You love your car. Following proper car maintenance isn’t a suggestion to you. During the winter, you make sure it’s covered, and in the summer, you prevent it from overheating.
Then the unexpected happens. Your car windshield cracks. Whether from a stray pebble or a collision, you now need an auto glass repair or replacement.
This starts an endless stream of questions. How do I know if I have to repair or replace my windshield? Does my car insurance cover all costs? Where do I report the damage?
All your questions and more will be answered. Find out everything you need to know about auto glass insurance coverage.
Table of Contents
Does My Windshield Need to be Repaired or Replaced?
Sometimes it’s obvious to tell. Other times, it can be a little tricky.
There are a few questions you should ask yourself about the damage. How much is your visibility impacted? Does it pose a threat to your safety? Is it large? How deep is it? Do you have a broken windshield, or is it just chipped?
Types of Glass Damage
- Hair Line Crack
- Half Moon
Knowing the type of glass damage, you’re dealing with helps you chose the best solution.
Can My Windshield be Repaired?
If the crack is small, not too deep, and not in the middle of the broken windshield, you’ll be able to repair it.
When you catch a chip early enough, some insurance companies will waive the deductible. They would rather pay to repair a small chip than to let it grow into a crack they are obligated to replace.
Can I Choose My Own Repair Shop?
It depends on your insurance company.
Some are very specific about which repair shop they require you to use. They may conduct their own inspection of the damage. Others are more lenient and will let you chose your own.
When Should I Replace My Windshield?
You’ll have to replace your windshield in a few scenarios. If you’ve repaired the windshield multiple times before, the damage is in your line of sight, or it’s large and deep, you will need a replacement.
Car Insurance and Glass Coverage
Insurance is hard to understand regarding what is covered. For windshield and glass damage, you may think your auto insurance covers everything. That’s not always true.
In general, you will need comprehensive coverage. With it, your insurance covers windshield and auto glass repair or replacement.
This insurance protects your car from damages that aren’t related to collisions. Think floods, theft, and rocks hitting your windshield.
Full Coverage No-Deductible
This is ideal for windshield and glass insurance. Check with your provider to see if they offer this option. With full glass coverage and no deductible, your insurance will cover all costs.
Coverage but a Glass Deductible
Most insurance providers will offer you coverage but charge a deductible. Sometimes, the deductible can be so expensive that it’s worthwhile not to file a claim. This varies based on the damage and repairs needed.
When Doesn’t Car Insurance Cover My Windshield?
Although hard to believe, it’s possible to have car insurance but nothing covering your glass and windshield.
This is the cheapest insurance option available. However, your insurance company will not cover any costs to repair damage to your car.
It only covers someone else’s expenses if you are at fault in an accident. It does not cover you. The only exception is if someone else is responsible. In that case, you can make a claim.
Everyone is legally required to have liability insurance.
This would cover you if your windshield was damaged during a collision. If it was cracked or broken any other way, you are not covered and will have to pay all expenses yourself.
If You Intentionally Break It
Breaking your own windshield on purpose is unacceptable to providers. In most cases, they will not pay for replacement or repairs.
To Whom Do I Report My Glass Damage?
You need to contact your insurance company and other relevant authorities as soon as possible. Most companies allow you to file a claim yourself or go through an insurance agent.
Most of the time, it’s unnecessary to get the police involved. For cases like vandalism or theft, contact local authorities before your insurance company.
When you file a claim, you will provide any relevant paperwork. This would include a police report if a crime was committed.
An insurance agent will guide you through the process of making a claim. This can be helpful. They know how to navigate the system better than you. If you don’t feel confident in reporting directly, an agent is a great option.
Insurance Company Directly
If you don’t want to go through an agent, you can directly report and handle the claim.
It’s common for insurance companies to have separate divisions to handle different types of claims. Listen carefully to any recorded prompts to make sure you talk to the people who can help you.
Should I Pay for the Damage Myself?
There are times when paying out of pocket for any damage is a better financial choice than filing a claim. Sometimes it’s best not to file an auto insurance claim.
Do You Have Coverage?
Without comprehensive or collision coverage, you will have to pay unless the damage occurred in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Total Cost vs. Deductible
It’s worth considering paying to repair any damage in some situations.
One example is if the total cost is less than the deductible. Making a claim may cause your rates to rise, but making the payment yourself may save you money overall.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Broken Windshield Without Insurance?
Repairs range between about $50 and $150. The smaller the chip, the cheaper it is to repair.
Replacements are typically around $100 to $400. This depends on how old your car is, the model, and a variety of other factors. It can be much higher for newer cars.
How Long Will Replacement or Repairs Take?
When done by a reputable company, replacement shouldn’t take longer than an hour, but that’s once you’re in the shop.
Setting up an appointment and filing an insurance claim take up the most time. That’s why it’s important to contact your provider as soon as you need a new windshield.
The longer you wait, the worse your windshield will become.
After the replacement, you need to wait at least an hour before driving. Leaving before the adhesive is fully dried can cause the windshield to move out of its proper place.
Can I Do Repairs Myself?
Yes! In some cases, minor fixes are easy to do yourself. If you have the time and skills, buying a small repair kit can save you a lot of money.
This is only recommended for small cosmetic repairs that don’t impact the windshield’s structure. Do not attempt to repair cracks of any size yourself. Leave those to the professionals.
Will I Need to Repair or Replace My Car Windshield to Pass My Annual State Inspection?
Some states require cars to pass an inspection every year. They have windshield requirements to keep drivers safe.
Depending on where you live and how large the damage is, your car may not pass.
Even if your state doesn’t have car inspections, you need to have a safe windshield. This means nothing blocking your line of sight, no large cracks, and repairing chips before they become cracks.
Will Non-OEM Glass Depreciate My Car Value?
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) glass is a good choice, but not the only one.
Aftermarket, used, and any other non-OEM glass will not affect the value of your car. The United States Department of Transportation guarantees that all automotive glass brands meet the same safety requirements.
Will the Stickers on My Windshield be Replaced?
It depends. Inspection stickers and other necessary items will be removed at most repair shops. Some stickers cannot be re-applied, and you will have to buy them again.
Check local regulations to find out which stickers cannot be re-applied and plan to purchase them for the new windshield.
Does Asking My Insurance Company About Coverage Raise My Rates?
It shouldn’t. Asking is not the same as making a claim. You should be able to reach out to your provider at any time and get all the information you need without being penalized.
To be completely sure, you’ll have to check your insurance policy. Most companies will not raise your rates when you haven’t made a claim.
Get Full Glass Coverage Now
Does your car insurance cover enough? Liability insurance isn’t enough. Neither is collision coverage. It would be best if you had liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance to be fully protected.
Insurance is complex. Understanding when to make a claim and when not to will help you better navigate the system. The more you know, the more you can save.