A damaged windshield is a serious issue. 

You may not realize it, but your windshield is a major safety component of your car. Because the windshield helps support the roof of a vehicle, any damage to it can put you and passengers at risk. Massachusetts winters provide plenty of opportunities for this sort of damage: hail, temperature changes, and even debris from snow plows can all batter your windshield and impair its ability to keep you safe. 

If something does happen to your windshield, what’s most important is that you quickly get it taken care of. But did you know that glass replacement and repair are usually treated differently from other types of car damage? Massachusetts has its own rules regarding glass damage, and those rules dictate how insurance companies cover costs. 

Dealing with your cracked or broken windshield might feel stressful at first. That’s why we’ve created this guide––to help Massachusetts residents understand exactly what to do when their windshield is damaged. 

Regardless of whether you’re dealing with a broken windshield or another type of car repair, planning ahead and keeping a comprehensive insurance policy is the first step to solving the problem. Knowing you have the best policy for your budget and lifestyle will ease stress when the unexpected happens—and having the best policy starts with finding the best policy. Compare Massachusetts auto insurance quotes today with Insurify

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Does car insurance cover windshield replacement

In Massachusetts, auto insurance companies are required to offer glass coverage by law, but different companies cover glass repair through different avenues. 

Some insurance companies include glass repair in their comprehensive coverage plans. This means that glass claims are covered so long as the event that caused the damage was out of your control–– rock chips falling off a truck in front of you and damaging your windshield, for example. In cases like these, your regular comprehensive deductible would still apply. Just keep in mind that your deductible can sometimes be higher than the cost of repair or replacement, in which case covering the cost out of pocket might be cheaper. 

Other companies offer separate glass coverage plans, with their own lower deductible for glass repair or replacement. This is generally a good deal when it’s available—adding separate glass coverage can lower your overall premium, as well as limit the chances that the applicable deductible is higher than the service’s cost. 

Without insurance coverage, auto glass repair can cost up to $150, according to CostHelper. And if your windshield is too damaged to repair, you’re even worse off: on average, auto glass replacement can cost anywhere from $100 to $400

Of course, the replacement price depends on many factors: the severity of the damage, your car make and model, even the auto glass shop you choose. Cars that need to replace their windshield through a dealership could expect to pay closer to $1,000–$1,500

Filing an insurance claim for glass coverage can result in increased premiums—but it depends on the circumstances that caused the damage. Any time you file a claim, there is a chance that your insurance rates will increase. (Unless, of course, your policy features a forgiveness program.) 

Here are some of the most popular insurance companies offering glass coverage in Massachusetts: 

  • GEICO: GEICO insurance includes glass replacement under its comprehensive policy, and as such, it is subject to that policy’s comprehensive deductible
      • GEICO waives the comprehensive deductible for windshield repairs (but not windshield replacement!). 
      • If your windshield is considered intact enough to be repaired rather than replaced––a determination regulated by the state––you shouldn’t need to pay any deductible or repair costs with GEICO insurance
  • Allstate:  Allstate offers policyholders 24/7 access to a specialized auto glass claim program administered by Safelite, a well-known national provider of glass repairs
    • Replacement and repairs must be done within the Safelite network, and the comprehensive deductible may apply to any costs.
  • State Farm: State Farm covers windshield repair and replacement through its LYNX program, and Massachusetts policyholders get a dedicated claims phone line to use. 
    • Repairs must be done in-network
  • USAA: Like Allstate, USAA also uses the Safelite network for glass repairs and replacements. 
    • As with GEICO, your comprehensive deductible will likely be waived if the glass can be repaired rather than replaced.

Windshield Replacement vs. Windshield Repair 

Whether you repair or replace your damaged windshield depends on the size and location of the damage. 

Massachusetts has strict laws about whether a windshield should be repaired or replaced. Generally speaking, cracks that are smaller than a dollar bill or chips that are smaller than a quarter can be repaired. If the damage is more extensive than that, then the windshield must be replaced. 

According to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance’s Standard for the Repair of Damaged Motor Vehicles (Section 211 CMR 133.00), these are the conditions under which your windshield may be repaired instead of replaced: 

  • The crack is outside of the “critical viewing area.” 
    • This is generally considered to be the area that windshield wipers cover, plus two inches. 
  • A crack is less than six inches long, about the length of a dollar bill.
  • Stone breaks, bullseyes, and star breaks in the glass are smaller than a quarter—about one inch in diameter.

In layman’s terms, damages should be small and out of the driver’s main viewing area. Fortunately, with the standards for replacement or repair so clearly laid out, a reputable repair shop can help you make the safest decision. 

Massachusetts law also requires that any windshield replacements use original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, glass. This means that a replacement windshield must be identical in materials to the original glass it replaces. 

So what are the benefits of windshield repair, as opposed to replacement? If you have glass coverage, there’s a good chance your insurance carrier will waive the deductible for the repair. It’s also quick—you can probably have your car serviced and road-ready within two days in a fast repair. 

A repair also reduces the risk of leaks that comes with windshield replacement. When you replace a windshield, you break the seal created when your car was manufactured, which can lead to problems down the line. 

But when all is said and done, it’s the safety of your vehicle that matters most. Fortunately, an appraiser or repair shop can offer expert advice on how best to get your windshield back to normal.

A replacement can take longer and cost more than a windshield repair. But fortunately, it is covered by most comprehensive insurance coverages or by separate glass coverage with your insurance company––though you may have to pay a deductible. 

Many glass repair service centers can accommodate repairs and replacements within two business days. The process itself is relatively quick––repairs can take up to 30 minutes, and replacements up to an hour. However, it’s advised that you don’t drive your vehicle for at least an hour after a windshield replacement

Steps to Replacing Your Windshield

If your windshield gets damaged in any way, it’s important to take care of it sooner rather than later. Here are some basic steps to follow to safely get back on the road in no time. 

1. File a windshield claim

If you have any sort of damage to your windshield, the first step is to file a claim with your insurance company. As the policyholder, you’ll need to be ready to provide a claims representative with information about how the damage occurred, as well as personal information like your policy number. Depending on your insurer, there may be a specific number to call for glass claims

2. Wait for the adjuster

You may or may not need to wait for an adjuster to assess the damage—that depends on your insurance policy and repair shop. If this is part of your process, the adjuster will decide whether windshield repair or replacement is more appropriate for your level of damage. However, if your insurance company already works with a network of glass repair shops, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to skip this step. 

3. Take it to the repair shop.  

Find out if there are any rules about where you can have your windshield repaired. Most insurance companies work with a partnered network of glass repair shops, and you’ll be required to use the services of an in-network shop. If the damage is too severe to drive to the shop safely, some shops offer mobile repair services that come to you instead. After that, it’s just a matter of scheduling your repair and waiting until your vehicle is fully fixed and ready to drive!

How to Find Cheap Windshield Replacement Coverage in Massachusetts

You’ve fixed your windshield. But what’s the best way to plan for any possible future incidents? One of the best ways to lower potential out of pocket costs and unexpected hits to your wallet is to enroll in a comprehensive car insurance plan today. 

Finding the best policies in Massachusetts for glass coverage is easy when you use insurance comparison sites like Insurify. With Insurify, you can compare personalized quotes in real time and find a policy that offers the right coverage for you. 

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Updated September 30, 2020

Mandie Kelleher is a freelance content writer for financial services and personal finance. With a background in financial administration, and teaching, she crafts content that deepens her readers' understanding by making complex topics simple. You can learn more about Mandie by visiting her site, mandiekelleher.com.