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Windshield replacement has historically been the top car insurance claim. Highway debris from vehicles and construction trucks can cause a surprising amount of damage when you are traveling 65 miles per hour. A tiny pebble could crack your windshield. Many people ask, “Does insurance cover windshield damage?” The answer depends on the type of car insurance coverage you have.
Does car insurance cover windshield damage?
There are two main types of car insurance, commonly known as minimum coverage and full coverage car insurance. Minimum coverage car insurance is the base amount of coverage that is legally required in your state to operate a vehicle. That said, states do not require optional coverage types like comprehensive and collision coverage. Therefore, if your windshield cracked because of a rock hitting it while driving on the highway, comprehensive coverage would not be available to help cover the repairs unless you purchased it as an add-on.
Full coverage expands on the required state coverage and adds comprehensive and collision coverage to your auto policy. These add-ons help cover repair costs for perils such as fire, flooding, theft, vandalism and damage to your vehicle from an at-fault accident.
Are windshields covered by insurance? They typically would be through the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy. But depending on your insurance company, the state you live in and the event that caused your glass to break, there may be other options. Here is how each type of coverage could work in case of damage to your vehicle’s glass.
Collision insurance pays for your vehicle losses and repairs that were caused during a crash. If your windshield is cracked after you rear-end another vehicle or drive into a pole, collision insurance will likely cover the windshield damage minus the deductible amount you chose for this coverage.
Comprehensive insurance adds protection for other events not related to a collision. Say a tree branch falls on your vehicle, a rock hits the glass, you strike a deer or a severe hailstorm cracks your windshield. In any of the events mentioned, comprehensive insurance could pay to replace the damaged glass, minus your deductible.
Full glass coverage
Insurance companies may have a full glass coverage add-on available in many states that you can purchase in addition to comprehensive insurance. It is exclusively dedicated to glass repairs or replacement and often with a $0 deductible option.
Will I have to pay a deductible?
According to the Insurance Journal, most auto insurers will waive the comprehensive insurance deductible for a repair. However, unless you live in the “zero deductible” states of Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina, you would have to pay a deductible for a replacement.
As for the three states mentioned, state law does not allow carriers to sell full glass coverage with a deductible.
What if I do not have comprehensive coverage?
If you do not have comprehensive coverage, you may still be able to have your windshield replaced. If you were involved in an accident that damaged your windshield and the accident was the fault of another driver, the at-fault driver (or their insurance company) would have to pay for your expenses from their liability insurance policy. However, most other scenarios would fall under comprehensive or collision coverage, and without those coverage types, you would pay the expenses out of pocket.
How to file a claim for windshield damage
To file a claim for a windshield replacement, you should assess the extent of the damage first. A good rule of thumb suggests that if a crack on the glass is at least six inches long, a complete windshield replacement is more prudent.
Smaller chips or cracks could be repaired by a vehicle glass professional without removing the entire windshield. If you doubt whether you should repair or replace a windshield, your insurance company or a glass specialist will be able to tell you.
Time is of the essence if your windshield is damaged. Even a small chip or crack could quickly spread. And the damage to the glass could affect the strength and integrity of the entire windshield. To file a windshield claim:
- Photograph and measure the damage to determine whether a repair is enough.
- File a claim online, over the phone or by visiting your local insurance agent.
- Provide the photos or size of the damage to your claims adjuster.
- Choose a glass and windshield specialist from the available options your insurance company provides. You may need to take your vehicle to a facility, although many companies have a mobile windshield service that comes to you.
Windshield damage that is repaired under the comprehensive portion of your car insurance coverage typically does not impact your car insurance premiums. However, because you filed a claim, it is possible that you could lose out on a claims-free discount if your car insurance company offers one.