Does my insurance cover windshield cracks?

Young man wearing a green rain jacket sitting inside his car and checking his phone to see if his insurance covers windshield cracksImage: Young man wearing a green rain jacket sitting inside his car and checking his phone to see if his insurance covers windshield cracks

In a Nutshell

A crack in your car’s windshield can cause unsafe driving conditions. So it’s important to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible. But will insurance cover it? Depending on what caused the crack and the types of auto insurance coverage you have, windshield repair may be covered.
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If your car’s windshield needs repairs or replacement, understanding the glass coverage you have on your auto insurance policy can help you decide whether to file a claim or foot the bill yourself.

If you have windshield damage, you’re not alone. Safelite, a national auto glass repair company, says it services more than 1 million windshields each year. It’s important to get your windshield fixed or replaced as soon as possible — even a small chip can quickly become a large crack.

You can pay for the repairs out of pocket, but first it’s a good idea to see if your car insurance policy will cover some or all of the cost. Generally, two types of auto insurance may cover windshield damage: Comprehensive insurance and full glass coverage.

Let’s take a closer look at how these types of insurance work and what you can expect to pay for windshield repairs, whether you’re filing an insurance claim or paying out of pocket.

How much does it cost to fix a crack in my windshield?

Windshield repairs are typically less expensive than windshield replacement. If your auto insurance covers windshield repairs, you may first have to pay your deductible. But in some cases, your coverage may not have a deductible.

If you decide to pay cash instead, repairs may start at about $100, while a full replacement might run you around $200 to $300 — or even more. Keep in mind that costs can vary depending on the amount of damage and the make and model of your vehicle.

If you’re not sure whether you need just a repair or a full replacement, it’s best to talk to a professional. Most glass repair companies can usually fix a windshield that only has a few minor cracks or chips. Safelite notes on its website that a crack that’s six inches or less can likely be repaired. And Glass America’s website says that a repair may be possible if the crack doesn’t go all the way through the glass and isn’t in the driver’s line of sight. 

Which types of auto insurance help cover windshield repairs or replacement?

If your windshield is damaged in a non-accident, two types of auto coverage may help cover the cost of repair or replacement.

  • Comprehensive insurance: This type of insurance is optional, but your lender may require you to have it if you finance or lease your vehicle.
  • Full glass coverage: This type of coverage may cover windshield repairs or replacement without a deductible. Some insurance companies offer this type of coverage as part of your comprehensive insurance or as an optional add-on — but it may not be available in all states.

If your windshield is damaged in a car accident caused by another driver, their property damage liability insurance will likely cover your windshield repairs or replacement in most states.

Types of auto insurance: What coverage do I need?

Do I have to pay a deductible for a cracked windshield?

If your comprehensive coverage will cover your damaged windshield, you may have to pay your insurance deductible first before your coverage kicks in. But in some cases, you might not need to.

  • Zero-deductible states: In some states, by law, you aren’t required to pay a deductible on windshield repairs or replacements because windshields are considered safety glass.
  • Insurance carrier rules: Whether you have to pay a deductible may also depend on your insurance carrier. Some companies may waive your comprehensive coverage deductible if your windshield only needs repairs.
  • Full glass coverage: If you have this coverage, you likely won’t have to pay a deductible.

If you do have to pay a deductible, consider weighing the cost of a windshield repair or replacement against your deductible. For example, if repairs will only cost $200, but your deductible is $500, it probably doesn’t make sense file an insurance claim. Instead, you could head to your local repair shop and pay for the repairs out of pocket.

What’s next?

If you’re not sure whether your auto insurance covers windshield cracks, check your policy or ask your auto insurance agent or carrier. They can review your policy to help you understand what type of glass coverage you may have, if any, and whether your deductible applies.

If you have windshield coverage, you’ll need to file an insurance claim to get the process started, unless you decide to pay for repairs yourself. The good news? Repairs often take less than an hour, according to Safelite. And some repair companies will even come to your house or workplace to do the repairs.

About the author: Sarah Archambault is a freelance writer based in New England. She enjoys learning new ways to spend money wisely and helping others figure out how to make smart financial decisions. Sarah is a graduate of the Newhouse… Read more.