February 23, 2020

Does Car Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement

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A crack in your windshield can be expensive and dangerous. Find out how your car insurance can help you fix the damage and avoid a costly replacement.

Your windshield is constantly at risk for damage from debris, weather incidents, or other flying objects. In some cases, your comprehensive auto insurance will cover windshield damage and replacement. But if someone else is at fault, it may be covered through property liability insurance.

Read on to learn if your insurance will cover the damage, what to do if your windshield breaks, and how to file a claim.

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Windshield Damage?

Your insurance will likely pay for your windshield damage if you have one of these coverages:

Comprehensive Coverage
If your windshield is hit by a rock or another object, your comprehensive coverage should cover the cost. It also covers damage from events such as:

  • Tree branches falling on your windshield
  • A baseball hitting your windshield
  • A pebble or rock cracking your windshield while driving
  • Acts of vandalism
  • Animal crashing into your windshield

Comprehensive coverage and collision are both optional. But buying these coverages may be worth it if your vehicle is less than 10 years old or worth more than $3,000.

Property Liability Insurance
If someone crashes into you and is at fault, their property damage liability insurance will cover the damage. This includes any windshield damage.

You could also file a claim against their homeowners or renters liability insurance. Their policy can provide coverage for things they may damage.

With both comprehensive and property liability insurance, you will likely have to prove to the insurance company that the damage was the other person's fault.

Full Glass Coverage
You can purchase this coverage in some states as part of your comprehensive coverage, or as a separate policy. With this coverage option, you might not have to pay a deductible for windshield repair.

Does windshield repair affect insurance?
Filing a claim for windshield repair or replacement will probably not affect your premium. Insurance companies don't usually consider windshield damage to be an indicator of risky driving. However, if you've already filed multiple claims with your insurer, filing another—even for windshield damage—could raise your premium.

What Should I Do If My Windshield Breaks?

The first thing you should do is contact your insurance company to see if your policy covers windshield repair or replacement. You may also want to get a quote from an auto repair shop or glass specialist to see how much it would cost to fix it.

If your broken windshield is missing any pieces, protect your car's interior from weather damage by covering it with a tarp or tape, or park it in a garage. Don't drive your vehicle without a windshield.

It's important that you fix the damage as soon as possible. Here are a few reasons you shouldn't put off your windshield repairs:

  • Small cracks can grow quickly
    A windshield with a large crack can't be repaired. You may have to replace the whole windshield, which costs more.

  • Cheaper in the long run
    Windshield repairs are much cheaper than windshield replacements. They could even be covered by your insurance.

  • Fast and convenient
    It could take less than 30 minutes to repair your cracked windshield. Some repair companies will even come to you for the job.

Should I use insurance to replace a windshield?
If the cost is low, you may want to repair your broken windshield without filing a claim. If you filed a claim and the repair cost was less than your deductible, you'd have to pay out of pocket anyway. Consider filing a claim if the damage is significant or the cost to repair is greater than your deductible.

How to Make a Glass Claim

Assuming your insurance covers it, you'll want to make a windshield claim as soon as possible. Report the damage to your insurance company online or by phone.

A claims specialist will go over the cause of the damage and let you know if it will be covered. If the damage was caused by another driver or as an act of vandalism, you may be asked to provide a copy of the police report.

Once everything is verified, your specialist will help you repair the damage. In some cases, you can choose where to get the repair, and in others, you must go to an approved auto repair shop.

Depending on your coverage, you may have to pay a deductible (more on this below). Before filing the claim, consider your deductible amount vs the cost of repairs. If the repairs cost less than your deductible, you can skip the claim and pay for the repair out of pocket.

How much does it cost to replace a broken windshield without insurance?
The cost of a windshield replacement can vary drastically depending on the type of car. Prices range from $150–$1,000, with an average of $200–$400.

Will I Have to Pay a Deductible?

Your deductible is the amount you have to pay toward a claim before your insurance company pays the rest. Whether you have to pay a deductible to repair a damaged windshield depends on the state where you live. Some states require insurance companies to waive the deductible for windshield replacements.

States that have zero-deductible windshield replacement laws include:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts (varies based on if you select separate auto glass deductible on your policy)
  • New York
  • South Carolina

In most cases, your auto insurance will only cover costs that are greater than your deductible. For example, if you have a $500 deductible, you're responsible for paying all costs up to $500. The insurer will only pay out for repairs that exceed $500.

If the repair cost is $300, you'd have to pay the entire cost without getting money from your insurance company.

You could also avoid paying a deductible if:

  • Your comprehensive coverage includes glass repair
    Some comprehensive insurance plans allow you to add on glass repair. If you have this coverage and need to repair (not replace) your windshield, some insurance companies will waive the deductible.

  • You have full glass coverage
    This can be purchased as a separate policy or as an endorsement on your comprehensive coverage. If you have full glass coverage, you will not pay a deductible on damages to your windshield.

In many cases, whether you'll pay a deductible depends on how the windshield was damaged, and whether it needs to be repaired or replaced.

Cheapest Windshield Replacement
The cheapest windshield replacement depends on the glass repair shop, type of vehicle, and extent of the damage. Prices can range from $150 up to $1,000 (for luxury cars). Shop around to find the best deal but remember, quality matters too. You may want to research a company online and read customer reviews before scheduling an appointment.

Repairing vs Replacing

It's usually much easier and cheaper to repair a windshield than to replace it. While many repairs cost less than $100, replacing a broken windshield can cost several hundred dollars. And windshield replacements might not be covered by your insurance, or your insurer may require a deductible first.

The amount you'll have to pay can vary depending on the type of vehicle you drive. Even if you choose not to file a claim with your insurance company or if you don't have glass coverage, it's still cheaper and easier to repair than to replace. Prices vary, but you can usually find a quote online to get an idea of what to expect.

Contact your insurance company to find out if your policy covers windshield damage. Knowing whether your policy covers repairs or replacements can help you decide whether to file a claim.

Bottom Line

If your windshield has cracks or chips, you'll want to get it fixed as soon as possible. Your insurance may cover the damage. And even if not, minor damage won't cost you too much to repair.

Letting the damage spread could lead to a windshield replacement that costs more time and money to fix.

Write to Caitlyn Callahan at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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