Windshield damage can be costly, but getting cracks and chips repaired as soon as possible is important. This is because small chips can become spider webs and pose a safety risk to drivers and passengers.
Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have, your insurer may cover windshield repair or replacement. Comprehensive insurance typically covers this damage, while some states offer separate zero-deductible glass coverage.
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Imagine that you are enjoying a peaceful drive on the road when suddenly, out of nowhere, a pebble flies up from the street and smashes into your windshield. It leaves behind a small chip that you decide to wait to get repaired, but a few days later, you hit a bump, and that small crack starts to spread. Replacing a windshield isn’t cheap, but the good news is that your car insurance might cover most or all of the costs — depending on your state and your coverage type.
In most states, a cracked windshield is covered by the comprehensive portion of your policy, which also covers damage from theft, weather, and falling objects. However, if a collision damages your windshield, you’ll need to file a claim through your collision coverage instead. Most collision coverage requires a deductible, which is the amount you must pay before your insurer starts paying on a claim.
Some insurance companies offer Full Glass Coverage, an add-on to your policy that allows you to waive your deductible for repairs and replacements on your windshield or other auto glass. While it isn’t required by law in any state, it’s a good idea to consider adding this to your policy because it can save you money in the long run.
It’s worth mentioning that filing a claim for a broken windshield may affect your rates in the future. While a single glass claim likely won’t impact your premium, multiple claims in a short period of time can cause your insurance to go up at renewal. In addition, a history of auto glass claims could catch up with you if you ever need to switch insurance providers.
If you don’t have full glass coverage on your policy or you live in a non-zero deductible state, the cost of repairing or replacing your windshield will be deducted from your compensation from the insurance company. If you are considering this option, be sure to compare quotes from various insurance companies before making a decision.
The deductible is an important factor in determining your insurance costs. In general, there is an inverse relationship between the deductible and premium. A higher deductible results in a lower premium, but it also means that you will be responsible for a larger share of the cost should you need to file a claim.
The decision of how high or low to set your deductible should be based on a careful assessment of both your budget flexibility and psychological comfort. If your budget is tight, you may prefer a lower deductible to keep monthly premiums low. However, a higher deductible can save you money in the long run if you are willing to shoulder more financial responsibility for smaller claims.
Deductibles apply to most car insurance coverages, including Comprehensive and Collision, though some states offer zero deductible glass protection as part of their Comprehensive policies. Deductibles can also apply to Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist property damage coverage, which varies by state. The Select editorial staff recommends speaking with an insurance provider or licensed insurance agent to better understand how your specific policy works and the impact of different deductible options. They can help you determine the right balance of budget flexibility, risk, and savings.
The type of coverage you have on your vehicle may affect whether it makes sense to file a claim. Most states require minimum car insurance, but you can purchase full coverage that expands your minimum to include comprehensive and collision. These add-ons help cover damage to your vehicle from perils such as weather, road debris, and vandalism that do not result from a crash. If the damage to your windshield was caused by one of these events, it would be covered under the comprehensive portion of your policy, and a deductible could apply, depending on your insurer. Some insurance companies also offer separate glass repair or replacement coverage that doesn’t have a deductible and is typically called “full glass” coverage.
The cost of a new windshield can be close to your car’s comprehensive deductible, meaning it might not be worth filing a claim for a small chip or crack. Your insurance company may only be willing to work with certain shops or mechanics they contract to inspect and repair the damage. In these situations, shopping around for the best price and service is a good idea.
Windshield damage is not just expensive; it can also be dangerous. It can impair your vision while driving, which can be particularly dangerous on highways and in bad weather. Additionally, a damaged windshield can reduce the effectiveness of your airbags in a crash and make it easier to be ejected from the vehicle. A fully intact windshield helps keep passengers inside the vehicle, cushioning their impact and protecting them from road debris.
If your windshield is damaged, it’s important to have it repaired or replaced quickly. It’s also a good idea to check with your state and insurance companies to see what the regulations are regarding your vehicle’s windshield. In some states, it may be illegal to operate your car if the windshield is not up to code. You may also have to replace your windshield if it’s cracked or broken in order to pass state inspections or road tests.
As with any repair or replacement job, the quality of the installation is key. A poorly installed windshield can lead to issues such as air whistles, water leaks, distorted vision, heating or cooling discomfort, and even loss of vehicle safety features. Finding a certified technician with the right experience to do your windshield work is important.
Windshield damage is typically covered under your comprehensive car insurance coverage. Depending on your insurance policy, it may be covered for free or with a low deductible. You can also purchase full glass coverage, which usually adds to your comprehensive coverage and removes the deductible for any glass claims you make.
If your windshield is cracked or chipped, it may be worth filing a claim for a replacement. However, you should understand that your premium could increase.
This is because using your insurance for a windshield replacement means you have filed a comprehensive claim. This is something that will be taken into account when your insurance company calculates your premiums at your next renewal.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to file a claim only when it’s necessary, and the cost of repairs will be more than your comprehensive deductible. If you are unsure of whether or not your claim will affect your insurance, speak with an agent, or visit USAA’s auto rates to get quotes for your vehicle.
Having the windshield of your vehicle replaced can be costly, but it’s vital to your safety. Your windshield provides structural support for your vehicle in the event of a rollover and protects you from debris that can fly into the cabin during an accident.