Is a cracked windshield covered under insurance?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2016

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Liability coverage will not help you with your cracked windshield
  • Comprehensive insurance will typically cover cracked windshields
  • Car insurance companies will often cover the repairs to windshields if a full replacement is not necessary
  • You should check with your insurance company to review your deductible to see if filing a claim for a damaged windshield is worth it for you

At the first sign of a cracked windshield, you’re likely to ask yourself whether or not your car insurance will cover it.

If they will, you can simply call the mobile windshield replacement company and you’ll be good to go before you leave work. If they won’t, you’ll need to shop around a bit to make sure you get the best deal on a replacement.

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Coverage for a cracked windshield is considered optional by just about every car insurance provider. What you get with a basic insurance policy is simply the minimum amounts of liability coverage required by your state.

Typically this includes property damage, bodily injury, and uninsured driver coverage.

Anything above and beyond those minimum requirements, such as coverage for collisions or fire and theft, are extras that will add to the cost of your policy.

How does glass coverage work?

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How glass coverage is applied depends on how your individual car policy is written. Some car insurance providers offer separate glass coverage that will cover replacement for any reason whatsoever. Such coverage is generally affordable, costing no more than $50 or $60 annually.

Other policies may charge less for glass coverage but will have certain restrictions in place. Finally, glass coverage may be rolled into the collision portion of your policy.

If you desire full glass coverage with no questions asked, your best bet is to include a separate glass rider that covers not only the windshield but all of the glass in your car.

These separate riders will generally cover the full cost of windshield replacement at least once annually.

For a slight extra charge, it’s possible to get unlimited coverage as well. The nice thing about a separate rider is that your insurance company doesn’t care why the glass needs to be replaced. If you have a crack, they will cover it.

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What type of insurance coverage normally covers cracked windshields?

The type of coverage that a cracked windshield would fall under is comprehensive insurance, which is the type of coverage that covers damage caused by things other than an accident. To see if you have comprehensive coverage, check your policy or ask your insurance agent.

If you do have comprehensive coverage on your policy, you are generally covered for windshield cracks. Before deciding to use it, however, check to see what your deductible is.

Will my glass coverage cover repairs on chipped windshields?


Sometimes a windshield will suffer a chip or a small crack that doesn’t extend through the glass. Modern technology has made it possible to repair minor damage using high heat and pressure.

Such repairs are usually guaranteed for the life of the windshield, making them a more attractive option than replacing the glass altogether.

While most insurance companies did not cover such repairs when the technology first came out, now that it has been proven to be safe and effective, those insurance companies have changed to cover those repairs.

In fact, we might be seeing a change in the attitude of car insurance providers to the extent that they would now prefer a repair whenever possible as long as the repair is safe and effective and it costs less than full replacement. Less cost is always good for your insurance company.

If a provider is not convinced of the safety of such a repair on your windshield, it may not be covered. The last thing your insurance company wants is a lawsuit if a repair fails and someone is injured.

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What if I don’t have any glass coverage?

Unfortunately, if you carry no glass coverage on your car insurance policy you’re out of luck.

You then have no option other than to replace or repair your windshield out-of-pocket. If you decide replacement is going to be necessary there are two options:

  1. Installing a brand-new windshield from the factory.
  2. Getting a used windshield from a local junkyard. Salvage windshields are significantly less expensive and most repair shops are willing to install them for you.

The only downside to replacing your windshield with something from the salvage yard is the fact that the used windshield will seldom come with any sort of guarantee.

So while you may only pay $40 or $50 for the glass, there’s no guarantee that it hasn’t been weakened or damaged, or that it will survive the first stone that gets kicked up by the dump truck in front of you.

Salvage windshields usually don’t cause a problem, but you are taking a risk nonetheless.

In most states, glass coverage is fairly inexpensive. For the amount of money you pay in comparison to the rest of your insurance policy, it’s something that every driver really should have.

You never know when a windshield will be cracked or chipped, and having glass coverage in place can save you from having to spend valuable cash at a time when you don’t have it.

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Should I file a windshield claim if I have a high deductible?


Once you find out what your deductible is, get an estimate quote from the company who will fix or replace your windshield. If the amount to take care of your windshield is less than your deductible, then you definitely want to pay for it out of your own pocket.

If your deductible is less than the cost of the windshield, you still may want to not use your insurance to cover the damage.

For example, if your deductible is $250 and the cost to replace your windshield is $275, you will be paying $250 out of your pocket and the insurance company only has to pay $25. This may not be worth it.

Will my insurance premium increase from a windshield claim?


No matter what the cause of the claim is, insurance companies will usually use any claim filed as a reason to increase your insurance rates. This includes using your comprehensive insurance coverage to pay for a cracked windshield.

Because of this, unless your deductible is fairly low and the cost to fix your windshield is high, it is often a better decision to just pay for the windshield with your money and not use the insurance company, in order to prevent your premiums from increasing.

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