Broken Windshield; now what?

Windshield damage is common. Gravel and rocks, weather damage and even temperature changes can all cause your windshield to crack, chip or shatter. How insurance handles a windshield repair or replacement depends on what kind of auto glass coverage you have, how the damage happened and the extent of the damage.

Comprehensive coverage

Damage to your windshield and vehicle windows will be covered most of the time as long as you have comprehensive insurance, an optional coverage that’s usually purchased with collision insurance. Essentially, it protects your vehicle from any type of damage not caused by another car, including:

  • A pebble flying into your windshield
  • A tree branch falling on your windshield
  • A baseball crashing into your windshield
  • Acts of vandalism
  • An animal crashing into your windshield

If the damage is small — an isolated chip or a crack that’s just a few inches long — it may be possible to repair it. But if your windshield has a larger crack or is shattered, it will need to be replaced. You’ll also need to replace your windshield if the damage is in the driver’s line of sight.

Many insurers cover windshield repairs with no deductible as long as you use a company within the insurer’s network.

Full glass coverage

In some states, full glass coverage is included with comprehensive coverage, or you can add glass coverage to your policy. If you have full glass coverage, you likely won’t have to pay a deductible if your windshield has to be repaired or replaced. (Additionally, regulations in some states prohibit insurance companies from applying a deductible to claims for damaged glass.)

Full glass coverage adds glass breakage as an additional named peril to the auto insurance policy. These policies typically cover broken sunroofs, windows and windshields, but not mirrors, dashboard screens or similar.

Some drivers choose to get full glass coverage if they live on a gravel road or if they frequently drive off-road.

Accident damage

If your windshield is damaged in a vehicle accident, your collision coverage will likely cover repairs or replacement. If the accident was your fault and you carry collision insurance, your collision policy will cover the windshield, but you’ll first have to pay your collision deductible.

If your windshield is damaged in a vehicle accident and the other driver is at fault, that driver’s liability coverage will pay for the windshield. Since liability insurance has no deductibles, there’s no cost to you.

Safety is important

Your windshield’s primary role is to protect you and your passengers from wind, water and debris, but it also can help reduce crash injuries and even save lives.

Your vehicle’s windshield plays a role in front air bag deployment and supports the vehicle roof in a rollover to help prevent it from collapsing. For the safety of you and your passengers, windshield damage should be repaired promptly. Plus, a prompt repair can prevent a small nick or crack from spreading into a much larger area of damage.

To learn more about your auto glass coverage or to find out if full glass coverage is available in your state (and worth the investment), speak to your insurance professional.

Copyright © 2020 Applied Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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