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Edited by Jackie Cohen
Updated September 15, 2022
A damaged windshield is a dangerous windshield unless it’s repaired. You should always take your car into a glass repair shop as soon as it’s damaged. But should you have your insurance pay for it? Most of the time, it’s not worth the claim. Here’s what you need to know about filing a claim to fix your windshield—when it’s worth it and when it’s better to pay out of pocket.
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Auto glass coverage can be purchased with collision and comprehensive coverage.
It can also be purchased as a separate rider depending on the insurance company.
Filing a claim to repair can be worth it if done as a comprehensive claim with a zero deductible. Collision glass claims are usually not worth it.
Insurance Coverages and Windshield Replacement
Will my car insurance cover windshield replacement?
If you have auto glass coverage, which is part of collision and comprehensive coverage, your insurance will replace your windshield. But it’s usually only worth it to use comprehensive coverage to fix it.
Whether your auto insurance policy covers full windshield replacement depends upon the way you’ve set up your policy. Most car insurance providers do offer auto glass coverage, but this coverage option is in addition to state minimum coverage. That’s because state minimum coverage is only for liability insurance.
In order to get auto glass coverage, you’ll need to set up your policy the right way. Let’s take a closer look.
Coverage Options for Windshield Replacement
Two types of car insurance coverage options offer you windshield damage protection. The first is collision coverage. This covers your car in the event of an at-fault accident. If your windshield is damaged in an accident that’s determined to be your fault, your policy will cover it minus your auto glass deductible.
The second type of insurance that covers a damaged windshield is comprehensive coverage. If you purchase auto glass coverage with comprehensive insurance, you’ll be covered if your windshield is damaged in a non-collision event. For example, if your windshield is broken during a storm, you’d need to have comprehensive coverage on your policy to get it covered.
When you add comprehensive and collision insurance to a car insurance policy, the policy is often called a full-coverage policy. Full-coverage policies are great for people who want complete asset protection. But policies vary from company to company, so be sure to review your policy documents to understand how your windshield is covered.
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If you don’t have collision or comprehensive coverage, you may still be able to get coverage for your windshield. Some auto insurance companies offer full glass coverage as an add-on benefit. Add-ons are typically called “riders.” An auto glass rider is a clause added to your insurance policy that stipulates when and how your windshield is covered.
If you’d like to add an auto glass rider, check with your insurance provider to see if your provider offers the rider independent of comprehensive or collision coverage. The rider is usually inexpensive. Be sure to set up the rider with an insurance deductible that’s favorable. If you can’t add it to your current policy, compare car insurance quotes from providers that do.
Auto Glass Deductibles
If you purchase auto glass coverage, whether dependent or independent of other coverage types, you may have to pay a deductible to use it. Some insurance companies offer a $0 glass deductible. That means that you pay nothing out of pocket to repair or replace your windshield when it’s damaged by a covered event.
If your glass coverage does not come with a separate deductible, it will be subject to whatever deductible is applicable to the damage event. If your windshield is damaged in a collision, you’ll have to pay your collision deductible before you receive a payout for your windshield. If it’s damaged in a non-collision event, you’ll pay your comprehensive deductible.
Is auto glass coverage worth it?
For many drivers, auto glass coverage isn’t worth the extra expense. On the one hand, repairing or replacing your windshield usually costs less than the deductible for comprehensive or collision coverage. On the other hand, making any insurance claim runs the risk of increasing your car insurance costs in the long run.
But full glass coverage can be worth it under the right circumstances. First, you should be insuring a car with special glass needs. For example, a windshield that has rain sensors. Second, your rider should cover all your auto glass, not just the windshield. Finally, you want to have a $0 glass deductible. If all three are applicable, your rider may be worth the cost.
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Filing a Claim for Windshield Replacement
If you have a $0 deductible and a high-tech windshield, filing a windshield claim may be worth it. This is especially true if your windshield was damaged in a non-collision event. When filing a windshield claim under your comprehensive insurance, the claim is considered “no-fault,” and the risk of a rate hike is minimal.
Filing a claim for your car’s windshield in a collision-related event is typically not worth it if you’re found at fault for the accident. That’s because the claim will certainly cause your insurance premium to go up. But, if you’re not at fault, you should file a claim to have it repaired or replaced by the person found to be responsible for the collision.
How do I file a claim to repair my windshield?
How you report a claim will depend on the procedures preferred by your car insurance company. Many companies allow you to start your claims process online. If you have any questions or concerns about your claims process, you should contact your customer service, insurance agent, or a claims agent at your insurance company.
Your auto glass provider may also be able to file a claim on your behalf. Whether this is allowed will depend on your insurance company. If you have concerns, you should contact your insurance company for more information.
Repairing a Cracked Windshield
You should repair your windshield as soon as you notice damage. Acting quickly can help you avoid having to replace your windshield. Remember that even small chips will result in larger cracks over time. Repairing it right away reduces or eliminates further damage to your glass. Plus, state laws may require you to repair or replace your windshield if it’s damaged.
If the damage to your windshield is longer than three inches, you’ll likely need to replace your windshield. Professionals also use the “dollar bill rule,” which states that the glass should be replaced if the damage is too large to be covered by a dollar bill. Damage to a windshield made of tempered glass (as opposed to laminated glass) will also likely require replacement.
Lastly, the depth of the glass damage also plays a role. If the chip is deep enough to affect the structure, your windshield needs to be replaced. Your auto glass repair specialist will be able to tell you what the best course of action is. Be sure to properly vet the person you use to repair your glass. Choose a company with a good reputation, like Safelite.
Cost of Windshield Replacement
Replacing your windshield should cost less than $500 for most cars. A standard windshield with no special features costs $100 or less for materials. Labor will also cost less than $100 and as little as $50—it will depend on the going rate in your area.
Windshields with sensors, in special shapes, or which need to be ordered from a special supplier will cost more. The labor to install high-tech windshields will also be more intensive and thus more expensive. But even when the cost of repair is higher, filing a claim is often not worth it.
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Compare Full-Coverage Car Insurance Rates Before You Buy
Whether you want auto glass coverage or not, it’s always best to compare your rates before you buy. But when you’re buying a full-coverage policy, comparing rates is even more important. Different insurance companies charge different rates depending on a number of factors. The cheapest insurer for one driver is often not the cheapest insurer for you.
Comparing car insurance rates is easy when you use Insurify. One form gets you real quotes from top insurance providers in your area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Windshield repair is when you mend a small scratch or chip with a glass repair specialist or with a windshield repair kit. Windshield glass replacement is when you remove it and put a new windshield in. Windshield repair is good for damage that’s smaller than a dollar bill or less than three inches. The purpose of repair is to prevent the damage from spreading.
You should expect to pay between $250 and $450 to replace your windshield, with the average cost of replacement at $359.99 according to Auto Guide. Your costs will depend on your car, the rates in your area, and whether your windshield has special features, such as rain sensors. You may need to replace your windshield wipers. The cost to repair a windshield chip is under $100.
Whether the windshield damage is large or small, it will only get worse. Your windshield heats and cools due to outside temperatures and the sun. This stress causes the crack to spread to the edges of your windshield. Also of concern is the windshield’s strength. A cracked windshield may not stay intact during a car accident, road debris, or severe weather like a hailstorm.
The legality of driving with a cracked windshield depends on the laws in your state and the placement and extent of the damage. Generally, a small chip or crack is perfectly legal. In most states, so long as the damage does not interfere with the driver’s ability to see the road, it is legal to drive with windshield damage.
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