It’s one of the worst feelings ever – that thunk that causes your heart to leap out of your chest as a rock jumps up off the road (seemingly with a mind of its own) and hits your windshield. And then, sure enough, there’s a good-sized crack in the formerly spotless glass. It’s frustrating and upsetting because there’s nothing you can do other than resign yourself to dealing with the cracked windshield.
If it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone – according to Insurance Journal, 7.5 million claims are filed for car glass damage every year, and 80% of those are for windshield damage. It’s the most common car insurance claim out there.
If you’re in the “I’ve got a cracked windshield” boat, you might be wondering a few things:
- Do I need to get my windshield repaired if it’s chipped or cracked?
- Can my windshield be repaired instead of replaced?
- Do I need to replace my windshield instead of repairing it?
- Will my car insurance cover a cracked windshield?
- Do I have to pay my deductible for glass repair?
- How do I choose a company to repair it?
These questions might be rattling around in your head. Thankfully, we can help answer them and give you some intel as to how to handle your annoyingly cracked windshield.
Do I need to get my windshield repaired if it’s chipped or cracked?
Yes. Even if you only have a small chip in your windshield, it can easily spread and become a crack, which can become a bigger crack…You get the point. Once the damage is done, it’s easy for that minor chip to become a bigger problem. You might hit a speed bump. The outside temperature could fluctuate, which affects the glass. You might need to use your AC or defoggers, which can create contrasting temperatures. Or simply driving and forcing your car to absorb the vibrations of the road can cause that chip to crack.
All of that aside, repairing your windshield is not just about making your car pretty again. It’s about making sure your car is structurally sound. The windshield needs to be sturdy and strong so it can serve its purpose and support the frame of the car (nope, it’s not just there so you can see out of it.)
Pro tip: Don’t delay in getting a chip repaired. Many times small chips or cracks can be repaired, so you may not have to replace your windshield. Which is way more expensive.
Can my windshield be repaired instead of replaced?
The magic that glass repair folks wield is pretty impressive. If the chip or crack is small enough, a reputable, trustworthy glass repair service might be able to repair the damage and leave nary a trace of anything having gone wrong. Windshields are designed so that the glass will splinter into very, very fine cracks when they’re hit, and these cracks can actually be filled and smoothed.
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Do I need a windshield replacement instead of a repair?
Maybe. If any of the following apply to your unfortunate windshield, you probably need to get the glass replaced instead of having it repaired:
- The crack or damage is over six inches.
- The damage occurred close to the edge of the windshield.
- Your line of sight is obscured by the damage.
Even though a replacement might be more expensive, it’s well worth it to make sure that your vehicle is as safe as possible. That glass needs to be able to stand up to the normal, everyday wear and tear that your car goes through.
Will my car insurance cover a cracked windshield?
If you have comprehensive car insurance, you should be able to get the cracked windshield covered. (Of course, you need to read your policy carefully to see if you’re covered and, if you are, to understand the terms of the glass damage coverage.) Comprehensive insurance is the coverage that will repair damage to your vehicle if it’s caused by something other than a collision. Examples of covered losses are animal strikes, falling objects (i.e. trees), fire, vandalism, and theft. Anyways, if you’re covered for glass damage it would fall under your comprehensive coverage. If you only have liability insurance for your vehicle, you would not be covered.
Do I have to pay my deductible?
You might not be looking forward to paying your car insurance deductible. But there’s good news if you live in Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina – these are called “zero deductible states” when it comes to glass damage because they waive the deductible for windshield repair or replacement as per state law. The reason? Driving with a chipped or cracked windshield is dangerous.
(And if you live in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, or New York, you could be allowed to buy down the deductible in exchange for a higher premium for comprehensive coverage.)
If you live in one of the forty-seven states that don’t waive the glass damage deductible, not all hope is lost. Many insurance companies will waive the deductible if you’re just getting the windshield repaired instead of replaced. (Another reason to hop to it when it comes to getting a chip taken care of!)
How do I choose a company to repair or replace my cracked windshield?
There are several important things to consider when you’re choosing a service to repair or replace your windshield. Do they have good reviews? Is it a trustworthy business? Do they have warranties for their work? How do they train their people, and how much training to their employees get? Are they certified? Do they have their employees wear gloves so that the natural oils on their skin don’t interfere with the adhesive used on the glass? What kind of adhesive will they use? And do they have guarantees for their work?
Keep in mind too that there are a lot of mobile glass repair services that will come to you. They can usually repair or replace a windshield fairly quickly, and they’ll travel to where you are. It might beat having to take your car to the shop.
So, that’s the deal with cracked windshields and car insurance. It’s a good idea to get a chip or crack repaired ASAP because it’s simply not safe to drive with a damaged windshield. If you have comprehensive coverage, you’re probably covered for glass damage. Glass damage is super frustrating, but it shouldn’t be too difficult of a fix.
If you’re looking for auto insurance quotes, we can help. Our team of agents can help you get the car insurance you need to protect your vehicle. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.