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Does Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?

Updated
Dana George
Cole Tretheway
By: Dana George and Cole Tretheway

Our Insurance Experts

Ashley Maready
Check IconFact Checked Ashley Maready
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There are so many ways that a windshield can be damaged that it's sometimes difficult to determine how it happened. Regardless, your first question is likely to be, "Does insurance cover windshield replacement?"

The answer is yes, if you carry the right type of coverage. If you think it's likely someone or something will damage your windshield, and you'd rather not pay for it out of pocket, you should look into collision or comprehensive car insurance policies.

Here, we'll tell you which types of coverage pay to repair or replace windshields, factors to consider before filing a claim, and how to get a claim paid.

Which car insurance policies cover windshield replacement?

First, let's get one thing out of the way. Whether insurance covers windshield replacement depends on how much car insurance you have. If you have liability-only auto insurance, it will not pay to repair or replace a windshield. That's because liability coverage is meant to repair someone else's property if it's damaged due to your negligence. However, the following two policy types do cover windshield damage.

Comprehensive

As the name implies, a comprehensive policy covers a wide range of claims. In addition to covering vehicle repairs after things like collisions, fire, floods, and theft, comprehensive coverage covers you when something damages one of your car windows.

Collision

Let's say you have a car accident and your windshield breaks. Typically, it's collision insurance that kicks in to repair a window damaged during a crash.

One thing to consider: would you like to add full glass coverage to your plan? When full glass coverage is in place, insurance will repair or replace your broken window at no extra charge. As we'll discuss later, a policyholder must normally pay a deductible in order to repair a window through auto insurance.

Should you repair or replace your damaged windshield?

There are different levels of windshield damage, and each needs to be treated in its own way.

According to Windshield Experts, if damage occurs to a side or back window, the window will probably need to be replaced because most side and back windows are made of tempered glass and cannot be repaired.

Most windshields, on the other hand, are made of laminated glass. Whether it's repaired or replaced depends on several factors, including:

  • Whether the glass is laminated (most modern windshields are)
  • If the crack is longer than a dollar bill
  • If the crack (or chip) is as deep as halfway into the windshield
  • Whether the crack extends to the outer edge of the windshield

Unless you deal with windshield damage regularly, it may be tough for you to determine things like the depth of the crack. Your best bet is to let an auto glass repair professional help you decide how serious the damage is and whether a repair or total replacement is the right move.

Does filing a windshield claim increase my insurance premium?

Any time you file an insurance claim, the insurer may increase your premium. There's no hard-and-fast rule, but insurers don't raise the rates of policyholders with minor, infrequent claims. But if you're a driver who regularly makes claims, you can expect a bump in premium.

Once you've had a glass repair professional look at the damage, it's time to determine whether filing a claim for the repair or replacement is worth it. It may come down to the size of your car insurance deductible.

Factoring in your deductible

You'll also need to consider your deductible. A deductible is the amount of money a policyholder must pay toward a repair before the insurance company kicks in and pays the rest.

Let's say your windshield is chipped, but you have a $250 deductible. According to AxleAddict.com, the cost to repair a windshield chip runs about $65. Since you're expected to pay the first $250 anyway, it makes no sense to make an insurance claim.

But according to Glass.com, the cost of windshield replacement ranges from under $200 to over $1,500. If the estimate to replace your windshield comes in at $900, that means that you'll pay your deductible (which, in this scenario, is $250), and the remaining $650 will be paid by the insurance company.

Before proceeding, you may want to call your insurance agent to get a sense of whether your annual premium will increase if you move forward with a claim. Chances are, it won't, especially if you rarely make insurance claims. Still, it's worth checking out.

TIP

Keep in mind:

If you have zero-deductible glass coverage, paying a deductible is not an issue.

If you live in Florida, Kentucky, or South Carolina and carry comprehensive coverage, your state does not allow insurance companies to charge a deductible for windshield repair or replacement. It's another situation in which the type of car insurance you have makes a difference.

How to file a broken windshield claim

Filing a claim for a damaged windshield is easy and can be accomplished in a few steps:

  • Gather your policy number and the date the damage occurred. If you know for certain how the damage occurred, have that information ready.
  • Fill out a claim form online or by calling your insurance company.
  • You'll either be asked to take the vehicle to a glass repair shop, or a mobile glass repair company will travel to your home or office to take care of the windshield.
  • If you have a deductible due, be prepared to pay it.

Does that seem complicated? It boils down to this: Contact your insurance company, which will walk you through the claims process. The best car insurance companies make filing a claim dead simple.

A damaged or broken windshield may not seem like a big deal, but it can snowball into a huge problem. That's because a chip can expand into a large crack that disturbs your line of sight while driving. A simple crack can spider web out, causing the entire windshield to break. No doubt, your life is busy. Still, it's wise to repair or replace your broken windshield as quickly as possible.

The Ascent's best car insurance companies

Check out our hand-picked list of the best car insurance companies. Our top picks are packed with valuable perks, such as low rates, bundled discounts, and best-in-class service.

FAQs

  • If you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance company covers windshield replacement. If you carry only liability, you'll pay for the windshield out of pocket.

  • Ask your insurance company about adding zero-deductible glass coverage to your comprehensive plan. Insurers in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York let you pay for separate zero-deductible glass coverage. And some insurance companies offer additional coverage in other states.

Our Insurance Experts