Does my insurance cover windshield replacement?
Deductible May Apply
Alice Yao | Updated August 2nd, 2020
You are driving down the freeway and “bam!” a pebble smacks into your windshield and leaves behind a chip. It's a small chip and you decided to wait a bit before repairing the windshield. Few days later, you drive over a speed bump and that small chip instantly grows to a 6-inch crack.
“Does my insurance cover this?”
Yes, the good news is that the replacement or repair of your windshield may be covered by your car insurance policy if you carry comprehensive coverage.
Depending on your insurance company, there may even be $0 out-of-pocket expense for windshield damage repair when using your comprehensive coverage.
In this article, I will provide an in-depth review of windshield repair/replacement:
- How to determine whether to repair or replace windshield?
- How will my insurance cover windshield repair or replacement?
- Will my insurance premium increase because of windshield claim?
- What is the process of getting my windshield repair or replaced?
- Other commonly asked questions and scenarios.
How to determine whether to repair or replace windshield?
Most rock-chips and some small cracks are repairable. When a crack is longer than the size of a dollar bill, the windshield will need to be replaced.
If the chip or crack, regardless of its size, is in the direct line of the driver’s vision, it is also recommended to replace the windshield for precautionary measures.
This is why it is a good idea to fix any chip or small crack as soon as you notice it.
The smaller the chip or crack, the easier it is to contain the damage and keep it from spreading. Once the damage starts to spread, the chance of needing a replacement will be much higher.
If there are 3 or more chips on your windshield, most auto glass shops will strongly advise replacing the windshield to avoid these chips turning into major cracks and compromise the integrity of the glass.
In summary, windshield repair or replacement is determined by:
- Size of crack
- Location of crack
- Number of cracks
How will my insurance cover windshield repair or replacement?
Comprehensive coverage is the specific coverage used to cover your windshield damage, or any glass damage on your car.
Keep in mind that if your car is financed or leased, you already carry comprehensive coverage. Along with collision coverage, comprehensive coverage is required by your lender or lessor. This is to ensure that the collateral (your car) will be repaired and retains value even if anything were to happen to it.
There may be comprehensive deductible, which is your out-of-pocket expense to utilize this coverage. Depending on insurance companies, comprehensive deductibles can range from $0 to $2,000.
The amount of your comprehensive deductible is an option you choose when signing up for a new insurance policy.
Some insurance companies offer zero-deductible benefit for windshield repairs and only apply deductibles for windshield replacements.
A few insurance companies even offer a specific program just for glass damage protection. In this program, customers can opt to pay an additional premium to have a lower deductible on glass-only claims.
Be sure to review your insurance policy documents in detail and check with your insurance agent to verify how you are covered.
Will my insurance premium increase because of windshield claim?
Most major insurance companies' underwriting guidelines do not consider comprehensive claims as surchargeable claims. A surchargeable claim is when a claim directly impacts your insurance premium. You should not see your premium increase because of a claim used to replace a cracked windshield.
However, high frequency of windshield claims may be taken into consideration by insurance companies as one of the factors in determining future premium.
What is the process of getting my windshield repair or replaced?
First, notify your insurance agent of the damage on your windshield. You will be asked to provide the approximate date and time of when the damage first happened.
Then, once your claim is filed, you are required to select an auto glass shop. Your insurance agent should be able to provide a network of auto glass repair shops for you to choose.
Keep in mind that most auto glass shops offer mobile service for windshield repair or replacement, and they can work on your glass at your home or office.
Final step is payment. After the technician completes the necessary work on your car, you are responsible to pay the deductible directly to the shop.
You may also choose to take care of all these steps on your own and apply for reimbursement with your insurance agent.
It is important to keep in mind that depending on your insurance contract, you may not be fully reimbursed if your insurance company determines that the cost of the service exceeds the acceptable range.
To avoid paying more money out of pocket, always consult with your insurance agent prior to having any work completed on your windshield.
Other commonly asked questions
What happens if the windshield replacement was not installed correctly?
If an issue arises from improper installation and/or defective glass material, the auto glass shop will be responsible to correct the issue plus any resulting damage.
Most insurance companies have a partner network of auto glass shops. To qualify to become a partner, these shops must meet the standard of requirements and demonstrate:
- Quality workmanship
- High quality material
- Excellent customer service
Work performed by these qualified shops through the insurance company's referral network are guaranteed and have warranty on the work completed.
A customer story:
We had a customer who recently replaced his windshield and noticed a patch of fog developing in the top corner of the glass. As he looks closer, he also notices some dampness in that area inside the car.
The customer contacted me and I was able to reach out to the shop and schedule an immediate inspection right away. It was determined that the molding around the windshield was not sealed properly.
Without delay, the glass shop moved to replace the windshield on the same day, and took extra steps to make sure the molding was sealed properly.
What is an OEM glass and how does it differ from aftermarket glass?
In the process of replacing your car windshield, you may come across these terms: OEM glass and aftermarket glass.
OEM is short for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM glass refers to glass produced in the same production line as the manufacturer used to supply the original windshield that came with your car when it was brand new.
There are less than a dozen major auto glass manufacturers, most notably there are four that are recognized as OEM: Saint-Gobain, Asahi Glass, Pilkington, and PPG.
An aftermarket windshield is glass manufactured by a company that does not supply to an automaker. In some instances, a glass can also be considered aftermarket even if it is manufactured by OEM makers but under a different production line.
Most insurance companies will only pay for windshield replacement up to the cost of an aftermarket glass. Your insurance company may only approve an OEM glass replacement if your vehicle has specific safety or technology specification attached to the windshield that will only function properly with an OEM windshield.
What does a recalibration mean after I replace my windshield?
Many late model cars now come with exceptional safety features such as lane departure warning and 360-degree cameras and sensors. A number of these features are directly connected to the windshield.
In the process of replacing windshield, these safety features will need to be reconnected and recalibrated in order to function correctly. Recalibration steps vary with the brand and model of car. Most auto glass shops have the necessary equipment to perform recalibration of these safety features.
In rare instances, you may need to take your car to a dealership for recalibration after windshield replacement. Your insurance company should cover any additional cost to complete this work.
Should I go to my dealership for windshield replacement?
Many dealerships are branded as one-stop service for all your car needs, including windshield replacements and even auto body work. Most of them actually utilize third party shops to replace or repair windshield damage.
If you contact a dealership to inquire about windshield replacement, a service advisor will likely refer you to one of the third party auto glass shops. There is a good chance that the preferred glass shop is also in the referral network of your insurance company.
Every insurance company has its own guidelines for policies. We always recommend talking to your insurance agent to discuss your personal policies in detail. Be sure to also discuss your windshield coverage, so when the next time a rock hits your windshield, you know exactly how to take care of it.
By Alice Yao |