Since windshields play such an important part of safety in our vehicles, it's important to quickly address any damage they suffer, no matter how small. The good news is that most insurance companies provide coverage for damaged windshields but knowing the exact out-of-pocket costs you can expect to pay comes down to different variables. To find out more about windshield damage as it relates to insurance coverage, we talked to the windshield experts at Safelite AutoGlass®.
Safelite says most drivers with comprehensive vehicle insurance are likely to have a zero-dollar deductible for windshield repairs. In Safelite’s experience, they’ve found the most success with windshield repair when there are three or fewer chips, and with cracks less than six inches. Repairing a chipped or cracked windshield is done by cleaning the damaged area, and then, under a vacuum, injecting a strong resin, which is then cured under ultraviolet light, providing a rock-hard finish. A successful repair means you don’t have to have the entire windshield replaced!
There are many states where insurance companies are required to offer zero deductible coverage for windshield damage. Check with your insurance company or your agent. You may be eligible for a full windshield replacement with no out-of-pocket costs!
For this reason, it's important to get any windshield damage addressed quickly to avoid added out-of-pocket costs. If you aren't able to get the damage repaired immediately, you can take steps to help lessen the likelihood that the crack or chip will spread by not exposing the windshield to direct sunlight or extreme temperature changes (such as spraying cold water on a hot windshield).
When it comes to larger cracks that may require a full windshield replacement, drivers with comprehensive vehicle insurance will likely only have to pay a deductible in most states, while drivers in Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina (aka, zero deductible states) may be able to get a full windshield replacement under their comprehensive coverage with no deductible or out-of-pocket costs by law. Some states like Arizona and Massachusetts offer you a choice to buy specific glass coverage with zero deductible.
One thing drivers in these states should watch out for are solicitors approaching them in parking lots, gas stations, and car washes, or even coming to their house, trying to get them to replace their windshield even if there is no damage requiring a replacement. They will also try to strong-arm you into signing an assignment of benefits agreement for glass replacement, giving them the right to collect on the claim they offer to file for you. There are other scams involving windshield repairs that drivers should know about. Safelite has outlined how to identify these scams and protect yourself.
As you can see, insurance coverage for windshield repair and replacement depends largely on your insurance policy and the state in which you live. Just as the costs of windshield repair and replacement vary by the make and model of a vehicle, so too does the amount of coverage your vehicle will get, but reputable shops, like Safelite, work with most insurance companies and can help you figure out how much, if any, the out-of-pocket costs will be. Safelite will also see if your windshield can be repaired before recommending a full replacement.
In terms of whether a windshield claim will affect your insurance rates, Safelite recommends contacting your insurance company directly for a definitive answer before taking your car in for service.