A windshield is one of the vehicle’s essential components, yet it is highly vulnerable to damage and breakage during the car’s lifespan. Around 30% of all auto insurance claims in the United States of America are about windshields, and about 14 million windshield replacements happen each year.
Did you happen to be one of those 14 million lucky ones?
Stay calm and read what you need to know about windshield replacement.
Should you go for OEM or aftermarket? How much does windshield replacement cost? What are the best windshield replacement companies? Does insurance cover windshield replacement? How much does windshield replacement cost without insurance? How long does it take to change a windshield?
I’ve got all the answers.
- Choosing Between Windshield Replacement or Repair
- How Long Does Windshield Replacement Take?
- The Windshield Replacement Process
- Car Windshield Replacement – DIY or Professional
- Average Cost of Windshield Replacement
- Will My Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?
- Finding Windshield Replacement Near Me
Choosing Between Windshield Replacement or Repair
There is a huge difference between repairing the windshield repair and replacement in terms of cost, time, and mental power to deal with. Repair is generally cheaper but, unfortunately, you don’t really often have a choice. Your windshield is either repairable or it is not.
So, the first things to do?
Find out whether your windshield is repairable.
Not all damages are repairable. Likewise, not all damages have to end up in a windshield replacement. If you read the article I linked above but it did not help, a glass expert can give you a definite answer.
Generally speaking, whether your windshield is repairable will depend on the size, depth, type, and location of the damage.
How Long Does Windshield Replacement Take?
A windshield replacement does not take as long as many people think. In general, it should not take more than an hour to replace a windshield with minor cracks and chips. In some cases, it can be as quick as 30 minutes to complete the process. But if the glass is totally shattered, it may take more time considering the necessary cleaning job to get rid of all debris.
The actual time it may take to replace the windshield may take less than an hour. But it is crucial to allocate at least 3 hours or more for the replacement schedule. Once you install the new windshield, it is advisable not to drive the vehicle for about one hour or more to allow enough time for the new windshield to settle down and the adhesive to harden enough to keep the windshield properly secure and in place. You can’t remove the tape, wash the car, or slam the doors for the next 48 hours.
The Windshield Replacement Process
Windshield replacement should be done by glass experts, considering the complex nature of the job that also requires extreme care and proper handling of highly fragile materials like the windshield. Reckless handling of materials and inaccurate placement could lead to an expensive breakage, and that’s probably not what you are hoping to achieve. However, if you’re a do-it-yourself enthusiast, no one is stopping you from performing the auto windshield replacement on your own, and here is a guide on how to replace a windshield.
Car Windshield Replacement – DIY or Professional
When it comes to windshield replacement, there’s always a choice between DIY or professional. Which one should you choose? More often than not, the choice is dictated by cost. Many car owners would wonder how much a windshield replacement costs or a windshield replacement fee. The installation cost will add up to the total replacement expenses, and you can significantly save a lot if you can avoid professional installation and go for the DIY option.
However, if you opt to replace the windshield on your own, you need to have the time to do the process plus the passion for DIY projects. In the digital world, we live in today, there are plenty of resources, and you can easily find videos that show the step-by-step process of the whole installation. Nothing should go wrong if you can adequately follow each step of the procedures.
In any case, there are pros and cons to each option between DIY or professional installation services. So, let’s check them out so you can arrive at a better decision between the two choices.
DIY Windshield Installation – Pros and Cons
A DIY installation is an available choice if the insurance does not cover the replacement of the windshield. Otherwise, you have no choice but to adhere to the insurance coverage stipulations and have the replacement done in accredited shops.
- It might be cheaper, although generally, they are around the same price range. Everything you’ll need for a DIY replacement will cost you $100 on the lower end and $400 on the higher. In comparison, the average cost for a professional replacement is around $200-$400.
- Flexibility in time, and you can do it anytime as you please without needing an appointment.
- You will learn new skills.
- Needs ample time for the preparation and installation of the glass
- You should have suitable materials and tools to use for the installation.
- It would help if you had a partner, and doing it solo may increase the chances of breakage when handling the highly fragile windshield glass.
Professional Glass Expert Windshield Installation – Pros and Cons
Going for professional services is always the best option. As most people would say, “Leave it to the experts.” After all, it’s their job, and they have the experience advantage, while some of them have undergone proper training. Moreover, experts know the correct pressure to apply to the glass after the windshield is installed. But, despite the many benefits, there are also a few flaws with this option. Too much pressure and the glass could break, while too little and the adhesives may not settle down enough to harden in a tight grip.
- Stress-free replacement — leave it to the experts.
- Clean and professional finish
- They have the more advanced equipment and the right tools for the job.
- You need to have an appointment for the replacement, and sometimes it may take time to get a schedule, further delaying the process.
- It could be more expensive if not covered by insurance.
Cost is a critical decision factor between the two options. If cost is not an issue, by all means, let the experts do the professional replacement of the windshield. But if you love working on DIY projects during weekends, a windshield replacement presents an excellent opportunity for another DIY task you can look forward to.
Average Cost of Windshield Replacement
Different car brands (Mustang, Jeep) and models have different prices for OEM and aftermarket replacement windshields.
To give you a ballpark number, an aftermarket windshield should average around $200 to $500, with some expensive windshields going for about $1000 (luxury vehicles, collectors’ car, etc).
A windshield replacement cost will depend on the model of your vehicle and the year it was made. So, a Porsche 911 GT3 windshield will cost a lot more than one for a Ford Fiesta.
I have researched the most popular car models, you can find their costs on this page.
When it comes to cost, keep in mind that an OEM replacement is usually expensive, considering that you’re getting practically the same glass quality from the same windshield manufacturer that supplies the carmaker. Aftermarket windshields are a cheaper alternative.
Will My Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?
Does car insurance cover windshield replacement? It’s a common question when it comes to the replacement of shattered windshields. With regards to this issue, there are generally two types of insurance coverage for the windshield. Let’s have a quick walkthrough of these two major types of coverage.
Comprehensive coverage will shoulder the responsibility of all damages unrelated to a collision with another car. This includes theft, weather damage, glass damage, fire, flying/falling-object damage, and vandalism. If you want to have a fail-safe for collisions, then you will need to purchase Collision Coverage. Comprehensive and Collision are bundled together most of the time, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Now, most of the time, your insurance will cover a windshield replacement or even repair, minus a deductible. But there have been instances where people have realized a bit too late that their policies don’t cover certain types of windshield damage, so you should double-check that.
Typically, comprehensive coverage will require a deductible fee anywhere from a hundred dollars to a thousand for premium windshields. But in some states, some regulations mandate insurance companies not to apply deductibles on claims for safety glasses like the windshield, including the back windshield replacement. So, it is advisable to check the applicable regulations in your local area concerning insurance claims on windshield replacement.
Full Glass Coverage
In some states, insurance companies offer full glass coverage for the windshield, either as part of the comprehensive policy or as additional coverage. But usually, this is provided as additional coverage that requires additional payment on top of the standard premium. The good thing about full glass coverage is there’s no deductible fee, and a windshield replacement won’t cost you anything.
Although there are regulations for no deductibles on safety glasses like the windshield in some states, a full glass coverage is best in areas without such state regulations. You are protected from unexpected expenses during windshield damages for a small amount of additional investment on full glass coverage.
Finding Windshield Replacement Near Me
There’s always an aftermarket windshield specialist around you, and you can search for them in your local directory. Sometimes, they are advertised on various ad platforms along with contact details.
I am putting together a list of the best windshield replacement companies. I only have Phoenix Arizona and Colorado Springs windshield replacement companies for now, but I am working on adding more.
But if you opt for OEM windshield replacement, you have to do more research. Popular brands or suppliers of OEM automotive glasses are AP Tech, Saint-Gobain Sekurit (SGS), Carlite, Mopar, Pilkington, and PPG. For aftermarket glass specialists, Safelite, Glass Doctor, and Auto Glass are among the popular names that pop out.
Windshield problems are part of car ownership, and shattered glasses are common occurrences. While the potential costs are pretty expensive, the windshield replacement should be no-frills if you’re covered by comprehensive insurance or full glass coverage. Without insurance, there are choices to make. You can either go for an OEM or aftermarket windshield.
The best route would be to go for OEM replacement for added assurance on quality. But if you’re short on budget, there’s always the aftermarket solution, offering the chance for a cheap windshield replacement.
Once you have come up with a decision, the next choice to make is to either use the professional services of glass experts to replace the windshield or choose the DIY option. Either way, it’s your choice. What matters most is you have a new durable and reliable windshield without causing too much stress on your part while having the peace of mind of restoring your car’s structural integrity and safety measures.