Does Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement? What You Need to Know

does insurance cover windshield replacement

The first thing most of us do when we get a chip or crack in our windshield is nothing. Then, it starts to spread. We may get nervous enough to call our insurer to ask about coverage.

If we did not make preparations for full coverage on glass claims, we’re on our own to pay for it.

Depending on the state, you can get a ticket, or fail inspection.

When the damage gets bad enough, you’ll need an entire replacement. There’s a critical detail about damaged glass we tend to overlook. It’s much more dangerous than most people realize.

Even a fender bender can cause already weakened windshields to shatter or fall out. Breaks in the glass compromise the structure of the car, too. It’s vital for you and your family to be safe every time you drive.

So, does insurance cover windshield replacement? Not always. Here are some windshield replacement tips to make sure you are safe (and legal) on the road.

When is the Damage Too Much to Repair?

There are some common truths that tell you if a windshield needs repair or replacement:

  • The damage is wider or longer than a dollar bill (6 inches)
  • Cracks or chips to the area in front of the driver
  • Many areas of damage
  • Damage reaching the edge of the windshield
  • Cracking or holes From the inside
  • Breaks over antennae or rain sensors
  • Deep damage, no matter the size

If replacement is your only option, make sure the shop you choose tells you the options. Prices and results can vary depending on the model you choose.

Click here for great advice on taking care of your new windshield, too.

Chips, Cracks, and Where They Land

Any windshield damage under 6 inches in length, in some cases, are repairable. Most of the larger insurers will pay for repairs, as this is much less expensive than a replacement.

But, if the chips or cracks are at the “acute area”, (the driver’s line of sight), a repair job can make it worse. There is always some discoloration with a repair, and this can blur the view.

Even small cracks or holes which break through both layers of glass (yep, there’s two) is not repairable.

The Basics of Collision Coverage

Most of us get glassy-eyed when anyone begins describing an insurance policy. We want a simple yes or no answer when we ask about coverage.

Every insurer may add or delete coverages, but a collision policy isn’t complicated.

The basics of collision are easy to understand. When rocks, branches, or hail collides into a car, the collision policy covers repairs.

And, some insurers like State Farm have separate coverage for glass.

Windshield Replacement is a Claim

Anytime we use our insurance coverage; it is a claim. Roadside service and glass repairs count as claims, too. Many of us want to avoid putting in claims due to the fear of premiums going up.

The truth is that most of us will put in an auto claim every five years. And, this is part of the risk underwriters use when determining our policy cost.

The reason for claims can make a difference, but its the value of the claim that is useful for calculating risk.

If someone uses towing coverage three times in one year, the cost to the insurer will be around $180. Most insurers won’t raise a premium for this small amount.

Does Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement? Is There a Deductible?

Most insurers will cover windshield replacement through their collision policies. For those who have separate glass coverage, it works as any other plan does.

And, there is a deductible for both. When you first apply with an insurer, the amount of the deductibles is your choice.

A windshield replacement cost varies. For late model luxury vehicles, costs can be in the thousands. Most passenger vehicles range in the hundreds of dollars.

Glass pros will estimate the price before you make your claim. So, if your windshield replacement will be $600, and your deductible is $250, your insurer will pay $350.

What to Know When Choosing Repair Shops

If the deductible is more than the cost of replacing a windshield, shopping around is good. Not so good are shops which use sub-par materials and workmanship.

Even those who have full coverage for the work need to be careful. Insurance fraud by unscrupulous players is more common than most realize.

Greedy shops can increase their payout or file more than one claim without you knowing. Always talk with your insurer before getting any work done. They can direct you to the most reputable shops.

If you decide to research on your own, read reviews and get references. Ask them about their products. If someone approaches you with an offer of cheap services in a parking lot, keep walking.

Do DIY Repairs Work?

Of course, no one can do a replacement on their own. But, for small chips or cracks, there are some options available.

There is always a risk when doing any automobile work. And, only a professional can tell if the damage puts you at risk.

But, if the damage is more cosmetic in nature, check the options along with the results you want.

Need More Advice?

Both insurance costs and repair costs continue to go up each year. This leaves most of us asking more than does insurance cover windshield replacement.

Though we have to pay for insurance, we have choices when it comes to auto repair.

Whether you are a pro-DIYer or just starting out, we’ve got advice to help. Check out our blog or look for the manual you need here.