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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Your windshield can crack in the blink of an eye. Falling objects, flying pebbles, and dramatic fluctuations in outside temperatures are all common culprits that lead to sudden and unexpected windshield damage.
While glass is something we all know breaks, many are shocked to learn how much a single pane of glass can cost to replace when it’s damaged.
The cost of a new windshield can range between $185 to $1000, with the average driver paying a reported $214. Before you schedule an appointment to have your windshield replaced, look over your auto insurance. Some policies will help pay for some or all of the costs to repair your auto glass.
Here’s what you need to know about your coverage:
Why is it so important to replace your damaged windshield in a timely manner?
You might think a busted windshield is nothing more than a cosmetic issue, but it’s very important that you understand the risks of driving with a damaged windshield.
Since small chips and cracks can obstruct your line of sight, your more susceptible to have an accident when you fail to get the glass replaced. In daylight hours, it’s easy for the crack to cause a dangerous glare.
Not only is driving with a cracked windshield a safety issue, it can also affect the structural integrity of your vehicle when you have a crash. Since the glass acts as a safety feature that supports the roof, the roof of the car is more likely to collapse in a collision.
The Legal Consequences of Driving With a Damaged Windshield
If the risk of getting into an accident isn’t enough to push you to get your windshield cracks repaired, you should know the legal consequences.
Driving with a cracked windshield is against the law in most states. Officers can tow your car or even arrest you just because of the condition of your window.
Since operating a car with a defective front or rear window is an infraction, you’ll have to pay a fine for violating the law. In some cases, you can get the repairs done and take the car in for inspection at the police station, but most of the time you’ll be ticketed. To avoid a ticket, you’ll need to get repairs made as soon as possible.
Does insurance pay for windshield repairs?
If you buy the cheapest policy that’s available, you probably won’t have coverage for any type of damage to your auto glass or any other part of your car.
Policies with a broader range of coverage may pay for auto glass repairs, but there are limitations that you should be aware of before you assume you won’t have to foot the bill.
What coverage do you need on your policy to pay for your glass damage?
In order to file a claim for any type of auto glass breakage, you need to have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive is a first-party coverage that pays for physical damage to your covered auto after a covered loss.
Some of the losses covered under comprehensive include:
- Missiles and falling objects
- Contact with live animals
- Glass damage
Do you have to pay out-of-pocket when you file a comprehensive claim?
Comprehensive coverage is one of the few coverage options on an auto policy that has a deductible.
Since there is a coverage deductible, you will have to pay something when you file a claim. In fact, the cost to replace your windshield has to exceed the deductible or the insurer won’t pay at all. This is why it’s important to select a lower comprehensive deductible.
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Will an insurance company ever waive a glass deductible?
You may be in luck when it comes to your comprehensive deductible.
Some companies offer no-deductible glass coverage and others will waive a deductible if the car is only in need of chip repair. Chip repair involves using a resin to fill the chip instead of replacing the glass. It’s a safe alternative that can save you and the insurer money.
How can you find out if you have the right coverage and deductible?
If you’re browsing through your policy, the best place to look for the coverage options that you’re currently carrying is to reference your declarations page. Here, you can find out what type of coverage you’re carrying on each car that you’re insuring. The declarations page will also show your limits and your coverage deductibles.
Will filing a comprehensive claim affect your rates?
If you’re hesitant to file a claim for fear of being punished by your insurer, don’t worry. A comprehensive claim is one that won’t affect your rates. If you have filed three or more in a short period of time, however, the insurer could change your risk class which could lead to higher rates.
How do you file a claim for windshield repair?
If you have comprehensive coverage and the cost to repair or replace your windshield is higher than your deductible, you should file a claim against your policy to reduce your expense.
Filing a claim is easy with most larger glass companies. In fact, if you have your policy number, the glass company will file the claim for you. If you’ve already paid the bill, you can file a claim on your own for reimbursement.
Your car insurance company will definitely coverage a cracked windshield as long as you have comprehensive coverage. The only setback would be if you had a high deductible and your car uses a lower cost glass. If you don’t have physical damage coverage currently, you should price the cost.
Use an online rate comparison tool, compare premiums for comprehensive, and do the math to determine how much more you’ll pay each month for extra protection.