Articles Auto Insurance

Does an auto insurance policy's deductible apply to a broken windshield repair?

In the car insurance world, it can be confusing to determine what type of insurance coverage is best for you and how policies will apply to certain situations. Damaged windshields are no exception to this confusion, and in this article we will help you understand how your insurance coverage might apply to a broken or damaged windshield.

Types of Coverage

To understand Windshield Repair coverage, you should first understand the basics of car insurance lingo. There are two types of auto insurance coverage: Comprehensive and Liability. Under Liability coverage, only damage done to other vehicles would be covered. This might be the coverage you would want if you own an older or inexpensive vehicle, or can afford to pay out of pocket to replace your vehicle if necessary. With Comprehensive coverage, damage to your own vehicle is covered in the event of an accident as well as any damage to other vehicles. Typically a person would want comprehensive coverage if they have an auto loan for the vehicle, the vehicle is newer or more valuable, or the replacement cost of the vehicle would be more than the person could afford to pay out of pocket. Comprehensive coverage carries a higher premium since the insurance company could potentially be repairing or replacing multiple vehicles in the event of an accident but can save you from paying out of your own pocket for repairs or replacement of your vehicle.


Any time a damage or accident claim is filed against your car insurance, you must pay a deductible. A deductible is a payment level that must be met before the insurance picks up the rest of the claim cost. Common car insurance deductible levels might be $250, $500, or $1,000 per incident. A person with a $250 deductible would have to pay $250 towards repairs if damage exceeds that amount. Choosing a lower deductible may increase your annual premium, but would result in a lower out-of-pocket expense to repair or replace any vehicles involved. 

Windshield Repair or Replacement

Comprehensive coverage policies are the types that would cover windshield cracks or breakage. In the case of a broken windshield or one that is extremely damaged, your policy deductible would generally apply. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that when dealing with windshield damage. First, many car insurance companies often have a separate piece of the policy that defines coverage for glass breakage. This special coverage may allow for a lesser deductible owed on windshield replacement. Second, if the damage is minimal (smaller than a dollar bill is a good rule of thumb) like a chip, nick, or small crack, you may be able to have it repaired at no cost. Third, if you have a high deductible without specific glass coverage, you may want to bypass your insurance company and pay for replacement out of pocket. This can save money now on the repair and in the future by avoiding filed claims on your insurance policy.  Last, many auto glass companies run specials to waive or reduce required deductibles if you use their services, or may offer some other type of financial incentive.     

In general with car insurance you should expect to pay some kind of deductible for windshield repair or replacement, but your mileage may vary. Talk to your insurance agent about glass repair coverage, fix small cracks and chips quickly before they spread and require replacement, and do your homework when choosing an auto glass company to help you save on costs.


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