Due to no fault of your own, a rock flew off the highway, struck your windshield and left a chip the size of a dime right in your line of vision. Now, whenever you drive, you run the added risk of having an obstruction on your windshield. You may wonder if your insurance can help you with this issue, but like many insurance issues, the answer is not the same in all circumstances.
Full Coverage Definition
Auto insurance does not contain a coverage called "full coverage." Rather, this is the term commonly applied to the physical damage portions of your insurance policy, specifically your comprehensive and collision coverages. If you carry both comprehensive and collision, chances are very good that your policy pays for windshield damage, regardless of how the damage is caused. However, some companies require you to select glass coverage separately, so check with your agent to make sure.
Both comprehensive and collision carry a per-occurrence deductible, meaning that every time you file a claim of this kind, you must pay the deductible. Deductibles generally range from $100 to $1,000, with higher deductibles resulting in smaller premiums. While your policy may contain coverage for windshield damage, your insurer will not provide any benefits if the total cost of the repair is less than your deductible amount.
Some states have laws that require insurers to waive the deductible for windshield damage. These states are Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts and South Carolina, as of April 2011. If you live in one of these states and carry physical damage coverage, your insurer will pay for the windshield damage without cost to you regardless of the size of your policy deductible. Florida and Massachusetts apply the zero-deductible principle only to windshields, while Kentucky and South Carolina cover all vehicle glass this way.
Free Repair Option
Some insurance companies allow you to repair a chipped windshield at no charge. Read your policy to see if this benefit is available to you. Repairing the windshield rather than replacing it has many benefits. The cost is significantly lower, and you get to maintain the original factory seal around your windshield. Some insurers provide repairs for free because they would prefer to pay the small fee to avoid the larger fee of a replacement. If you repair minor damage as it occurs, it may never spread enough to warrant new glass.