Will my car insurance cover a cracked windshield?
If your windshield is chipped, cracked, or broken, it presents a dangerous situation when you are driving. Even a small “pinhole” crack can suddenly widen if you go over a rough bump, rendering your vision less than ideal and perhaps even causing an accident. In most states, it is illegal to drive a car which has a cracked or broken windshield. Glass repair and replacement is relatively easy and inexpensive when compared to other forms of car repair; in some cases, a small chip or crack can be repaired without having to replace the entire windshield. In other cases, the windshield must be removed and replaced altogether, but this does not usually take a great deal of time when the work is performed by an expert.
If your windshield is broken, will your insurance pay for it to be replaced?
Depending on the type of coverage you have, many insurance companies will pay for broken windshields, but you must often pay the deductible amount for the coverage used to pay for the repair, and this is sometimes more expensive than simply having the windshield replaced yourself.
If you are in an accident which is not your fault, the other driver’s property damage liability will pay for all damages to your car. This includes a damaged windshield and all other glass on your car which is broken by flying debris or stress fractures. In a case like this, the other person’s insurance company is required to pay and you should not have any expense, as you do not pay a deductible when another company pays for your damages. You would simply file a claim and have your damage repaired.
However, if you caused the accident, your windshield, and any other damages to your car, will only be fixed if you have collision insurance. Collision is the coverage you have which pays for your damages when you are the at-fault driver in an accident. Your collision deductible will apply in this case, and the cost of your windshield will be borne by the insurance company only after you have “met your deductible,” or paid the amount required by your policy. Be sure to check your collision deductible to find out exactly how much you will have to pay. If your deductible is $1000, you can obviously pay to have a new windshield put in without ever having to file a claim, as the cost will not usually be this high.
On the other hand, if your windshield is cracked or damaged in an incident which is not part of a collision, another form of insurance called comprehensive coverage will pay for the damage. Comprehensive coverage is a “catch-all” category which includes such reasons for glass breakage as a rock flying up from the road and chipping your windshield, a tree branch falling on your car during a storm and breaking your windshield, or a child with a baseball and bad aim causing the damage. Your comprehensive deductible will also have to be paid in such cases before your insurance will take over.
Glass Breakage Rider
Some companies offer a “glass breakage” rider to your regular comprehensive policy for a very reasonable price. Since glass breakage is such a common type of claim, some companies will offer you no-deductible glass replacement for a few dollars more a month. This might be a wise investment if you do not have a great deal of cash available to pay your comprehensive deductible. With most glass breakage policies, however, you can only file a claim once in a limited period of time, perhaps every year. Policies vary on this requirement, so it is a good idea to check with your agent or read the specifications of your particular policy so that you know what to expect. If you must file more than one claim in the time period, you can often file it under your comprehensive or collision insurance and pay the deductible without any further penalty.