In most cases, a chipped or cracked windshield will need to be repaired or replaced ASAP in order to fully comply with the law. Unfortunately, a windshield repair job can cost a lot of money, especially if you do not know exactly what to do after an accident. In this article, I’m going to list everything you should know about auto windshield replacement deductibles, auto insurance laws, and even local State laws related to windshield repair/replacement.
Does car insurance cover windshield replacement?
You do want to take a look at your auto insurance policy. With the right coverage and under the right circumstances, it may cost you nothing to get a repair or replacement done. Then again, without the right coverage and in the worst of circumstances it may be an expense you are 100% responsible for.
Understanding Your Glass Coverage
When auto glass is damaged by something other than a collision, any repairs or necessary replacement will likely be covered by your comprehensive insurance, if you have it. Because comprehensive coverage is optional, not everyone has it, which means you may have to pay out of pocket for any windshield damage in that case.
What does comprehensive insurance typically cover?
- Animal collision
Do I have windshield insurance?
This will probably be one of the first questions that come to your mind when faced with an expensive repair/replacement job. Unfortunately, at least in some cases, the answer is not as straightforward as one would hope.
Simply put, the amount of money that you will have to pay out of your own pocket will be determined by what type of auto insurance you have, which State you live in and what kind of deductible you may be required to pay before insurance kicks in.
Check with your insurance company to make sure windshield repair and replacement are covered under your insurance policy, especially if you do a fair amount of driving and expect to need it more than some might. Ask your insurance company to get specific about the coverage you currently have. For example, is it all inclusive or does it only cover side and back windows?
Types of coverage
Windshield replacement and repair claims are practically always considered to be comprehensive claims. This means that you must have comprehensive auto insurance to qualify. To find out whether your insurer will pay for any auto glass repairs, you should give your insurance agent a call. In addition to this, don’t forget to double-check all of the details in your insurance policy (sometimes agents get some of the facts wrong).
Next, you must file an insurance claim as soon as possible. Do not wait until the repair job is complete as that will more likely than not render your claim invalid.
Now, even if you have comprehensive auto insurance, you may still be required to pay a hefty deductible for any auto glass repair work. For example:
- Most comprehensive insurance packages come with a deductible. This is done in order to reduce insurance costs. Unfortunately, in a case of an accident, it also means that the customer has to pay the deductible bore insurance payments can start. In most cases your deductible will depend on the type of damage suffered and how the accident occurred.
- Some comprehensive insurance packages have special auto glass replacement deductibles that are smaller than general deductibles.
Remember to negotiate your deductible wherever possible. For example, some insurance companies will waive the deductible on auto glass repair jobs, as long as the customer goes with a simple repair instead of full windshield replacement. This is done because the deductible paid by the driver is often the same, while the insurance company would have to pay significantly more for a full replacement job. Each car insurance company varies on this subject, but, in most cases, filing a claim for glass damage that was not the result of a collision will not increase your premium.
If your insurance company does raise rates for this reason, you may want to consider the option of paying out-of-pocket for the damage, saving yourself future premium increases for filing a claim.
- An airborne rock cracks your windshield.
- To repair it would cost $290.
- Your deductible is $250 for this claim.
- The insurance company is only going to contribute $25 to the repair.
Is filing a claim and receiving $25 is worth it. This is up to you but keep in mind that this claim will go on your record and may affect future premium rates – you may be perceived as a greater risk when you have claims.
Read more about windshield repair/replacement deductibles.
The last thing to consider (although just as important as the rest) is your local State laws. Some US States have very strict regulations when it comes to driving around in a vehicle with a chipped windshield, while others have absolutely no such laws whatsoever. Plus, there are States where windshield repair jobs are required to be deductible-free, which can mean big savings! Here are some examples:
- Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, South Carolina and Massachusetts are known as “zero deductible” States. As long as you have comprehensive auto insurance, you won’t have to pay a penny to get your car’s windshield replaced/repaired.
- Some States, such as Connecticut, require insurance providers to offer optional packages that include deductible-free auto glass repair and replacement.
To find out how your local laws might affect your insurance claim, see this article on State laws and windshield replacement.
Remember that windshield repair claims must be filed before the work takes place and there are many ways to reduce the amount that you will have to pay out, as long as you have comprehensive auto insurance. Plus, zero-deductible insurance is often a real possibility, so check out this article to learn more about that.
Filing Insurance Claim and Getting the Repairs
If you’ve decided to move ahead with the claim, do it as soon as possible via phone, online, in person, or even on a mobile app. And always contact your insurance company before getting any work done to prevent fraud from the repair shop and possibly save yourself money.
An agent with your insurance company will confirm the damage is covered and give you options for moving forward. They may require you bring the vehicle in to have it inspected. You will then be approved or denied for reimbursement for the repairs.
Many insurance companies require either:
- using a specified auto repair shop by the insurance company or;
- selecting your own auto repair center (some limitations may be applicable).
If you select your own auto repair center, ensure it comes up the standards of the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council. You can even get recommendations of reputable repair shops from your insurance company.
After any work has been done, make sure to keep all receipts so you have something to provide your insurance company for reimbursement. And always review your bill carefully. This will make you aware of any fraudulent charges or additional claims. The repair shop may try to make to get more money from your insurance. If you don’t catch it, your insurance company may have grounds to cancel your policy.
Some car insurance companies may allow you to upload or fax your receipts or invoices if you include your name, policy number, phone number, and date of damage. Be sure to find out beforehand which details your insurance company needs and which method of delivery they prefer.
Chipped, cracked, and broken windshields are among the most common car repairs. Pebbles, vandalism, falling branches, animals, and even sand and gravel can damage your windshield. And, as you can see, these are common everyday threats.
Allow yourself to sleep better at night by getting the coverage you need for the moments you don’t expect. It’s always best to have insurance that covers a windshield replacement. And not need it than to need it and not have it.
Whatever you do, just be aware of all of your options. As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power.”