Although your windshield may be at the highest risk for needing repair or replacement during the lifetime of your vehicle, side windows are still at risk, too. You see it all the time: someone person driving down the highway with a clear plastic bag or tarp covering a window. You think, “I hope, for their sake, it doesn’t rain today.”
But there is a lot more to worry about than just the weather. The chances of theft or passenger injury skyrocket with a broken window. If your car window is broken from fallen debris on the road or is smashed as a result of an accident, don’t wait to get it replaced.
If money is an issue, the following are some pointers on how not to burn a hole in your pocket while getting a cheap car window replacement.
The first thing you should always do is contact your insurance company. Even if you are unsure whether or not they will cover it, you should always ask. Just beware of filing for a claim that may not be worth the subsequent premium increases for the amount you will get.
Side windows are usually less expensive than windshields or back windows. So it may be less expensive and less of an insurance risk to just pay out of pocket. It really does depend on your deductibles compared to your insurance company’s policies on raising rates should, as to whether or not you should file a claim.
Comprehensive insurance is optional. If you’ve selected it as part of your auto insurance policy, make sure to ask if it includes window repair or replacement. Usually, insurance companies–at the very least–include side window repair or replacement in their comprehensive coverage. But not always windshield repair or replacement. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 on your deductible before insurance covers any other amount. You may still need to make up the difference out of pocket.
Some insurance companies may not even require you to pay a deductible to get the repairs your side windows may need. Do yourself a favor and find out before it becomes an issue and have a plan of action if the problem ever arises.
The Alternative to Insurance
If you’ve decided against filing a claim through your insurance company, you will probably be hoping to find the parts, labor, and disposal fees at a good price, maintaining the quality, yet providing you with a cheap car window replacement.
Car window repair prices are charged per crack or chip. Many companies run specials or offer coupons, so make sure to look into brand- or company-specific window replacement deals online. Periodically, you may see some auto glass shops offering discount coupons for $5 to $25 or 5% to 10% off your window replacement or repair.
You can ask about these offers in-store or by calling ahead to the different auto glass repair locations in your area. This is called “comparison shopping”. It may be a good idea to find out about any possible exclusions, too, before counting on these discounts to save you some money. For example, some coupons claim to be for “first-time customers only.”
Another important tip that may save you money is to look at other locations in addition to auto repair shops. Car washes, service stations, and mobile repair companies also offer this service and can be certified – just ask ahead about this.
Here are some prices to expect for auto glass repairs:
- Standard side car windows cost anywhere from $100-$350, depending on the location, year, make, and model of the vehicle.
- Windows on rarer vehicles can cost upwards of $350.
- Small, triangular side windows can cost between $100 and $500 or even more, depending on the vehicle and the difficulty of installation. This is due to the less common nature of these windows.
If you wish to do the replacement by yourself, even though it is not recommended, it is still a very inexpensive possibility. The labor costs you nothing and you can find replacement windows anywhere from $18 at a junk yard to $160 at a retailer.
When shopping for a cheap car window replacement, you may want to start at a car dealership. An auto body shop, car repair shop, or a shop or mobile service that specializes in auto glass work. You can find many of them online with the National Glass Association’s directory.
You may also want to check if the business you decide on has any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. This may save you in the end.
When you go into the repair shop to get your car window replaced, the technicians will:
- Inspect the damage thoroughly
- Remove the door panel to access the remaining shards of glass
- Remove any debris and glass from the vehicle with a vacuum
- Insert a brand new side window suitable for your vehicle
- Test the regulator to make sure the window functions properly
- Replace the door panel
- Clean all the glass on your vehicle with auto window specific cleaners and equipment
It should be an easy, stress-free procedure that takes no more than an hour. Presuming the repair shop has the necessary parts to complete the replacement.
That being said, always inquire about the training your technician has. Are they certified to replace the windows in your car? If they aren’t and they do a poor job, you’ll have to invest more money into the same work with a certified technician later on. You may as well get it done right first go.
Average Cost of a Windshield Replacement
Replacement prices can range anywhere from $100 to $400, but can even go as high as $700 or more depending on the type of glass chosen, the type of vehicle you have, and the company you choose to install it.
Replacement costs vary based on whether it’s the front or the back windshield that needs to be replaced. Generally, front windshield replacement costs more than the back.
Additional expenses as a result of the type of vehicle might add up to 20% to the repair cost. If you want to add wipers to the windshield, another additional cost ranging between $10 and $20.
Replacement costs are divided into three sections: labor, parts, and disposal fees. All three add up to charge you anywhere from $500 to $570. The different accounts for different models, but the general installation procedures are the same.
Consider replacement only if the damage is so severe that repairs couldn’t solve the problem because a replacement is usually more costly than repairs. Generally, any cracks over 24 inches long will require a complete replacement, rather than any repairs.
Approximate Replacement Costs Based on Vehicle Type
- Pickup trucks usually cost around $160 to $310 for windshield replacement.
- Sports utility vehicles usually cost around $160 to $295 for windshield replacement.
- Passenger automobiles usually cost around $150 to $330 for windshield replacement.
- Minivans usually cost around $170 to $295 for windshield replacement.
All of these are average estimates and depend largely on the company chosen to perform the work.
How You Can Cut Costs on Your New Windshield
If your insurance doesn’t cover windshield replacement, the best way to cover yourself, is to pay a small premium as part of your car insurance policy. Then, in the event that have see that horrible crack suddenly appear from nowhere, you know that you are covered when you need to replace a damaged windshield without having to pay for it out-of-pocket. Those few additional dollars will result in you getting the right repair without having to compromise quality.
You could also compare different auto glass repairs shops to decide which one offers the best repair service at a competitive price. This can be achieved easily by phoning various local businesses or simply by going online. By doing a comparison it allows you to get the service you need and a price your budget can afford.
The best way to comparison shop is to:
- Write a list of all the local glass companies
- Go online to request windshield replacement quotes from each one
- Compare the companies based on your budget, their service, the type of glass you will get, etc. from all the different glass companies on your list
- Choose the company that best suits your requirements
There are a number of vehicle models are popular on the market, which means they are in high demand. Companies offer these highly-demanded windshields at discount offers so that customers go to the company that benefits them the most. They offer the products at competitive prices, giving you a well-priced windshield.
As well as costs, ask about customer experiences, the level of service offered, and even the skills of the professional who replaces your windshield.
Installation and parts for a windshield replacement are both available at cheap prices in the market. Because there are so many factors affecting a windshield replacement, such as law, safety, and drive ability, many automobile and glass companies are coming forward to offer their products at cheap and competitive prices. Many of them are tested and certified, yet cheap, too. They can even offer guidance based on the type of vehicle and your budget.
But beware of the imitators in the market. Some companies may look the same and offer the same “competitive” prices, but they are far from the quality you want, or do not follow safety standards. To separate the two, inquire about the quality and performance of the product and always be aware of customer reviews.
Things to consider when choosing your installer that may affect the price:
- Are you getting an OEM, dealer or aftermarket piece of glass?
- Does the company have a national warranty?
- Are you getting certified adhesives to glue your windshield into place?
- Will you be getting a new molding or will the old one be reused?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Will the technician make sure to hook up all the electrical components?
- Are the technicians trained or is the installer only doing this as a side job?
Never skimp on quality just to spend a few less dollars. In the end, the peace of mind you will get may, alone, be worth the investment.
Poor installation can bring all sorts of costly problems, like leakage or penetration of debris that could cause electrical panel damage or worse. All that will eventually lead to more money out of your pocket.
And what happens if you get into a collision with a poorly installed windshield? It most likely will result in more serious damage and possible injury to passengers.
So, if you’ve done your homework and analyzed your options thoroughly, but your insurance won’t get you a free or cheap windshields replacement, then shop around. If you’re lucky enough to find a cheap quote with a great company, make sure to take advantage of it!
There are so many moving parts between the insurance company, your coverage, the window you need to be replaced. The repair shop, and your ability to “do-it-yourself” that you’ll want to be aware of all your options before moving forward.
Protect yourself by knowing what you need. The price you should expect to pay for your specific vehicle, and whether or not your insurance will cover it. And remember to never skimp on quality in order to save money. Your safety should always come first.