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Driving with a damaged windshield can be dangerous, but replacement can be annoying and expensive. Enter auto glass coverage—sometimes offered as a stand-alone policy feature and sometimes included in other coverage options. But is windshield coverage worth it? We’ll explore that and more in this quick guide for Massachusetts drivers.

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Quick Facts

  • Driving with even minor windshield damage can be very dangerous.

  • Auto glass coverage may be included in your insurance policy under comprehensive or collision coverage, or as an independent rider.

  • Repairing a windshield is generally inexpensive (less than $250), but it depends on the vehicle.

Is it illegal to drive with a damaged windshield in Massachusetts?

Is it free to get your windshield replaced in Massachusetts?

If you carry the proper insurance and have a zero deductible, you’ll pay nothing to replace your windshield. But remember: you pay for that advantage when you pay your monthly insurance premium.

It is legal to drive with a damaged windshield according to Massachusetts law, so long as that damage is small and doesn’t create unsafe conditions. Minor damage that does not need replacement includes:

  • If the damage has caused a crack, the crack must not be more than six inches.

  • If the damage has caused a star break, bullseye break, or ding to the outer layer of the windshield, it must be less than one inch in diameter.

  • Larger damage may be okay, so long as it is outside of the viewing area. Your viewing area is usually defined as the area your wipers cover.

But one important caveat is that the damage cannot affect the safety of your windshield. A small crack outside your windshield’s viewing area may not seem important, but it can be dangerous if it extends to the edge of the glass. For this reason, and many others, it is always a good idea to have your windshield inspected by an auto glass professional.

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Coverage Options for Windshield Replacement in Massachusetts

There are three common ways you can protect your windshield with your car insurance. Each covers windshields a little differently. And each will have different effects on your monthly premium. Let’s take a look at each coverage option.

Comprehensive coverage covers your windshield when it’s damaged in a non-collision event, such as a rock hitting your windshield while you’re on the road. It also covers damage from hail, trees, and other falling objects. You still have to pay your comprehensive deductible unless otherwise noted.

Collision coverage often covers replacing or repairing your windshield when it’s damaged in a car accident you caused. You still have to pay your collision deductible unless otherwise noted.

Full glass coverage is usually a policy add-on, also called a rider. Most of the time, it can be added to full-coverage and liability-only policies. It may come with a separate deductible, and it is usually inexpensive to add to a policy.

A car warranty may also be offered from the carmaker or the auto glass services shop that last replaced the car window. But they only cover repairs when the glass damage is due to the maker or repair shop.

You should also know that the specifics of windshield coverage and its costs vary depending on the policy and the auto insurance company. Two providers may look like they offer the same policy for the same price, but if one policy includes a $0 deductible, you’re better off choosing that policy. Always be sure to read the fine print when comparing car insurance.

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Does a glass claim affect your insurance in Massachusetts?

Most of the time, you won’t see a rate increase after you make a windshield claim. But there’s no guarantee unless your policy says there is. Any time you make a claim, big or small, you run the risk of increasing your rate. The good news is that you should not see a big increase, and you can always shop around for a new policy to see if something better is available to you.

Is auto glass coverage worth it?

It depends on your vehicle, the cost of adding full-glass coverage, and the deductible. Let’s take a look at each of these three factors.

  1. Vehicle: More precisely, we’re considering your vehicle’s glass. Do you drive a car with special glass needs? Does your windshield have rain detection sensors or other tech features? Cars with more expensive parts cost more to replace, which makes auto glass coverage a better buy.

  2. Cost to add auto glass coverage: Does your policy already have auto glass coverage? It probably does if you carry collision or comprehensive coverage. If you don’t, you can ask your insurance agent what the cost is to add an auto glass rider or shop for a car insurance policy that includes it.

  3. Deductibles: If you have to pay a deductible to use your auto glass coverage, you want to take that into consideration. Paying a $100 deductible for auto glass replacement that costs $160 is not so advantageous, especially if you’re paying $5 a month for coverage. A $0 deductible for an $800 windshield is far more valuable.

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What is the average cost of a windshield replacement in Massachusetts?

On average, a windshield costs around $200. However, some windshields can cost more than $1,000 to replace. It all depends on the cost of the part and the cost of the labor. Both costs go up dramatically for car windshields with rain sensors and other technological features. And costs can be more expensive in Boston versus Worcester or Springfield.

Remember that you may have the option to repair your windshield instead of completely replacing it. The cost for auto glass repair ranges from $80 to $150. Costs are lower because there are no parts to order and it takes less labor to repair a crack.

To avoid replacing your windshield, you should bring your car to an auto glass specialist right away—a minor chip can worsen in a matter of hours.

Average Costs by Type of Auto Glass

Windshields are the most common piece of auto glass that suffer damage on the road. But there are other types of auto glass that can be chipped or cracked. Here’s the rundown of the average cost to replace the most common types of auto glass.

  • Windshield: $150 to $400, as much as $1,075

  • Rear window: $140 to $385, as much as $1,050

  • Passenger glass: $135 to $250, as much as $835

As we touched on earlier, windshield replacement costs vary depending on the vehicle. Some cars and trucks are so popular that finding parts is easy and inexpensive. But ordering or transporting auto glass for other vehicles is difficult, which drives up costs.

How long does it take to get a windshield replaced in Massachusetts?

In most cases, it takes just 30 to 60 minutes to complete the labor of replacing a windshield. You also need to let your windshield rest for an hour before you drive it so that the adhesive has enough time to cure. Without time to cure, the windshield poses a safety risk—it can become dislodged during a collision. And driving it too soon can also affect the fit in the long run.

To be safe, you should plan to not use your vehicle for about three hours while your windshield is replaced. Consider using a mobile windshield glass company to perform the service at your home.

What’s the process to repair a windshield?

Chips and minor cracks in a windshield can be repaired with an epoxy resin. You can buy an auto glass repair kit from an auto supply store and do the repair yourself, or you can work with a professional repair service. We recommend using a professional, as an improperly repaired windshield will continue to crack and need to be replaced.

A professional repair takes about 30 minutes to complete. But just like with a replacement, you’ll need to wait at least 60 minutes before driving your vehicle. This allows adequate time for the epoxy resin to set. Often, you can have a glass repair specialist visit you and do the repair in your driveway or even your parking lot at work.

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Massachusetts Car Insurance Companies That Offer Auto Glass Coverage

There are many options for auto glass coverage in Massachusetts. The best option, in general, may not be the best option for you, so always compare quotes and policies before deciding. That being said, here are four great options to get you started.

  • Allstate offers to replace or repair for a damaged windshield through the Safelite company, a mobile service that comes to you. You need to have comprehensive insurance and will pay a deductible for either repair or replacement services.

  • GEICO insurance covers auto glass when you purchase comprehensive coverage, but the replacement is covered under whatever deductible you set for comprehensive coverage. Windshield repair (not replacement) is covered without a deductible.

  • State Farm uses the LYNX program to manage glass replacement and repair insurance claims. Whether you pay a deductible or not depends on how you’ve constructed your policy. You must use an in-network glass repair provider.

  • USAA works with Safelite as well. You’re covered for auto glass through comprehensive auto insurance and pay no deductible for windshield repair. If you need to replace your windshield, you pay the comprehensive deductible.

Didn’t see your insurer on this list? You can contact your insurance agent to ask about auto glass coverage. You can also compare policies from insurers who offer it.

Compare Car Insurance Policies with Auto Glass Coverage

Comparing your policy options before you buy gives you many advantages. You’re more likely to get a policy that feels tailored to your needs, and you’re more likely to save money. While gathering rates from multiple companies may seem daunting, we offer you a simple, free tool that makes car insurance quote comparison easy, fast, and confidential. Here’s how it works:

  1. Enter information about cars and drivers into our confidential form.

  2. Click into your customized quotes results page

  3. Compare quotes, coverage options, company reviews, and policy details.

When you find the right policy, you just need to click the orange button to be directed through the buying process.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is glass coverage free in Massachusetts?

    No. Auto glass coverage is a paid form of car insurance. However, you can buy a policy with a $0 glass deductible. That means that you pay nothing to have your windshield replaced—or any other auto glass for that matter. You can also look for low-deductible glass coverage or opt for no coverage and replace your windshield without using insurance.

  • Is windshield replacement covered by car insurance?

    It depends. If you have comprehensive coverage, your windshield is likely covered for damage from non-collision events. If you have collision coverage, your windshield is likely protected from at-fault collision events. And, if you have an independent auto glass rider, you are covered for a variety of perils as defined in your policy documents. Liability-only policies do not cover glass.

  • What is the deductible for a windshield replacement?

    The deductible for windshield replacement depends on the policy. Usually, policies with full glass coverage do not require policyholders to pay a deductible. If your policy doesn’t have a separate deductible for auto glass, your deductible defaults to whatever you set for the coverage option that pays for glass— i.e., comprehensive or collision coverage, which can cost $50 to $2,000.

  • Can you replace a windshield yourself?

    If you have the time, know-how, skill, and experience, sure, you can probably do a windshield replacement yourself. If you’ve never replaced a windshield before, you should leave the work to the professionals. Ordering a replacement, removing the old windshield, and installing the new one is not easy. And DIY gone wrong can create dangerous conditions.

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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed more than 40 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partner providers across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Service's database of auto insurance rates. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how companies price their car insurance premiums.

JJ Starr
JJ StarrInsurance Writer

J.J. Starr is a health and finance writer with a background in banking, lending, and financial advising. She holds a Series 6, FINRA, and life insurance licensure and a master's degree from New York University. Through her writing, she strives to use her decade of experience to help consumers make sound financial choices. Connect with J.J. on LinkedIn.