No one likes being stuck behind a truck full of gravel in an uncovered bed. The wind, coupled with the speed of the vehicle, blows some of the pebbles. A pellet-sized stone comes hurtling towards your car and hits your windshield, resulting in a crack in the glass.
As you slow down and pull on to the shoulder of the road to inspect the damage, you wonder, “does my car insurance cover me for windshield cracks and breaks such as this?”
Don’t panic! How does the crack on the windshield look?
It needs to be stressed that no matter how large a windshield crack is, it’s always serious and needs immediate attention. A small, seemingly harmless crack can quickly turn into something bigger, which calls for the whole glass to be replaced.
Here’s a guide that can help you identify the different severity of cracks and their implications for you.
- The crack is more than 6 inches. If the crack exceeds a length of 6 inches, then the windshield is beyond repair and must be replaced. It helps to take your car to the auto shop as soon as possible.
- The windshield glass was penetrated. The crack goes extremely deep. So much so that the break may go to the other side of the glass. No amount of resin would be able to seal the crack, so the whole windshield must be replaced.
- The windshield was previously repaired. If your entire windshield is covered in resin-filled cracks, then it might be time for a replacement.
- The crack is directly in your field of vision. This means that the crack is so centered that you wouldn’t have to move your eyes to see it. If that crack grows larger, then you wouldn’t be able to see the road ahead.
Fear not! Comprehensive Insurance is there for you!
In most cases, auto glass repair due to windshield cracks and breaks is covered by comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive car insurance covers you when damage occurs to your vehicle in something other than a collision or accident in which the fault is yours.
Essentially, when your windshield or car is damaged due to an “act of god”-falling branches, road debris, or even animal collisions. Collisions with other vehicles and drivers are covered by collision insurance. If you don’t have comprehensive insurance, your insurance company will not pay for the windshield repairs.
Insurance brokers recommend that customers get comprehensive insurance for new and used (less than 10 years of ownership) cars. Some insurance companies offer separate windshield protection plans. This especially comes in handy if you don’t have comprehensive insurance. Liability insurance doesn’t cover the cost of repairs.
Do you have comprehensive insurance? Here’s how it covers your cracked windshield.
For the most part, insurance companies will cover the cost of windshield repairs so long as the damage is a small chip or crack. More severe cracks and breaks require the windshield to be replaced as a whole; something insurance companies try to avoid whenever possible.
How much your insurance company will cover depends on your policy and where you live. Comprehensive insurance also comes with a deductible. However, some states have reduced or $0 deductibles when clients set up their policies.
Florida, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Kentucky have legislation that requires insurance companies to pay in full for windshield replacements. Arizona, Connecticut, Minnesota, and New York clients can opt for lower or $0 deductibles separate from their standard ones for any claims involving their windshield.
Some insurance companies may also waive the windshield repair deductible. Full glass coverage would be the best option at that point.
Now, here’s what to do if your car’s windshield gets cracked.
You’ve just heard the telltale sound of glass cracking right after debris from the truck ahead of you hits your vehicle smack dab in the middle of your windshield.
A 7-inch crack appears on the glass just in front of your eyes, so it doesn’t take long to notice. Windshield cracks are not superficial cosmetic damage to your car. If a crack or break is too big, then it can quickly grow worse. At the same time you’re assessing the damage, you also have to think about your insurance coverage.
Here’s how to navigate both of these objectives when faced with a broken windshield.
Determine the severity of windshield damage.
Even the smallest crack on a windshield must be fixed as soon as possible. They don’t stay little for long. Next comes the question of an auto glass repair or a total windshield replacement. The general rule is that anything larger than 6 inches is not repairable and the whole windshield must be replaced.
Consider the following before filing a claim with the insurance company.
Before pulling up your insurer on speed dial, you’ll want to ask yourself the golden question; is it worth it? Take into consideration whether or not you have a windshield protection plan and/or comprehensive insurance. If you’ve also filed a claim in the recent past, be aware that filing a new claim will raise your rates. Liability insurance will not cover the cost of windshield repairs.
Weigh your premium and deductibles.
As previously mentioned, your deductible and premium depend on where you live and your insurance policy. In some states, insurance companies are unable to apply a deductible. Arizona, Connecticut, Minnesota, and New York are some of those states. Glass repair and replacement claims may cause your premium rates to increase, but far, far less than it would for an accident claim. Most insurance companies waive your deductible if the windshield only needs to be fixed and not replaced.
File your cracked windshield claim.
At this point, you realized that the crack is too big to fix, and the windshield must be fully replaced. If you have comprehensive insurance, you are covered as long as the cracked or broken windshield resulted from a natural disaster or vandalism. Suppose the damage was caused by an accident or another person. In that case, you have the option to file a claim using your collision insurance or the at-fault person’s property damage liability insurance.
Get your windshield fixed.
Regardless of how severely your windshield is cracked, it should always be fixed when the next opportunity presents itself. Even if the crack is small, it still poses a massive threat to your car’s safety. It can quickly grow in size over time, and the windshield will become unsalvageable. Upon receiving, reviewing, and accepting your valid claim, your insurance company will suggest an auto repair shop. You do have the option to go to one of your choosing. Windshield repairs and replacements aren’t lengthy processes by any means. Once your windshield is no longer cracked, send the service receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement.
So, how much can repairing or replacing a cracked windshield cost?
Cracks in windshields generally cost anywhere between $100 to $400 to fix at auto repair shops. Assuming that the crack is less than 6 inches and the whole windshield doesn’t need replacing, you would be looking at a cost of around $120.
This price tends to be the average for resin repairs regardless of car make and model. It’s when the entire windshield needs to be replaced that you may see an increase in the bill by at least $200. For high-end luxury cars, the bill can be anywhere from $500 to $900. It helps not to file an insurance claim when your deductible is equal to or greater than the windshield cost.
Another way to save money is to consider getting a replacement windshield, just not from your car’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM). If you opt for OEM glass, your insurance company is not required to pay the extra cost. The original maker parts may be higher in price.
Non-OEM windshields are just as high of quality. Even the keenest eyes aren’t able to tell them apart. What’s more, your insurance will cover the entire cost. There’s also a possibility of you fixing the windshield crack yourself with $8 to $15 repair kits.
It seems like windshield insurance really depends on who and where. Is that all worth it just to fix a crack?
Indeed, many factors play into whether your insurance would completely cover you in the event of a cracked windshield. For the most part, comprehensive insurance is your go-to in the event of a non-fault windshield break, and they happen from time to time.
States like South Carolina, Florida, and Kentucky all passed that requirement of waiving deductibles because it encourages people to fix a safety hazard problem. That’s why it’s all worth it. Because a cracked windshield isn’t a cosmetic issue, it’s a safety issue.