Publish Date: January 2016
Even if you are a careful driver, windshield damage can take you by surprise. A car ahead of you kicks up a piece of gravel, or a rock falls loose from a truck, and suddenly you’re facing the prospect of repairs — and repair bills.
If your windshield is cracked or shattered by a rock, your auto insurance may be able to help. Comprehensive or full glass coverage may be available to help protect you against the cost of fixing or replacing a windshield.
If your windshield is cracked but hasn’t shattered, a qualified windshield specialist can help you make a decision about whether repair or replacement is better for your vehicle.
According to the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), repair is generally much less expensive than replacement, provided it’s appropriate. The NWRA suggests that repairs should be carried out as soon as possible, to prevent cracks developing or getting worse. A useful rule of thumb is that a chip or crack smaller than a dollar bill can generally be repaired, but always consult a specialist to help make your.
Comprehensive coverage may help pay to replace or repair a damaged windshield, if it's hit by a rock or another object. Comprehensive insurance coverage may also help to protect you against other risks that don’t involve collision with another vehicle, such as fire, theft, falling objects or hail.
Full glass coverage may be available in some states as part of your comprehensive coverage or in addition to it, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). With full glass coverage, you may not have to pay a deductible for the repair of your windshield. If you're interested in purchasing this optional coverage, check with your agent to see if it's available in your state.
A deductible is the amount of money that you will pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in to help pay for a claim. Whether you pay a deductible for a damaged windshield claim depends on your policy and the state where you live.
Keep in mind that your car insurance policy typically only covers the amount of a claim that exceeds the deductible (up to the policy's limits). An example of how this could play out: Say you have a deductible of $500 on your comprehensive coverage. Now, if you make a glass claim to repair your cracked windshield and it costs $233, you would end up paying entirely out-of-pocket.
However, there are situations when you may not pay a deductible on a glass claim:
- If your comprehensive coverage includes a glass repair agreement: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners explains that if your windshield only needs repair (and not replacement), some insurance companies won’t apply the deductible. Ask your agent if your comprehensive coverage includes a glass repair agreement.
- If you've opted for full glass coverage: As explained above, full glass coverage (in states where it's available) may help pay for the repair of your windshield with no deductible applied.
- If state laws mandate that the deductible not be applied: In certain states, regulations mandate that insurers cannot apply a deductible on comprehensive claims for windshield damages, according the Insurance Journal. In those states, you may be able to repair or replace your windshield without paying a deductible.
In short, comprehensive auto coverage may help to protect your vehicle against a number of perils. One of those risks might be a rock cracking or shattering your car’s windshield. Whether you’ll pay a deductible can depend on whether your windshield needs repair or replacement, the kind of coverage you’ve purchased, and the laws of your state.
Windshield damage can’t always be prevented, but having the proper coverage in place may help you get repairs made, so you can get back on the road.