Are broken windshields covered by insurance?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 9, 2018

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Having a broken windshield is more than just an expensive inconvenience; it is also dangerous and illegal to drive a car that way
  • The reason why your windshield breaks and who was at fault in an accident can determine if your insurance will cover the cost to repair or replace it
  • Non-collision insurance such as comprehensive insurance will often cover the cost of a broken windshield if it broke due to weather, vandalism, or an animal
  • Always check with your insurance provider to find out if they will reimburse you for the repair or replacement of a broken windshield

Depending on the reason your windshield is broken and the type of insurance you have, your car insurance may reimburse you for your expense.

However, depending on the extent of repair needed, the benefit of your car insurance may not justify the cost of the applicable deductible.

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Broken Windshield Caused by an Accident


Many windshields are broken in a collision type car accident between one or more vehicles. Either the car gets hit from the front or bumped into something else from the back. If the crash is hard enough, the windshield will break.

Depending on who was at fault for the accident, your car insurance may reimburse you for the repair of or the replacement of the windshield.

When it comes to car insurance coverage, liability insurance does not cover any of your property. Rather it protects the property of other people in the event you are at fault for an accident.

Therefore, if you have liability insurance as the state requires, then your car insurance will pay to replace someone else’s windshield if you are the reason it was broken.

If your windshield is broken in the same accident, you will most likely not receive any insurance benefit unless you also have collision car insurance.

Collision car insurance pays you for your own property damage when you are at fault for an accident.

Of course, if your windshield is broken because someone else hit your car, then their liability insurance will pay for your damages. If the person that hits you does not have liability insurance, then you may get reimbursed by your insurance company through collision insurance if you have it.

You are also covered by your insurance if you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage help to offset any expenses that exceed the insurance coverage of the other driver who is found at fault.

Many people only purchase the minimum insurance limits required by state law and therefore often do not have enough insurance to pay for actual damages caused by a car accident.

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Broken Windshield Caused by Non-Collision

Not all windshields break in a car accident. Many windshields are damaged by non-accident related (or non-collision related) expenses. Sometimes vandals break windshields for fun as they drive up and down the street.

Other times a common stone or rock on the highway dings or chips a windshield and then slowly spreads into a hairline crack, risking an even greater split or possibly a shatter in the future.

Small chips in the windshield can grow quite rapidly, so they should be fixed right away.

Since the windshield usually does not have to be replaced to repair a small chip, dent, or crack, the cost of the repair is relatively nominal. In these cases, insurance usually does not even charge a deductible if you have coverage for the windshield repair.

Usually car insurance will cover these types of non-collision repair under comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive insurance is insurance that pays for damages to your car that is sustained from any non-collision related event.

Covered events could include anything from broken windshields from running into a deer on the road to chipped windows from a stone getting kicked up by a truck in front of you on the highway.

No matter the reason for the cracked car windshield, make sure you have the proper car insurance to cover it!

The Dangers of Chips and Cracks in Your Windshield


Windshields provide multiple functions for your safety in the car. In addition to providing you with a shield from the wind, it also keeps bugs or other flying debris out of your eyes and face as you are driving.

Furthermore, windshields allow you to drive safer during a rainstorm, snowstorm, or other harsh weather.

Therefore, having a broken windshield makes driving more dangerous. Many states have laws that prohibit you from driving with a cracked or broken windshield for these very reasons.

Cracked windshields are just as hazardous because they can easily spread and turn into a broken windshield or even shatter in on you or onto the street as you are driving.

Chipped windshields aren’t usually very obvious, and you are probably not breaking the law in most states if you are driving around that way.

However, as mentioned earlier, chipped windshields do lead to further windshield damage and only become more difficult to manage and more expensive to repair. Correcting chipped windshields early on can save you money and grief later on.

Since most car insurance companies waive your deductible when it comes to covering a broken windshield, the cost to repair or replace it can very likely be covered in full by your car insurance policy.

Ultimately it depends on what incident causes the damage to your windshield and if you have liability, collision, or comprehensive coverage, but it is certainly worth finding out what type of coverage you have.

Repairing a small chip or crack is much easier and less risky than having a completely broken windshield. Make sure your car insurance includes windshield damage coverage. Cracked windshield insurance can save you tons of money in the long run!

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