If your life is anything like mine, you spend a considerable amount of time driving your kids (and their friends) to an endless number of activities; dance, piano, hockey, soccer, baseball, volunteering — you name it. Life is busy. On one of these never-ending taxi rides, you’re bound to experience a chipped or cracked windshield at some point. So, what should you do about that cracked windshield? And will your car insurance cover it? Well, we’ve got the answers.
It happened to me. Yesterday. Bang. Something hit the window. I didn’t see it. But I heard it! Now I have a cracked windshield. Right in front of my face. It’s not big. But it is annoying. What to do, what to do?
If you have comprehensive coverage on your automobile policy, then you most likely have glass coverage. Depending upon the type of damage you have to your windshield, you may be able to have a simple windshield repair rather than a whole windshield replacement. In my case, it was a repair.
Just call up the nearest glass repair shop and let them know you have a cracked windshield. They will have a look and let you know if they can repair it. And they can do it very quickly. Its a simple and easy process. You’ll be amazed how they can make that crack disappear. But go in quick before that crack starts to spread! If it is a repairable chip, it’s a good idea to get it fixed quickly so that it doesn’t get worse and turn into a complete windshield replacement. These chips can spread quickly.
Furthermore, driving around with even a small chip in your windshield could be dangerous, as any kind of pressure (another rock kicked up from the car in front of you, going over a pothole, or a sudden change in temperature, for example) could turn the chip into a larger crack that could really obstruct your view. Or worse your whole windshield could shatter while you’re on the road (heading to that soccer tournament), leading to a dangerous driving situation and a much more costly repair — not to mention your star player may not make it to the big game in time! The sooner you can get a chip or crack fixed, the better.
If you have a windshield repair done, this should not negatively impact the insurance coverage provided by most insurance companies. But to be sure, ask your broker to explain your coverage and how it works. They are not all the same. Most of the time, a windshield repair shop will simply bill your insurance company for the work done if it’s a repair job. No cost to you. The cost to repair the windshield is usually well below the deductible on your policy, and typically the insurance company will pay the whole amount.
If the damage to the glass is too significant, you will need a replacement. If you have a windshield replacement done, you may have to cover part of the bill yourself – usually your comprehensive deductible. But, many repair shops will cover the cost of the deductible, so you won’t be out of pocket at all. Therefore, it is a good idea to call around and see who has this special offer!
If you are looking at a full windshield replacement, it may make sense to first get an estimate from the glass repair company to see what the cost will be and then decide whether or not to claim the expense or cover it out of pocket. The cost of replacement may be lower than your deductible, in which case you may want to pay for it completely out of pocket.
Your first glass replacement should not impact your insurance coverage. However, if you file a number of these glass claims within a certain period (say two claims in two years), you could be looking at some coverage changes at renewal time. Some insurance companies will increase your comprehensive deductible or remove coverage for glass damage from your policy. Ask your broker about the coverage you have!
Remember, you are putting yourself and others at risk if there is a crack preventing you from having a clear view, leading to potential accidents. Get that crack looked at right away. Mine is fixed already!