Imagine this – you are driving on an empty road when suddenly a red Chevy comes out of nowhere and crashes into you. Somehow you manage to get out unscathed, but most of your car is in pieces. Shock overtakes your senses for a moment, and as you calm down, you realize that you will have to call your insurance company. That is a bit of an extreme example, but whether you have a minor car accident, such as a cracked windshield or something more prominent, it’s best to prepare for the aftermath.
There are many different insurance plans, most of which involve different types of damage on various car parts. It’s honestly a bit confusing. This article will focus on one crucial factor, and it will answer the questions “Does insurance cover windshield replacements?” and “How much does it cost to replace a windshield without insurance?”
- Do You Have the Right Coverage? / What Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?
- What to do if You do Not Have Comprehensive Insurance?
- What is a Deductible?
- How much does it cost to replace my windshield?
- Will my insurance premium increase because of the windshield replacement claim?
- How to File a Claim for Windshield Replacement?
Do You Have the Right Coverage? / What Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?
To answer the question “Does insurance cover windshield replacement?” we will have to look at the different types you can have.
Comprehensive Insurance is what you are looking for. It means that the insurance company will help pay to repair or replace your vehicle. This includes the windshield. It’s covered under the ‘windshield’ or ‘glass’ line item in the ‘Comprehensive Coverage’ section. But suppose windshield damage occurs due to a traffic accident that the driver was not responsible for. In that case, repairs or replacement may be covered under the ‘Collision Coverage section of the policy.
Then, of course, you have your Collision Insurance. This is basically required if you are leasing or financing your car. It covers any collision that might happen between you and another vehicle or object. This includes fences and trees, as well as rolling over. Collision Insurance might be a bit more expensive than the comprehensive one, but it will give you some peace of mind as it can still be cheaper than replacing a windshield.
Full Coverage Car Insurance combines the plans mentioned above into one. Given all the fantastic benefits, it’s a bit more expensive than the others, but it covers much more. On top of that, it adds liability coverage, which pays for any injuries and damage you might cause to others.
All of this is helpful, but there is one thing I hate about insurance plans — deductibles. That’s why this next option is so appealing. With Full Glass Coverage, you will not have to pay a deductible on your windshield repair. However, this option is not available in every state, so you will have to check with your agent.
This is all well and good. But what happens if you do not have Comprehensive Insurance?
What to do if You do Not Have Comprehensive Insurance?
First, it’s important to remember that Comprehensive Insurance is one part of your whole car insurance package. Think of it like a bowl of soup, and Comprehensive Insurance is the chicken bits that add flavor. Of course, you can choose not to have the chicken, but then the soup won’t be as good.
Another essential thing to remember is that you can’t buy Comprehensive Insurance without Collision Coverage. The two are inseparable. If you don’t already have this type in your package, you can ask your agent about it. Generally, it might cost you around $200 a month.
But before you jump the gun, you should ask yourself. Is it worth it? The way Comprehensive Insurance works is that it becomes less valuable as your car depreciates, and it will never pay out more than the vehicle’s value minus your deductible. If you have a $2,000 car and your comprehensive deductible is also $2,000, your insurance won’t payout. So whether or not you need Comprehensive Insurance depends on what kind of car you are driving and its various parts.
But does insurance cover windshield replacement? Yes, it does, most of the time, although you may have to pay a deductible. But what is that?
What is a Deductible?
At this point, you might be wondering, “Is there a deductible for windshield replacement?” The answer is a little more complicated than it might seem, first let’s look at what exactly is a deductible. In layman’s terms, a deductible is what you pay out of pocket before the insurance company starts picking up the slack. Generally, there are pros and cons to having either a low deductible or a high one. A low deductible of $500 means that when the time comes to make use of that insurance, you will pay far less out of pocket, but in the meantime, you will be paying a more considerable amount for premiums. You pay more for your insurance but take less out of pocket. Then there are high deductibles, and as you guessed, when the time comes when you will need that insurance, it will cost you more than usual, but at least you will also be paying less for premiums.
Will I Pay a Deductible for Windshield Replacement?
Well, this depends mainly on what insurance you have. If you have Collision Insurance Coverage or live in a Zero-Deductible State, you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. On the other hand, if you have Comprehensive Insurance Coverage, the windshield replacement deductible may be waived depending on the circumstance. Any other windshield insurance or if you live anywhere outside Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina means that you will have to pay out of pocket.
What is a Comprehensive Deductible?
When you purchase Comprehensive Insurance Coverage, you will choose a set of deductibles. While the cost of those deductibles will vary depending on where you live and your choice of insurance provider, generally, they will range from $100 to $2,000, so you have options. Of course, this also includes a glass deductible. There is a glimmer of hope, in rare cases, if your mechanic decides they can waive the whole deductible. Also, keep in mind that the Comprehensive Coverage has a limit. The maximum amount the insurance company will pay is the current cash value of your car.
No one likes paying out of pocket for insurance. That’s why there are waivers and Zero-Deductible Insurance. If you get into an accident, the provider will cover the entire cost of repair, which sounds nice on paper, but it will cost you a lot more in premiums. Now, don’t get too excited. While some states don’t have deductibles, others don’t allow a Zero Deductible Benefit, so you will need to check with your local government.
There are quite a few misconceptions when it comes to this annoying policy. I don’t understand why people believe that waiving a deductible is illegal. A quick google search will reveal the opposite, at least when it comes to car insurance. So waiving a deductible is completely legal. In fact, this one time, I was in a small accident. Luckily I had Broad Collision Coverage and was one-half responsible for the crash, so the deductible was waived. If I had been fully responsible, I would have had to pay the deductible, and if the other guy was responsible, he would have paid for the whole thing. Another way you can waive your deductible is if you have some minor damage like a windshield chip or a small crack. On the other hand, it’s much harder to waive the windshield replacement deductible, especially if you do not have a Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW). Still, it’s always best to ask your provider about what you can and can not waive.
How much does it cost to replace my windshield?
After all of these deductibles, I wouldn’t blame you if you wonder whether it’s all worth it. I have gone through the same thing, asking myself, “Should I use insurance to replace the windshield?” and the answer depends on your circumstances. Sadly you can’t buy insurance only for your windshield, but you also don’t have to go to the insurance company if you need a repair or replacement. So let’s answer the question, “How much does it cost to replace a windshield without insurance?”
Generally around $100 to $1500, a big jump, I know. But this all depends on the type of car you have, the type of glass, even sensors and wipers. But the average price range is around $200-$400. Unless you have some rare collectible or luxury car, the amount won’t exceed the average.
Still, one more thing to keep in mind is whether you are looking at an aftermarket or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) windshield. The aftermarket one costs a bit less, and it will take less time to replace, but the materials and the repair itself are not the best quality, so there is a chance that your windshield might pop out. On the other hand, the OEM glass is top quality, and the fit is made perfect for your car. It’s the safest option.
Now, if you decide to go with windshield insurance, you might want to know a little bit more about claims and such.
Will my insurance premium increase because of the windshield replacement claim?
Good question. We answered, “Does insurance cover windshield replacement?”, what we have to ask now is, “Should I use insurance to replace the windshield?” and I will be completely Frank with you even though I’m Scott. A windshield replacement is considered a no-fault incident in the whole process, which means that it won’t increase your premiums unless you constantly go around breaking your front window.
That’s all well and good, but what exactly is a no-fault incident? As far as the insurance company is concerned, there are two types of incidents, one where you are not at fault and one where you are. I bet you can guess which is no-fault. The latter is called at-fault. So unless you have a lot of no-fault incidents, your rates won’t go up, but if you have a few at-fault incidents and then get into a no-fault one, the insurance company might increase your premiums. It’s all a bit confusing. But even if you have been in a lot of accidents and your rates do go up, there are ways you can reduce them.
Probably the best and most straightforward way to lower your premiums is to raise your deductible, remember higher deductible equals lower rates. But only do this if you can cover the expense when the time comes to file a claim.
Another way is to bundle your policies. Basically, like any other company, insurers love loyalty. If you buy your home, life, or condo insurance through the same provider as your auto insurance, you could get a lower rate.
The last way you can get your premiums down is to get a coupon. There is a surprising number of insurance discounts that can significantly lower your rates. The most common is taking a defensive driving course, staying claims-free, having certain safety features installed in your car, having multiple vehicles insured, and simply being a good student. So study hard, kids, and you might get lower premiums on your auto insurance.
So your insurance premium won’t increase if you get a windshield replacement, but how do you file a claim?
How to File a Claim for Windshield Replacement?
Well, the very first thing you should do is call your insurance company and notify them of what happened. The sooner this happens, the better as they hate waiting, plus the damage could only get worse if you delay even a day or two. The Insurance Company will ask for details on the time and place of the accident; it’s also worth noting that if the damage originated from malicious intent, the police report would be beneficial to your agent. Alternatively, if you don’t like talking on the phone, you can file a claim online, but to get the best service possible, I think it’s better to call them up.
Now that everything else is taken care of, brace yourself! You have options. Your insurer will provide you with a network of repair shops that can get the job done. Those shops will offer mobile services, so you can get your windshield repaired at home or even the office. This is also where those pesky deductibles come into play. Once the mechanic has done his job, you will have to pay out of pocket directly to the shop, unless, of course, you have some auto glass replacement to waive the deductible.
But there is one more way you can go about this whole process. Depending on your insurance contract, you may be able to find a shop yourself, pay for everything yourself, and later be reimbursed by the company. Keep in mind that you should check with your agent before you do that. Check with your agent on the replacement policy as well. Although, in most cases, a damaged windshield is a “no-fault” incident, the circumstances of the accident may change that.
Insurance is a complicated topic, and windshield insurance is no different. There are many complicated factors that go into every decision, so it’s understandable if you still have some questions.
What if The Windshield Replacement Was Not Installed Correctly?
Simple, you take your car back to the auto repair shop, and they will be responsible for any problems that may have happened at no cost to you. But generally, insurance companies work only with the best of the best to ensure — no pun intended — the very best artistry, high-quality materials, and excellent customer service.
OEM vs. Aftermarket glass
I touched on this a bit at the beginning but let’s go a little bit more in-depth. OEM is short for Original Equipment Manufacturer. There are a few companies that supply windshields to different car brands. OEM glass is the original windshield that your car came with, and an Aftermarket windshield is everything else. Most of the time, you will be dealing with the latter, in other words, manufacturers that don’t supply car brands. Mainly because insurance companies will only pay for the Aftermarket price, seeing as how it’s a cheaper alternative. The only way to get a new OEM glass is if your car has a specific safety or technology specification attached to the windshield.
What is Recalibration?
Nowadays, many cars come with safety features, most of which are connected to the windshield. When you make use of your windshield insurance, those features will need to be recalibrated. While the extent of the recalibration varies between models and brands, most auto shops have all the necessary equipment to make it happen. Although there are some rare cases where you will need to go back to the dealership, don’t worry though. The insurance company will take care of that as well.
Where Should I Go for a Windshield Replacement?
I would recommend you my mechanic friend Chris. But if he can’t take you on, then you can ask your insurance company. They have a list of auto repair connections. You also might think that a dealership is a good alternative, but most have a network of repair shops. They don’t take care of your car themselves. It’s more likely than not that their auto repair connections overlap with your insurance company.
What is a Premium?
Now, the word “premium” has been thrown around a lot in this article, but what exactly does it mean? Maybe this will help put some perspective on the whole topic and help you decide if you should use insurance to replace a windshield.
Insurance premiums are what you pay for your policies. This can be a monthly, semi-annual, or even an upfront payment. If you don’t cover the premium, the result will be a cancellation of the policy. Generally, the price of the premium will vary depending on a lot of personal factors such as age, type of coverage, your place of residents, any past claims, and even whether or not the insurance company thinks you are a risk — a practice commonly referred to as “Moral hazard and Adverse Selection”. So the greater the risk, the higher the price.
A good example would be a teenager from the suburbs and a teenager from New York. The latter will have a much higher rate than the former. Given all this information, it’s possible to calculate your premiums. From there you can decide for yourself what to do.
So windshield insurance, like any type, can be a pain in the butt. Many complicated factors go into your insurance policy, all of which are intertwined but to summarise. Does insurance cover windshield replacement? Yes, it does. Should I use insurance to replace the windshield? It honestly depends. The windshield replacement process is a complicated one. Look at your car and how old it is, and also don’t forget to check for discounts. There might be some auto glass replacement waive deductible that can bring the price down by a lot.