A crack or chip in your car’s windshield isn’t just an eyesore — it can severely compromise the safety of your vehicle. Your windshield helps protect you and your passengers in the event of a car accident. A crack can impair your ability to see, making it unsafe to drive, and it can also weaken the windshield and make it more likely to shatter.
While smaller cracks and chips can generally be repaired, a shattered, broken or severely cracked windshield needs to be replaced altogether. The cost of repairing or replacing a windshield varies depending on the make and model of your car, the cost of repairs in your area and the amount of damage you need to fix.
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If your windshield is only cracked or chipped, it may not need to be replaced altogether. The general rule of thumb is damage smaller than a dollar bill can be fixed without needing a replacement. But even minor damage should be repaired promptly — in some states, driving with a cracked windshield is illegal.
Repairing small damage is significantly more affordable than replacing a windshield altogether. The total cost of replacing a windshield will vary depending on where in the U.S. you live and what kind of car you drive, but it’s likely to cost several hundred dollars. We solicited estimates for windshield replacement from a national auto glass chain in cities across the U.S., using a 2016 Toyota RAV4 as a sample vehicle, and found that the typical cost for windshield replacement was $389.99.
Certain high-tech safety features, like lane departure warning, can make replacing a windshield more expensive. The repair service you use may also give you the option to replace your windshield using original manufacturer parts (OEM) for an extra cost.
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While you have the option to pay for a windshield replacement out of pocket, you can also file a claim to see if the cost of replacement would be covered by insurance. If you have comprehensive coverage, which is the part of a car insurance policy that covers damage to your vehicle not caused by a car accident, then some or all of the cost of repairing or replacing your windshield will likely be covered.
Some insurers offer specific glass coverage, sometimes called full glass coverage, which is an additional coverage that will pay to repair or replace your windshield without requiring a deductible.
But is full glass coverage worth the money? For many drivers, it may be, especially if you live somewhere prone to extreme weather, or park your car outside year-round. Check your car insurance declarations page or contact your insurer to find out what type of coverage you have as part of your policy.
In some U.S. states, insurers are required to cover glass repair without a deductible. Typically, comprehensive coverage requires you to pay an out-of-pocket deductible before your insurer will cover the rest of the cost. You choose your deductible amount, usually $500 or $1,000, when you buy your policy.
Since deductible amounts are often close to or more than the cost of replacing a windshield, if you have to pay a deductible before your insurance company will cover the cost of the replacement then it would make more sense just to pay out of pocket.
However, if you live in what’s called a “zero-deductible state,” your insurer will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your “safety glass,” which includes your windshield, without charging you the deductible amount. And even if you don’t live in a no-deductible state, if you are able to add full glass coverage to your policy, your insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing glass without requiring a deductible.
Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius, where she has been since 2018. An expert in home, auto and renters insurance, she loves making tough concepts easy to understand and helping readers feel confident about their insurance options. Before joining Policygenius, she was a senior staff writer at Mic. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.
Anna has a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
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