Should I Use Insurance to Fix My Windshield?

Using Your Insurance To Cover Windshield Damage

A man looking through a windshield drives a car.

Skynesher / Getty Images

Your windshield is always exposed to getting hit with flying debris like rocks or other objects, and if it gets a chip or crack, it’s important to make repairs quickly.

Comprehensive insurance coverage on your auto policy typically covers repairs or replacement for damage to your windshield. If your windshield was damaged in a collision, however, then it would likely be covered by collision insurance instead. 

Learn more about your coverage options for windshield damage, your deductible obligations, and some windshield replacement tips. 

Does Your Insurance Cover Windshield Damage?

Standard liability insurance won’t cover windshield damage or other forms of glass damage. You’ll need to carry additional coverage to pay for windshield damage caused by perils such as flying debris. 

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage reimburses you for costs to repair damage to your vehicle that isn’t a result of a collision. This includes vandalism, theft, flood, hail, windstorm, or accidents caused by animals. Glass loss makes up nearly two-thirds of claims filed under comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage will only pay for windshield damage if you added the coverage to your auto policy before the incident occurred. You may also have to pay a deductible on your auto insurance to file a windshield-damage claim. 

Comprehensive coverage waives your deductible for repairs. If your windshield needs replacement, you may have to pay a deductible. 

Full Glass Coverage

Full glass coverage, also known as windshield insurance or windshield repair insurance, is an optional add-on to your auto insurance policy. Most insurance carriers let you add full glass coverage to your auto coverage for an extra cost. 

With full glass coverage, you don’t pay a deductible to repair or replace damaged auto glass. Depending on your state’s policies, you can sometimes add this coverage to a comprehensive insurance policy.

What Your Insurance Will Cover

Comprehensive coverage will pay for the cost to repair or replace a windshield damaged by falling debris, hitting an animal, or other perils not related to a collision. However, the amount of coverage varies depending on whether you want to repair or replace the glass. 

Comprehensive coverage usually only waives your deductible if you need to repair the damaged glass. For a replacement, you may have to pay a deductible. Full glass coverage, on the other hand, pays the cost to repair or replace the damaged auto glass without you having to pay a deductible.

The standard for repairing windshield damage is that stone breaks are up to two inches in diameter and single line cracks are up to 14 inches long, according to the National Windshield Repair Association.

Deductibles and Windshield Glass Claims

When you buy auto insurance, you choose a deductible, which is the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket before your insurer pays for a covered claim. Depending on the type of glass damage coverage you have, you may or may not need to meet your deductible before your insurer pays out the claim. 

Your insurer may require you to pay a deductible for replacing your windshield using comprehensive coverage. The deductible could be waived if you only need to repair windshield damage. In contrast, full glass coverage typically waives your deductible on both repair and replacement. 

If the cost to fix windshield damage is less than your deductible, you probably don’t need to file a claim because you could settle out-of-pocket for the same cost. Remember, when you choose a lower deductible, you’ll pay a higher premium. 

Some states prohibit insurance companies from charging you a deductible for windshield repair and replacement even if you don’t carry full glass coverage. 

Should I Use This Coverage if I Have It?

It may be worth using your insurance coverage if the cost to repair or replace the damage on your windshield is more than your deductible. If you have full glass coverage, you typically won’t pay a deductible to fix a cracked windshield. 

Repairing windshield damage is generally less expensive than replacing one. Repair costs vary depending on the extent of damage to the glass. The average cost to repair a windshield crack is about $60 to $100 for a chip and $125 or more for longer cracks. 

Windshield replacement costs will depend on a number of factors, including your vehicle type, the type of glass used, and your location. Replacements often range from $250 to about $450 or more.

Filing a windshield damage claim won’t necessarily impact your premium. Insurance companies take a number of factors into account when they change your insurance rates, including whether you were at fault and the number of your previous claims. 

Windshield Replacement Tips

It’s important to have any windshield damage assessed by a specialist as soon as possible. Whether you need a repair or replacement will depend on the extent of the damage. 

Repairable damage includes auto glass breaks of up to two inches in diameter and single-line cracks no more than 14 inches long. These breaks are commonly known as bullseye, half-moon, star, and combination. You may opt for windshield repair over replacement in some cases where the damage is not directly in front of the driver. 

Windshield repair is quite beneficial in the following ways: 

  • Cost savings: It costs significantly less to repair a windshield than to replace it. Repairing may also prevent damage from advancing to an extent that requires replacement. 
  • Safety: Repairing a damaged windshield helps preserve the factory-installed seal. Also, the windshield is a major component of the roof support and the deployment of the airbag system. The factory seal prevents the glass from flying off and the roof from caving in after an accident.
  • Maintains quality: Repairing your windshield ensures you remain with the manufacturer-installed glass, also known as an original equipment-manufactured (OEM) windshield. 

For cracks longer than six inches, you may need to consider a replacement of the windshield. Remember, the replacement cost may be higher than what you will spend to repair the damage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can my windshield be replaced at home?

Many windshield repair professionals offer mobile services, so you can have your windshield replaced at home. Just be sure to have it replaced by a certified technician.

How long does a windshield replacement take?

Windshield replacements can take up to 60 minutes to complete, but the time to complete one could be longer depending on the complexity. Also, you may need a 10- to 24-hour waiting period before driving the vehicle depending on how long it takes the sealant to dry. 

Can you fix a windshield crack yourself?

DIY repair kits may help you fix a damaged windshield. However, these kits only repair about 10% of breaks that occur. Most damage requires the expertise of a trained technician whose knowledge of the process is greater than that of an untrained person. 

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Article Sources

  1. NAIC. “A Consumer's Guide to Autho Insurance.”

  2.  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Panoramic Roofs Contribute to Higher Glass Claims.”

  3. National Windshield Repair Association. “What Types of Damage Can Be Repaired.”

  4. National Windshield Repair Association. “Welcome to the NWRD Information Center for Consumers.”

  5. AAA. “Windshield Repair and Replacement."