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Something as simple as a falling tree branch or a pebble kicked up off the road can crack your windshield, but does car insurance cover the damage? And how much does it cost to fix a cracked windshield?
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Drivers who have comprehensive coverage are likely covered for the damage, but depending on the cost of repairs, it may not make sense to file a claim to repair or replace your windshield.
Glass and windshield damage is covered under comprehensive insurance coverage
Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your car that was not caused by a collision
Vehicles that use heads-up displays or other types of advanced technology built into the glass are much more expensive to repair
Depending on the situation, a glass claim might not impact your insurance rate
If you have full coverage, the odds are good your insurance will pay to fix your car windshield crack. Broken glass and windshield damage is covered under your comprehensive insurance coverage.
However, filing a claim for chipped or cracked glass isn’t always the right choice. If the damage is minimal and you have a high deductible you might not receive a payment from the insurance company for the damage, which means it might not be worth your time to file the claim. You won’t be covered at all if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, so only drivers who choose to carry full coverage would be able to file a claim.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your car not caused by a collision, including:
Vandalism, fire, and riots
Falling objects (rocks, tree limbs, etc.)
Storm damage (hail, wind, floods, lightning, earthquakes, etc.)
Animal-related damage (hitting a deer, rodents chewing through wiring, etc.)
Windshield and glass damage
When it comes to windshield damage, insurance companies in Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina have laws waiving the deductible for windshield repair or replacement, which means that drivers in these states don’t have to pay a deductible to file a windshield claim. This is often referred to as full glass coverage and may or may not be sold as an add-on to your comprehensive coverage.
It typically costs less than $400 to replace your windshield, but depending on a number of factors, including the amount of damage and the type of car you drive, it could cost as little as $100 or more than $1,500 to repair or replace your windshield. Vehicles that use heads-up displays or other types of advanced technology built into the glass have much more expensive repairs.
There are multiple factors that can impact the cost of repairing or replacing your windshield, including:
Advanced technology: Many newer vehicles have important sensors and other technology built into the glass, which can increase your repair costs by several hundred dollars.
Type of car: Classic cars, sports cars, and luxury vehicles often have custom windshields based on the size or style of the car.
Tinting: Tinted windshields or other treated glass can be more expensive to repair or replace.
Front or rear windshield: Replacing a rear windshield can sometimes be cheaper if there is no wiper assembly, but many cars do have rear windshield wipers or other things that can increase the cost.
Used glass: Choosing used glass can help reduce the cost of replacing your windshield.
Amount of damage: A tiny chip in your windshield could be a cheap, simple repair while a huge crack on a windshield or shattered glass will require a full replacement.
There are several things to consider when deciding whether or not to file a claim, including:
Cost of repair: If the damage is minimal and the cost to fix a windshield crack is small, it likely isn’t worth filing a claim (although you should still repair any damage to your windshield that impairs your view of the road).
Deductible amount: How high is your deductible? If you have a $1,000 deductible and it costs $800 to replace your windshield, your insurance company won’t pay anything toward that cost.
Deductible waiver: Some companies offer policies that waive your deductible for glass claims, making it worthwhile to file a glass claim even if the amount is relatively small.
Reach out to your insurance agent if you have questions about whether or not to file a claim.
Depending on the situation, a glass claim might not impact your rate.
If you caused an accident that damaged your windshield, you might see an increase in your rates because the insurance company will consider you a higher risk. A glass claim caused by something you couldn’t control (hail, rocks on the highway, etc.) is less likely to raise your rates, but each company does things differently, so check the details of your policy to determine whether you should file a claim or pay out-of-pocket.
There are kits available for drivers to repair small chips in their windshield on their own rather than having it done professionally, but this can potentially cause bigger problems if the damage isn’t repaired correctly. If you don’t follow the instructions exactly it can leave opaque spots or worse in the glass, and it can’t be redone, which means you will need to have your windshield replaced completely. It can also void your car warranty, so think carefully before trying to fix the damage yourself.
If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you likely don’t have coverage for windshield replacement. If you have full coverage insurance, you can check the details of your comprehensive coverage to find out how windshield replacement is covered under your policy.
If you file a claim for replacing your windshield it counts as a claim, but not the same type of claim as a collision. Filing a windshield claim won’t necessarily impact your insurance rates.
If you have a small chip or crack in your windshield that isn’t in the driver’s line of sight, it isn’t necessarily unsafe. If the damage is big enough or placed where it blocks your vision while driving, it isn’t safe to drive. If you aren’t sure whether or not the damage is unsafe, talk to a mechanic you trust about whether or not the repair is necessary.
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