’t necessarily impact your premium. Insurance companies take a number of factors into account when they change your insurance rates, including whether you were at fault and the number of your previous claims. 

5. Should you turn in a claim if your windshield is damaged or pay for it out of pocket?

If you don’t have an auto glass endorsement on your policy, you’ll want to weigh how much it will cost to repair or replace your windshield with your deductible amount. 

If the claim is greater than your deductible, it makes sense to turn in a claim.

If the claim is less than your deductible, you should hold off on filing a claim. 

Deductibles

Most comprehensive coverage policies come with deductibles that you have to pay first before the insurer will offer any compensation. While there are instances in which you can opt for no deductible, that will drastically increase the cost of your premiums. In turn, the higher your deductible is, the lower your premiums will be, so keep that in mind when deciding on the best policy for you.

Fortunately, comprehensive insurance coverage for glass damage works a bit differently than coverage for other kinds of damage. Even if you have a standard deductible in place, it’s possible to find policies in which glass damage is exempt. According to Value Penguin, however, it’s important to make sure that all your glass is covered. You may find policies that only cover side windows without a deductible and not your front windshield, for example.

In some states, it is legally mandated that insurance companies cannot apply a deductible to windshield repair, so be sure to check your local laws to see whether that’s the case where you live. Keep in mind that if you’re outside of those states, you won’t necessarily have to deal with a deductible, as no-deductible options are likely still available for glass repair. The widespread availability of no-deductible glass repair coverage is also what makes options like Gorilla Glass slow to catch on.

How long does a windshield replacement take?

Windshield replacements can take up to 60 minutes to complete, but the time to complete one could be longer depending on the complexity. Also, you may need a 10- to 24-hour waiting period before driving the vehicle depending on how long it takes the sealant to dry. 

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.

How to know if my windshield needs to be repaired or replaced?

This is one of the most important questions that comes to our mind after checking the damage caused to our windshield. You will have to consider different factors like the impact of the damage on the visibility of the driver, the dimension of the damage, and the threat imposed on driving ability.

If the damage is caused on the other side of the windshield outside the visibility area of the driver then you can get it repaired. But if the damage is huge and can cause distraction then replacement is the best option.

Below are some situations where replacement is better than repair:

  • There are several other small repairs on the windshield
  • The size of the damage is larger than 6 inches
  • The damage is directly in the line of the driver’s vision
  • The damage has caused a puncture on the windshield and you can feel the wind coming into the car while driving

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 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.

Does my insurance policy cover broken glass?

Broken glass is generally handled under your Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage, which is usually subject to a deductible. Log into your auto insurance policy and see if you have Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage.

How to file a claim for windshield damage

To file a claim for a windshield replacement, you should assess the extent of the damage first. A good rule of thumb suggests that if a crack on the glass is at least six inches long, a complete windshield replacement is more prudent.

Smaller chips or cracks could be repaired by a vehicle glass professional without removing the entire windshield. If you doubt whether you should repair or replace a windshield, your insurance company or a glass specialist will be able to tell you.

Time is of the essence if your windshield is damaged. Even a small chip or crack could quickly spread. And the damage to the glass could affect the strength and integrity of the entire windshield. To file a windshield claim:

  • Photograph and measure the damage to determine whether a repair is enough.
  • File a claim online, over the phone or by visiting your local insurance agent.
  • Provide the photos or size of the damage to your claims adjuster.
  • Choose a glass and windshield specialist from the available options your insurance company provides. You may need to take your vehicle to a facility, although many companies have a mobile windshield service that comes to you.

Windshield Insurance FAQ

Does insurance cover windshield replacement? If yes then which part of car insurance covers the windshield? Yes, your car insurance will cover windshield replacement. Comprehensive car insurance provides windshield coverage for all drivers. All you have to show is proof of your comprehensive policy and you will get the claim. Do I have to pay for the deductible in windshield coverage? Yes, you will have to pay for the deductibles while applying for a windshield repair or replacement coverage. But this also depends on your car insurance company. There are some companies that ask for deductibles on major repairs or replacements. On the other hand, there are companies that ask for deductibles on all the repairs no matter how small the claim is. How does windshield replacement insurance work in Geico? Geico provides windshield replacement as a part of the company’s comprehensive insurance. If you are at fault in the accident then your collision policy will cover the damages but if you are not at fault in the accident then the other driver’s insurance company will pay for the replacement. In most of the states, Geico requires a deductible in case of full windshield replacement. Should I use insurance to replace the windshield? If yes then will my insurance premium go up after I claim for windshield repair or replacement? It depends on the deductible you are paying. If the deductible amount is equivalent to windshield replacement then there is no need of filing a claim. And in most situations, your insurance company will not increase your claim after a windshield repair or replacement as it comes under comprehensive coverage. Does the USAA insurance company provide windshield coverage? Yes, USAA covers windshield replacements and repairs under comprehensive as well as collision insurance. The company wives deductibles in case of repairs but for full replacement, you will have to pay the deductibles. How much is the approximate cost to replace a windshield without insurance? There are a lot of different factors that affect the cost of replacing the windshield like the model of the car, availability of the windshield, type of accident, etc. On average, the windshield replacement cost goes between $150 to $500. Can I drive with a Cracked Windshield? For most drivers, a cracked windshield is not much of a big deal and they prefer ignoring it but it is important to note that in most of the states it is illegal to drive with a cracked windshield as you will be putting other’s lives in danger too. Moreover; the windshield is to protect you from flying debris and a cracked windshield can get shattered or broken more easily and cause injuries. How do I know if my insurance covers windshield replacement? If you have comprehensive, collision, or full coverage insurance then you have windshield replacement. It is better to confirm it with your insurance company at the time of buying or renewing your policy.

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Editorial Guidelines: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of auto insurance. This information does not refer to any specific auto insurance policy. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. References to costs of coverages/repair, average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, etc., are indicative and may not apply to your situation. We encourage you to speak to our insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.

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