Free Windshield Repair/Replacement From Your Insurance
Be careful driving down the road with a chipped or cracked windshield. Cracks can quickly grow, especially on bumpy roads and with large temperature changes, and it may be illegal if it obstructs your visibility. So act quickly before something annoying becomes something expensive and life threatening.
The good news is that auto insurance covers most damaged windshields, often with no deductible. But it depends on how your windshield was damaged and what kind of insurance you carry. Read on to learn the details.
When Will Car Insurance Pay For My Damaged Windshield?
If your windshield is damaged in a car accident, repair or replacement of the glass is covered with the rest of the damage to the car.
Damage from a car accident – If your windshield is damaged in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, that driver’s liability coverage will pay for the windshield. Since liability insurance has no deductibles, there is no cost to you. If you were at fault for the accident and you carry collision insurance, your own collision policy, will cover the windshield, but you will first have to pay your collision deductible.
If your windshield was damaged by something other than an accident, such as by rock chips, vandalism or weather, you need to have comprehensive coverage to get help from your insurance company.
- Minor windshield damage from all other causes – Windshields with minor damage don’t necessarily need to be replaced. The damage can often be repaired, and these repairs are generally not subject to a deductible. “Most insurance companies will pay for repairs of any small chips or cracks in a windshield free of charge,” advises Melina Metzger, PR manager for Safelite AutoGlass. “This is because they want to avoid any added danger and the possibility of having to replace the windshield down the road.” As a general rule “minor damage” is anything that doesn’t puncture the glass and is no larger than the size of a dollar bill. Metzger says that using current techniques, any such repair “will restore the structural integrity of the glass.”
Windshield replacement from all other causes – Some companies have a reduced comprehensive deductible if repairs are not possible and the full windshield needs replacement. Your insurance company or agent can provide details on comprehensive insurance deductibles for windshields. Plus, if you live in one of the “zero-deductible” states – Florida, Massachusetts, South Carolina, or Kentucky – all comprehensive car insurance policies are obligated to pay in full for windshield replacement or repair.
Motorists in Arizona, Connecticut, Minnesota, and New York are given the option to choose a lower deductible for windshield damage when they purchase car insurance.
Comprehensive Claims and Deductible Information From The Top 10 Insurers
|Insurance Company||Phone Contact||Waives Deductible for Repair?|
||888-624-4410||Not unless required by law|
American Family Mutual
Do I Need Repair or Replacement?
For small repairs you’re probably in luck, however, under the following conditions you’ll need to get your windshield replaced:
|The damage is larger than the size of a dollar bill|
|The damage punctures your windshield|
|You’ve already made several small repairs to the same windshield|
|The damage lies directly in the drivers field of view|
Tips For Dealing With Windshield Damage
Don’t file an insurance claim if it doesn’t offer any savings. When your deductible is close to or greater than the cost of the windshield, it’s better to pay out of pocket.
You don’t need to get OEM glass. You can always choose to have a windshield replaced with one from your car’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM). However, that doesn’t mean your insurer is required to pay the extra cost if an original windshield costs more. As with any insurance claim, you’ll have to pay the difference in cost if you want only OEM parts. Bear in mind that aftermarket windshields are very high quality, and you’re not likely to tell the difference. Plus, if your insurance pays for the new windshield, they will guarantee the windshield and the repair job.
What if you don’t have comprehensive insurance? If you have some patience and aptitude, it’s actually quite simple to repair small chips and cracks yourself. Kits usually cost between $8 and $15, and they are available at your local auto parts store. Keep in mind that it’s important to repair or replace any damaged windshield. A small chip or crack is likely to grow over time.
Images: Martin Lehmann, grmarc, Sascha Burkard, SH-Vector, Ingka D. Jiw / Shutterstock
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