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Something like this has happened to a lot of drivers: you’re cruising down the highway, and all of a sudden, a rock flies on your windshield, leaving a big ugly crack.
Windshield damage happens all too often, and it can cost a pretty penny to fix.
That’s where optional car insurance coverages, like comprehensive, collision, or full glass insurance, can come into play. Some car insurers also offer no-deductible glass coverage as part of your policy, but that’s something you should verify with your provider. If you don’t have any of those coverages, your insurance won’t pay for windshield damage at all.
“If that glass can be repairable, most insurance companies will waive your deductible and just repair the damage to your glass — if the damage is only to your glass,” says Charlie Wendland, head of claims at Branch Insurance, an insurance technology company based in Ohio. “In the event that your windshield needs to be replaced, depending on your coverage, it may be subject to a deductible.”
Let’s look at how car insurance will cover you if your windshield cracks or shatters.
Does Car Insurance Cover Windshield Damage?
Damage to your windshield is covered in the majority of cases as long as you have comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive is an optional coverage that protects your car from damages caused by incidents other than a collision, such as theft, flood, falling rocks and more.
If your windshield cracks or shatters, your collision insurance would kick in to cover those repairs. Liability insurance will usually only cover a windshield replacement or repair if the damage has occurred in an accident caused by another driver.
Some insurance companies allow customers to purchase full glass coverage. What that means is there’s no deductible associated with glass-only claims, regardless of whether the glass has to be repaired or replaced.
“If you have the option of buying full glass coverage with no deductible, that’s something you should definitely weigh the benefits of,” says Wendland. “There’s certainly an increased cost for having no deductible.’’
Do You Have to Pay a Deductible for a Windshield Replacement?
There are few things you should consider before filing a car glass repair insurance claim. There are certain situations when filing a claim makes sense, and others when it’s better to pay for repairs out of pocket. If the cost of repairs is low enough that you cannot meet your deductible or it’s close to your deductible amount, experts say you shouldn’t file a claim.
Look over your car insurance policy to find out if no-deductible glass damage is part of your comprehensive coverage. If it is, you won’t have to pay a deductible for a windshield repair or replacement.
Certain insurance companies may waive your deductible if you choose to repair your car’s windshield instead of completely replacing it, but you’ll need to verify that with your insurer.
“The first thing I ask when somebody calls me is whether it’s repairable. If the crack is smaller than the size of a dollar bill, about six inches, they can typically fix that,” says Terry Bollam, owner of TAB Insurance Agency in Frisco, Texas.
If your windshield needs to be replaced, an average windshield without advanced technology built in is around $500, says Bollam. “So if your deductible is $500 and it’s going to cost $500, then there’s no sense in filing a claim. If you had a $500 deductible and it’s a $2,500 windshield, then you’ll want to file that,” he says.
“Check if your company has a lower glass deductible, versus it just being lumped in with your comprehensive,” Bollam also advises. Some insurers can be more flexible than others about the deductible for windshield replacements.
If the damage is another driver’s fault, their insurance will cover your windshield replacement or repair. There’s no need to file a claim with your insurance company in that situation, but you’ll need to get the other driver’s insurance information.
Will a Windshield Replacement Claim Raise Your Rates?
Any time you file an car insurance claim — even for a glass repair or replacement — your insurer has the option to increase your rate.
Though a single glass-only claim won’t likely increase your rate, be aware that the more claims you file, the greater the chances of your rates going up.
“Glass claims aren’t really going to hurt you,” Bollam says, “unless you had 10-plus claims in the last 10 years or something.”