Even if windshield damage is your fault, there are a few ways to get that windshield crack or pit fixed. But whether or not you should use your insurance, another driver’s insurance, or no insurance at all depends on a few factors, including whether you’ll have to foot part of the bill.
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Does Car Insurance Cover Windshield Damage?
In many cases, your auto insurance does pay for window damage in various situations. For example, if an accident caused the crack, your coverage or the other driver’s coverage may pay for windshield damage. If hail or other non-collision incident caused the glass pit or crack, your insurance may cover windshield damage repair or replacement. But much depends on the damage, insurance company, policy, coverages, and even the state you live in. Lucky drivers may be excited to find out that in some places, insurance even covers all windshield repair costs, with no additional out-of-pocket payments required.
What Is Glass Coverage?
Glass coverage can be an add-on auto insurance coverage and may be known as
- Full glass coverage
- Full safety glass coverage
- Window glass coverage endorsement
- No-deductible glass coverage
You’ll likely have to ask for an add-on or “rider,” or your representative might offer to add the coverage to your original policy for an additional amount. Glass coverage, if offered in your state, likely isn’t a required or automatic coverage. Remember that glass breakage is automatically covered under comprehensive coverage, but full glass covers glass breakage without a deductible, and it is still provided under comprehensive coverage.
With this coverage, you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. The glass coverage may include:
- Side windows
- Back glass or rear windows
- Moonroof or sunroof
Does Collision Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?
Collision insurance is another optional coverage but a coverage carried by many. Collision insurance helps pay for damage occurring when your car hits another object (such as a building), another vehicle, or even your car or truck overturning. Collision doesn’t pay for damage to someone else’s vehicle—your liability insurance covers that. Essentially, your collision insurance helps pay for car windshield replacement when a collision is your fault.
However, you must already carry collision coverage before the windshield incident. Otherwise, your insurer will not pay for windshield repair or replacement.
Does Comprehensive Cover Glass?
Comprehensive coverage is another optional coverage you can buy. Comprehensive helps pay for damage to your car not caused by an accident or collision. For example, damage caused by weather, floods, theft, or vandalism. This type of coverage could pay for repairs or replacement of your windshield—for instance, if a baseball hit your windshield and shattered it. Fault does not matter as it does with collision insurance.
But the most important aspect is that you must already carry comprehensive coverage before the windshield incident. Otherwise, your insurer will not pay for windshield repair or replacement. You may be able to carry both comprehensive and glass coverage.
Will I Have To Pay a Deductible?
Yes, you may have to pay a deductible. An auto deductible works like your co-pay on your health insurance plan. You pay a portion, and then your insurer pays the rest. You set your deductible when purchasing your insurance policy, ranging from $0 to $2000 or more. Some insurers may offer a separate glass deductible for windshield repairs only.
Your deductible depends on your insurer, state of residence, and coverage types. Your coverage and limits depend on your insurer and policy. Or your insurer may charge a smaller deductible for glass repair or replacement than for other collision-related claims. Others may require you to pay the deductible in some circumstances, such as replacing your entire windshield using your collision coverage.
Should I Use Insurance To Replace My Windshield?
Review your auto policy or declarations page to see if you can use insurance to make an auto glass claim. As mentioned above, repair or replacement may be under your collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, a separate glass policy—or even uninsured motorist coverage. If you’re confused, call your claims representative to determine whether your coverage would pay for a claim and your deductible.
For example, one insurer’s comprehensive coverage may cover glass repair without a deductible but not a replacement. If you live in Massachusetts, insurers must offer glass coverage with a deductible no higher than $100.
It is very important to note that if your insurer thought you tried to add insurance after damage occurs, you could both face a claim denial and a fine from your state insurance department for insurance fraud
Does Windshield Replacement Affect Insurance Rates?
Filing any claim can potentially lead to higher insurance rates—particularly if you file a lot of claims. The insurance company assumes you could pose a higher risk of payouts. However, much could depend on your:
- Previous claims history
- The seriousness of the claim (i.e., a minor window glass repair may not impact your rates like a DUI conviction)
- State of residence and insurance
Your representative may not be able to guarantee that a window replacement claim will not affect your insurance rates, but you can always try asking. If your rates do go up as a result of a window glass claim, the rates will likely stay higher for another three years
How Much Does It Cost to Repair or Replace a Windshield? (100 words)
On average, repairing a windshield crack is around $99, while replacing a windshield is around $350, according to the National Windshield Repair Association. If your deductible is $500, you would pay the entire replacement cost of $350. If your deductible is $250, you’d pay $250 while your insurer pays $100. However, before filing a claim after a baseball smashes your window, ask your insurer if a claim is likely to affect your rates. Saving $100 on a broken windshield fix may not be worth the cost of a pricey insurance policy.
Repairing vs. Replacing Your Windshield
Windshield repair versus replacement can save you hundreds of dollars. Beyond the cost savings, repairing a windshield can help preserve your higher-quality original equipment manufactured (OEM) windshield and the original factory seal while also saving time. This preservation can lead to increased safety and improved driving experiences compared to car windshield replacement.
However, only some broken windshield damage can be repaired. Standards set by the National Windshield Repair Association set minimums for repairs and depending on the shape, size, and location of the windshield damage. In the most general terms, repair potential depends on the damage:
- Cracks up to 14 inches long
- Breaks of up to 2-3 inches in diameter, depending on the type
However, use the site’s guide to identify your windshield damage and determine whether it can be repaired.
How to File a Claim for Windshield Damage
The NWRA recommends determining whether the damage is repairable or requires a car windshield replacement. While your insurance company may steer you toward a shop, you can choose the auto shop. After that, call the insurance company’s claim number and file a claim. You’ll need to speak with your agent to determine whether you have collision, comprehensive, or another type of coverage that pays for windshield damage.
What Should I Do if My Insurance Doesn’t Cover Glass Damage?
If your insurance policy doesn’t cover the glass damage, bring your vehicle to an auto glass repair shop for an estimate, preferably with an NWRD-certified technician. You may need to visit a few to find a price that works well but balance pricing with customer reviews. If another driver caused the windshield damage, you could file a claim against their insurance policy by calling their insurer. Their insurer will steer you through filing a windshield repair or replacement claim but ask about taking it to the shop of your choice for an estimate.
Windshield Repair Tips
In many cases, even a small unrepaired crack or chip can spread due to road vibration and could even weaken the overall windshield strength. DIY windshield repair kits exist, although the Auto Glass Safety Council warns that only 10% of damage can be successfully repaired. That success rate depends on the DIY-repair person following all instructions correctly. If you’re unlikely correctly fix a broken windshield, ask glass repair shops to assess, repair, or replace the damaged windshield.
What States Offer Free Windshield Replacement?
Some states require insurers to offer comprehensive coverage that doesn’t charge a glass repair deductible or requires the insurer to waive (not charge) the deductible. These states include:
- South Carolina
However, you must already have collision coverage to take advantage of the state requirements. If you crack your windshield and don’t have collision coverage, you’ll pay for repairs or replacement out of pocket.
Note: Watch out for windshield replacement scams on the rise in some states. Here’s how the scam works. A stranger approaches you at a car wash or valet who says your windshield is unsafe and your insurance will pay to replace it. Your windshield is okay, but the scammer replacing the windshield often does a poor job, leading to severe future safety risks. Then, the scammer files a claim to get paid by your insurer.