Does Your Insurance Cover a Cracked Windshield?

Does Car Insurance Cover a Cracked Windshield?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your ca Cracked windshields are a common issue. The truth is, it’s impossible to keep your glass 100% protected on the road. Small rocks or pieces of gravel can bounce up and hit your windshield, causing a chip or crack in your window. When this happens, the first thing you probably think is, “does insurance cover a cracked windshield?”If you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, filing a glass claim may help repair or replace your cracked windshield if the damage came from a rock, hail or tree branch. Full auto glass car insurance covers you from many causes of windshield damage, and you might not even have to pay a deductible.

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. 

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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.

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 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.

Should I Have My Windshield Repaired or Replaced?

You might have been asking yourself, “Will my insurance cover windshield repair?” Usually, the better question to start with is whether you can repair it at all or if you’ll need auto glass replacement instead.

Luckily, when you call your insurance company to tell them about the issue, they’ll send a professional to take a look at your vehicle. They’ll be able to tell right away whether a repair or replacement would work best for your specific scenario.

In general, cracks that are less than 3 inches in length and don’t obscure the driver’s line of vision can be repaired. Each state may also have its own guidelines about which types of cracks can be repaired without requiring a replacement windshield. But if you’d like a general idea before your technician arrives, here is some information on the different types of cracks and chips your windshield can sustain:

  • Stress crack. These typically occur from extreme temperature fluctuations. For example, if your car gets covered in ice during the winter and then warms up in the heat of the sun, you might experience a stress crack. They are more common along the edge of a window because there is no impact point.
  • Floater crack. This can be any type of crack that doesn’t extend to the edge of the window. Once a floater crack reaches within 2 inches of the edge of the windshield, you’ll probably need a replacement.
  • Crack chip. A crack ship is a small gauge in your window from a rock or other particle. Usually, you’ll notice an impact point with one or more cracks radiating outward. Short cracks are less than 6 inches in length, long cracks are more than 6 inches, and edge cracks extend to the edge of the windshield.
  • Star break. This is when the point of impact creates a series of legs that radiate from the break, causing the cracks to go in several directions. While these can usually be filled, you’ll probably still be able to see faint traces of it.
  • Bullseye crack. This unique formation has a cone in the outer layer of glass that creates a darker circle where the impact took place. Unfortunately, these types of cracks are harder to repair, so you may need a windshield replacement if this happens to you.
  • Combination crack. A combination crack is just like it sounds — a mix of one or more of the types of cracks and chips listed above. Having multiple cracks can make the windshield harder to repair, so you’ll usually need a replacement in this instance.

Repairing the glass will always cost less than replacement. If you’re paying out of pocket, you’ll most likely want to use the less expensive option. If your insurance covers it, they’ll probably be the ones to decide whether to repair or replace it. Typically, they’ll go with the least expensive viable option.

Regardless of whether you have your windshield repaired or replaced, the process should only take about 30 minutes. That means you’ll be back on the road in no time!

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.

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:  

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.

Which types of auto insurance help cover windshield repairs or replacement?

If your windshield is damaged in a non-accident, two types of auto coverage may help cover the cost of repair or replacement.

  • Comprehensive insurance: This type of insurance is optional, but your lender may require you to have it if you finance or lease your vehicle.
  • Full glass coverage: This type of coverage may cover windshield repairs or replacement without a deductible. Some insurance companies offer this type of coverage as part of your comprehensive insurance or as an optional add-on — but it may not be available in all states.

If your windshield is damaged in a car accident caused by another driver, their property damage liability insurance will likely cover your windshield repairs or replacement in most states.

Types of auto insurance: What coverage do I need?

How much can repairing or replacing the glass on a cracked windshield cost?

Cracks in windshields generally cost anywhere between $100 to $400 to fix at auto repair shops. Assuming that the crack is less than 6 inches and the whole windshield doesn’t need replacing, you would be looking at a cost of around $120.

This price tends to be the average for resin repairs regardless of car make and model. It’s when the entire windshield needs to be replaced that you may see an increase in the bill by at least $200. For high-end luxury cars, the bill can be anywhere from $500 to $900. It helps not to file an insurance claim when your deductible is equal to or greater than the windshield cost.

Another way to save money is to consider getting a replacement windshield, just not from your car’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM). If you opt for OEM glass, your insurance company is not required to pay the extra cost. The original maker parts may be higher in price.

Non-OEM windshields are just as high of quality. Even the keenest eyes aren’t able to tell them apart. What’s more, your insurance covers the entire cost. There’s also a possibility of you fixing the windshield crack yourself with $8 to $15 repair kits.

It seems like windshield insurance really depends on who and where. Is that all worth it just to fix a crack?

Indeed, many factors play into whether your insurance would completely cover you in the event of a cracked windshield. For the most part, comprehensive insurance is your go-to in the event of a non-fault windshield break, and they happen from time to time.

States like South Carolina, Florida, and Kentucky all passed that requirement of waiving deductibles because it encourages people to fix a safety hazard problem. That’s why it’s all worth it. Because a cracked windshield isn’t a cosmetic issue, it’s a safety issue.

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