Auto Insurance Covers Windshield Replacement

Does Auto Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?



A chipped windshield can turn into a safety risk and a potential wallet-waster. A seemingly minor crack can quickly worsen, jeopardizing your car’s structural integrity and even hindering airbag deployment during a collision.


While repairs can be a quick and affordable alternative for minor damages, a full windshield replacement can be expensive. In this regard, comprehensive auto insurance can be a lifesaver.


Regardless of the route you choose, do not ignore a damaged windshield. It is more than just a barrier from the elements; it is a crucial safety component.

Here is a summary of what this article will cover:


  • We will review the different types of auto insurance and if they cover windshield replacement or repair.
  • We shall explore if your auto insurance covers windshield issues and what you will pay out-of-pocket.
  • We will weigh the pros and cons of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) versus aftermarket windshields.
  • We shall guide you through the insurance claim process for a hassle-free experience.
  • Learn proactive measures to minimize the risk of windshield cracks or chips.

Understanding Auto Insurance Coverage

While basic, affordable car insurance meets legal requirements, it will not help with a cracked windshield. Expanding to full coverage often includes comprehensive auto insurance, which tackles repairs for non-collision events. It usually covers windshield damage caused by objects like a rock or weather events.


However, the cause of the crack and your state’s regulations could influence the specific coverage applied. Some insurers offer dedicated auto glass coverage, potentially with a lower deductible or no deductible at all for repairs or replacements (including other car windows). For minor windshield chips or cracks, some insurers may waive your deductible altogether, even without full glass coverage.


Modern cars with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) might require camera recalibration after a windshield replacement. Your motor insurance coverage may pay for the ADAS recalibration, but not all repair shops are equipped to handle it. Check with your insurer to find out if your auto insurance policy covers this additional expense.



Comprehensive Coverage and Windshield Replacement

Comprehensive auto insurance is vital in covering windshield damage caused by events beyond collisions with other vehicles. This includes situations like:

  • Falling objects: Branches, debris, or hail can crack or shatter your windshield.
  • Animal collisions: Striking a deer, bird, or other animal can damage your windshield.
  • Other non-collision events: Your car’s windshield may be damaged by vandalism, theft, or even fire.

If you have opted for third-party coverage, it will not cover your car damages. But in case of an accident where the opposite party is at fault, you can claim coverage through their third-party liability insurance.



Deductible and Coverage Limits

When it comes to windshield repair or replacement, understanding deductibles and coverage limits can help you navigate the financial side of things. Here is a breakdown:



This is the upfront cost you pay for covered services before your insurance company begins paying its share. Typical deductibles for comprehensive claims (which cover windshield damage) can range from $250 to $1,000. If the windshield repair or replacement costs less than your deductible, you will likely shoulder the entire expense.


Zero Deductible States

Some states, like Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina, have laws preventing insurers from applying deductibles to comprehensive glass claims. This implies you would not pay anything if your windshield needs fixing under these circumstances.


Free Repairs for Minor Damage

Depending on the size and location of the crack, some auto glass repair shops might even fix it for free. It is always worth getting a quote before filing a claim, as a minor repair could save you the hassle and potential deductible payment.



OEM vs. Aftermarket Windshield Replacement

When faced with a damaged windshield, the choice between OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and aftermarket replacements arises. Here is a quick guide to help you decide:


OEM Windshields



  • Engineered to match your car’s original specifications for optimal performance and safety.
  • Ensured compatibility with features like driver-assistance cameras.
  • Often built with high-quality materials for better scratch and discoloration resistance.


  • Typically more expensive than aftermarket options.


Aftermarket Windshields



  • Generally a budget-friendly choice.
  • Easier to find replacements for various car models.


  • Quality can vary depending on the manufacturer, potentially impacting safety or features.
  • It may not perfectly match the original windshield’s curvature or thickness, affecting structural integrity.
  • It might not be compatible with advanced driver-assistance systems requiring recalibration

The decision hinges on your priorities. If maximizing safety and ensuring seamless functionality are paramount, OEM windshields are the ideal choice. However, if budget is a primary concern and your car lacks advanced driver-assistance features, a high-quality aftermarket option can be a viable alternative. When considering an aftermarket windshield, prioritize reputable brands known for quality and ensure compatibility with your car’s specific features.



Filing a Claim for Windshield Replacement

A damaged windshield is a ticking time bomb! Here is a fast-track approach to filing a claim and getting your car back in top shape before further damage occurs.

  • Assess the Damage: First, take a good look at the crack or chip. A rule of thumb is that if it is longer than six inches, a full windshield replacement is likely needed. Slight nicks might be repairable by a professional. However, if unsure, consult your insurance company or a glass specialist.
  • Contact Your Insurance: Initiate a claim online. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process, which can be done online, over the phone, or by visiting your local agent.
  • Gather Information: Be prepared to share details like the date and cause of the damage, your policy number, and contact information. You might also need photos or measurements of the damage to help the adjuster determine the best course of action.
  • Choose a Repair Shop: Many insurers have a network of approved glass shops. You can either pick one from their list or choose your trusted provider. Ensure the shop accepts your insurance and the cost aligns with your coverage.
  • Schedule the Repair: Once the claim is approved, the shop will contact you to schedule the windshield replacement or repair. Some companies even offer mobile services where the technician comes directly to you.
  • Pay Your Deductible: Depending on your policy, you might have a deductible to pay upfront at the shop. You could also cover the entire cost and seek reimbursement from your insurance later.


Exceptions and Exclusions for Windshield Replacement 

While comprehensive auto insurance typically covers windshield damage, there can be exceptions and exclusions, depending on your specific policy and state laws. Here are some common scenarios that might not be covered:

  • Normal wear and tear: Gradual deterioration, such as minor scratches or pits from daily use, is generally excluded from coverage.
  • Pre-existing damage: If your windshield had an existing crack or chip before a new incident caused further damage, the insurance company might not cover the repairs.
  • Driver negligence: Your claim could be denied if the damage resulted from your intentional or reckless actions.
  • Cosmetic damage: Strictly cosmetic blemishes that do not affect the structural integrity of the windshield might not be covered.
  • Aftermarket windshield issues: If you have an aftermarket windshield installed and it malfunctions or causes problems, your insurance company might not cover the repairs.
  • State-Specific Exclusions: While most states follow general guidelines, some might have specific exclusions related to windshield replacement. While Florida and South Carolina generally waive deductibles for comprehensive glass claims, there might be specific limitations or exclusions outlined in the state laws. Therefore, always double-check your policy details.


Essential Tips for Prevention

Your windshield is a critical safety barrier, protecting you from dust and debris and helping maintain the car’s structural integrity. Here are some practical tips to help prevent windshield damage:

  1. Practice Defensive Driving: Driving slower gives you more reaction time and reduces the impact of any flying objects that might hit your windshield. Be extra cautious during adverse weather conditions like rain, hail, or strong winds, which can carry debris.
  2. Minimize Time on Busy Roads: Be extra vigilant on busy roads with heavy traffic, which increases the likelihood of objects flying off another car and hitting your windshield. Consider alternative routes with less congestion whenever possible.
  3. Increase Distance on Highways: Leave ample space between your car and the vehicle in front of you, especially on highways and around larger trucks. A buffer zone reduces the risk of getting hit by debris dislodged from their wheels or unsecured cargo.
  4. Avoid Gravel Roads: Gravel can be kicked up by passing vehicles or your tires, potentially causing chips in your windshield. Opt for paved roads whenever possible.
  5. Address Minor Damage Promptly: Small chips or cracks can quickly spread into larger cracks, requiring a full windshield replacement.
  6. Park Smart: Extreme temperature fluctuations can stress your windshield, potentially leading to cracks. Park your car indoors or in shaded areas whenever possible to shield your windshield from random falling objects.


The Bottom Line

That chip you see today can transform into a spiderweb of cracks tomorrow. A weakened windshield can cave in during a rollover accident or fail to adequately distribute the force of an impact, increasing the risk of injury to you and your passengers.

Early intervention can also prevent further damage and ensure optimal visibility while driving. Remember, the right auto insurance can be your financial windshield, deflecting the blow of unexpected repairs.

So, if yours has been compromised, do not despair. Auto Glass America is your one-stop shop for expert windshield replacement and repair. We specialize in restoring safety to all vehicle makes, models, and ages.

Do not delay your safety! Fix your windshield today with insurance coverage as well as stress-free cash payment with Auto Glass America.

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