Does a cracked windshield need to be repaired or replaced?

Last updated: January 1

Your windshield is bound to take a beating from time to time. Windshield repairs and replacements should be done as soon as possible to help prevent them from getting worse. In certain situations, windshield damage could be covered under the comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy.

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When to replace your windshield

According to, you should replace your windshield when:

  1. The glass is tempered, not laminated.
  2. The crack is longer than a dollar bill.
  3. The crack or chip is deep enough that it went more than halfway into the windshield.
  4. The crack or chip extends to the outside edge of the windshield.

Be sure to consult an auto glass repair professional, who can help you decide whether your windshield should be repaired or replaced.

Beware of windshield replacement scams

According to Safelite, drivers with windshield damage should watch out for scams that could be insurance fraud. This may include "free" windshield replacements or replacing undamaged windshields.

3 simple ways to protect yourself against windshield replacement scams recommends you take these steps to protect yourself:

  1. Look for companies affiliated with the Auto Glass Safety Council.
  2. Ask what kind of warranty covers the work.
  3. Get more than one written estimate when you're looking for a repair company.
  4. Pay only once the work has been completed.

How windshield repairs work

To repair a windshield, resin is injected into the chipped area and holes can be drilled into cracks to help prevent them from spreading. Either way, it takes someone experienced to do the work, according to Popular Mechanics.

Fix a damaged windshield as soon as possible. A small chip can spread across the windshield if you hit a big pothole, drive on a bumpy road or make an aggressive turn, says Most states even make it illegal to drive a car with a cracked windshield, according to the Insurance Information Institute.