Does Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?

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Your insurer might pay to replace your broken windshield.
Your insurer might pay to replace your broken windshield. (Image: steering wheel image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

A windshield can be damaged in any number of ways. But whether the windshield has a number of small pits, a small spider crack, a large crack or a big hole, you may be wondering whether your insurance company will pay for the repair or replacement glass. Unfortunately, as with many insurance issues, the answer depends on a number of factors.

Wear and Tear

One day you realize that your windshield has dozens of small chips in it. These pits don't often obscure your vision while driving, but they're usually there on older cars that have driven on freeways for several years. Don't count on your insurance helping you with the replacement cost. Because this type of uniform damage is consistent with customary usage, it is excluded from coverage. Insurance never pays for damage caused by normal wear and tear.

Comprehensive Insurance

If the windshield sustains damage from anything other than normal wear and tear, check your policy to ensure you have comprehensive coverage. Glass coverage is nearly always written under the comprehensive label. Some insurers will repair a windshield, rather than replace it, without cost to you if the damage is minor enough. If you have comprehensive, you may be able to recover some of the replacement cost of the windshield.

Deductible

Even if you carry comprehensive coverage, you may still not be able to charge your insurance company for the cost. When you file a comprehensive claim, you must pay the deductible amount before the insurance company pays any benefits. If the windshield costs $350, for example, but the deductible is $500, the cost would not exceed your deductible. If, however, the deductible is only $100, the insurer should pay the balance of the cost over $100. Insurers in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts and South Carolina are not permitted by law to charge deductibles for glass replacement, according to Glass.net.

Raised Premiums

Even if you have verified coverage under your policy for a windshield replacement, you may still hesitate to file a claim out of fear of raised premiums. If the cost of the increased premium outweighs the benefit, it won't be worth it. Unless your windshield was damaged in an at-fault accident, in which case there is likely other damage to your vehicle as well, the damage does not correlate to your driving ability or record. Since insurers generally raise rates according to negligence, a no-fault claim like windshield replacement should not affect your rates, according to CarInsurance.com.

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