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You don’t want to mess around with a cracked, broken or pitted windshield. It’s an underrated component of your car that has a multifunctional use.
Not only does a windshield keep wind, water and road debris out of your face, it also helps keep you safe in car accidents. A windshield also keeps objects from entering your vehicle and helps support the roof in case your car rolls over. Your windshield additionally plays a critical role in airbag deployment.
If you have a damaged windshield, it’s a good idea to get it looked at and repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Fortunately, if you have the right type of car insurance, you can tap into your coverage to offset these costs.
Should I Use Insurance to Replace My Windshield?
Whether you should file a car insurance claim for a damaged windshield depends on the damage, your deductible and how much it would cost to repair the window.
If you live in a zero-deductible state, you won’t have a deductible for windshield repair or replacement, so you will likely want to get it repaired and have insurance cover the costs.
If you’re not in a zero-deductible state, check your car insurance policy’s deductible. It could be wise to get an estimate to see how much the repair would cost you. If you find not much of a difference between your deductible and the repairs, you may want to pay for the repairs yourself.
Does Car Insurance Cover Windshield Damage?
The type of car insurance that covers a damaged windshield can vary by how the damage occurred. Let’s take a look at three types of coverage that can help.
The comprehensive insurance portion of your auto insurance policy typically covers windshield damage claims. This insurance type covers damage from problems like theft, fire, flood, hail, falling objects (like a tree branch) and collisions with animals. Comprehensive insurance is an optional coverage but is usually required if you have a car loan.
Comprehensive insurance costs an average of $339 a year, according to Forbes Advisor’s analysis of comprehensive rates with a $500 deductible.
Collision insurance is optional coverage that generally covers a cracked windshield if it was damaged during a crash.
Collision insurance costs an average of $788 a year, according to Forbes Advisor’s research of collision rates with a $500 deductible.
Full glass coverage
Some insurance companies sell full glass coverage or offer a “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 (or more).
Do You Have to Pay a Deductible for a Windshield Claim?
Comprehensive and collision insurance typically have a deductible, which is the amount subtracted from your insurance check for a claim. But with glass repair or replacement claims, you may pay the deductible amount to the repair shop. 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.
A few states have “zero deductible” laws that say auto insurance companies cannot apply a deductible for comprehensive insurance glass claims. For example, Florida car insurance law (state statute 627.7288) says that a deductible for comprehensive coverage does not apply to motor vehicle glass. Other states with zero deductibles for glass repair are Kentucky and South Carolina.
How To File a Claim for Windshield Damage
Filing a windshield damage claim requires notifying your insurance company as soon as possible. Insurers may allow you to contact them via phone or online.
The insurance company may want to know how it was damaged and request photos of the damage.
Your insurance company may ask you to go to a repair shop on its list, while others may be more flexible.
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.
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, including California, 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.
Does Filing a Windshield Claim Increase Your Insurance?
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 (for example, three in a year), it could impact your rates at renewal time.
A history with multiple car insurance claims could also catch up with you if you want to switch car 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 car insurance quotes no matter what your claims track record is.
What Is the Process of Getting My Windshield Repaired or Replaced?
If you want to use your car insurance to get your windshield repaired or replaced, follow these steps.
- Notify your insurance company. Start a new claim online or by phone. You will need to provide details about the damage to your windshield, such as when it occurred.
- Choose an auto glass shop. Your insurance company may provide a network of shops to choose from or you might be able to select your own. If you choose a shop not recommended by your insurer, check that the price the shop charges for windshield service will be fully covered by your insurance.
- Pay your deductible. If you have a deductible for windshield repair or replacement, you may need to pay this amount directly to the auto glass shop. Or, you might choose to pay the entire service bill and seek reimbursement from your insurance company. To avoid not being fully reimbursed, be sure to discuss the projected repair costs with your insurer before getting any work done.
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Car Insurance For Windshield Repair FAQ
Does car insurance pay for a cracked windshield?
Yes, depending on the type of car insurance you have and how the damage occurred. If your windshield is damaged by falling objects, vandalism, severe weather, theft or a collision with an animal, you would file a comprehensive insurance claim.
If your windshield is damaged in a car accident, you can use your collision insurance. If another driver causes an accident that damages your windshield, the other driver’s liability insurance can pay to repair or replace your windshield.
How much does it cost to repair a windshield without insurance?
It costs about $60 to $100 to repair a single chip in a windshield, according to AAA. A chip or crack that is smaller than a quarter or a few inches in length is generally repairable. Larger chips and cracks could cost more to fix.
How much does it cost to replace a windshield without insurance?
The average cost to replace a windshield without insurance is $250, according to Glass America. But it could cost as much as $1,500, depending on your car’s make and model and the labor required.
A study done by AAA in 16 U.S. cities found that a replacement windshield for a Honda Accord costs between $250 and $300. A BMW X6 windshield replacement costs between $350 and $450.
If your car has advanced driver assistance systems, you can expect an even higher cost. For example, if your car has a safety camera positioned behind the windshield, it could require a recalibration, which typically costs about $1,500, according to a 2018 AAA study.
What if my windshield is damaged by a hail storm?
A severe thunderstorm can drop hailstones that range in size from peas to grapefruits. If you want the right car insurance for hail damage, you’ll need comprehensive insurance on your auto policy. Comprehensive insurance also helps pay to repair car-body damage caused by hail storms.
What if I can’t drive my car because of a broken windshield?
If you can’t safely drive because of a broken windshield or a crack that obstructs your vision, you may need to get your car towed to a shop or your home. If you have roadside assistance insurance, you can use your coverage to get a tow.
In some cases, a windshield repair service may be able to come to your home and replace your windshield.