Updated January 4, 2022|5 min read
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Damaged or broken windshields are usually covered by car insurance. If someone else damages your vehicle, their liability protection will cover the cost of replacing your windshield. If the damage was caused by a covered peril or you were at fault, your auto insurance policy will cover windshield replacement, as long as you have comprehensive, collision, or glass coverage.
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While insurance does cover a damaged windshield, it may be a better idea to pay for repairs or a replacement yourself. If the cost of replacing your windshield is close to your deductible, you could avoid higher premiums and the trouble of making a claim by paying for the damage out of pocket.
Damaged windshields are covered by a car insurance policy's liability, comprehensive, collision, or glass coverage, depending on how the damage occurred.
Since your insurance rates may go up if you make an insurance claim to repair a damaged windshield, you should consider paying out of pocket if the damage isn't very expensive.
You may have to pay a deductible for a glass claim, unless your policy covers safety glass repair without a deductible.
It typically costs around $400 to repair a windshield without the help of insurance.
Car insurance covers cracked windshields. Depending on the source of the damage, your cracked or broken windshield may be covered by:
Another driver's liability coverage
Your comprehensive coverage
Your glass coverage
Liability insurance pays for the damage that one driver is responsible for causing another person, including medical bills and property damage. If your windshield is cracked by another driver, their liability protection would pay for a replacement.
On the other hand, comprehensive coverage pays for damage that isn't caused by another driver. If your windshield is cracked by a falling branch, flying rock, vandal, or another covered peril, then your comprehensive coverage would protect you from paying for the replacement yourself.
Similar to comprehensive coverage, your policy's collision coverage pays for damage that you're at fault for, including glass damage. If you're involved in an at-fault crash and have to repair your windshield, you could decide to file a collision claim or pay out of pocket to fix the damage.
In some states you can purchase glass coverage, also called a "full glass policy." Glass coverage allows you to avoid a deductible when making glass-related comprehensive claims. If this add-on is available in your area, it could be a good purchase if you have a higher deductible.
Assuming that another driver isn't responsible for damaging your windshield, it may make more sense to replace it yourself without making an insurance claim. Even if glass damage is covered by your auto insurance policy, it could cost more to replace your windshield using your insurance coverage.
Auto insurance is more expensive for drivers who have made claims before. Even making a claim for windshield damage can affect your premiums and cause them to be more expensive in the future. Since making claims causes your rates to increase, you should factor in the future cost of coverage when deciding whether to make a claim on a broken windshield.
You may also want to avoid using your car insurance coverage to replace a cracked windshield if the cost of the damage is close to your deductible. An auto policy's deductible — the amount you have to pay when you make a comprehensive claim — can be anywhere from less than $100 to more than $2,000. A claims settlement would come to the cost of replacing your windshield minus your deductible.
If you have a $500 deductible, the cost to replace your car's windshield would have to be at least that before you could use your insurance to pay for the repairs. Even if your car's windshield undergoes $600 worth of damage, your insurance would only pay out a net total of $100 (the damage minus your deductible). In this scenario, it's better to pay the $600 yourself instead of the $500 deductible, plus future premium increases.
You don't have to pay a deductible to repair glass damage in three states. These no-deductible states are Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina. In a handful of other states insurers are required to offer glass coverage, which allows you to avoid a deductible on glass-related comprehensive claims for an increase in your premium. States that require glass coverage as an option are:
However, most people will have to pay a deductible to repair a damaged windshield. Typically, comprehensive coverage requires you to pay an out-of-pocket deductible — usually $500 or $1,000 — before your insurer will cover the rest of the cost. For these people, the cost of repairing a windshield with insurance is the cost of a policy plus the deductible.
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It typically costs less than $400 to replace your windshield yourself. Based on estimates from across the country, Policygenius found that the typical cost for a windshield replacement is $390 per year. However, depending on a number of factors it could cost less than $100 or more than $1,000 to repair or replace your windshield.
The following factors may affect the cost of replacing a damaged windshield:
Where you live: Service providers can charge different rates to fix a windshield. Where there are fewer options available, you may have a harder time finding a cheap price.
Advanced technology: Many newer vehicles have important sensors, heads-up displays 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 — and will cost more.
Filing a claim for a damaged windshield isn't different from making other types of insurance claims. When you make a claim, you'll have to contact your insurance provider by calling an agent or by submitting a claim online. While providers have different rules for how quickly you're required to contact them after a loss, it's important to act quickly when damage occurs.
When you make a claim, your insurance company may require a shop or mechanic they choose to inspect the damage. Depending on your provider, you may have to have the damage repaired by these shops — though some insurers allow you to work with service providers of your choice.
It's best to stay in contact with your insurance company throughout the claims process to be sure you have all of the necessary information in hand. For example, you should save all of your receipts so your insurance company knows how much to reimburse you. It's also a good idea to document your communications in case you decide to dispute the claim later on.
Car insurance does cover even small windshield damage, like a chip. However, it may be best to pay to have chips in your windshield repaired yourself. You can avoid the higher premiums that follow a claim by paying for the damage on your own. The damage is also likely to be relatively cheaper to repair than a larger crack.
Manufacturing errors or stress fractures where no impact is observable may be covered for a limited period of time by a car's warranty, while cracks caused by rocks or wear and tear wouldn't. It's important to understand the details of your own warranty, as they can treat windshield damage differently depending on your car and where you bought it.
You shouldn't try to repair your windshield's damage yourself. Nonprofessional repair kits could 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.
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