Last updated: August 2022

What to Do About a Cracked Windshield

Whether it’s from a rock that kicks up in traffic or a tree branch that falls in your driveway, there’s a chance your vehicle’s windshield could chip or crack at any point. So, how do you fix a cracked windshield if this unfortunate scenario happens to you? Is there a point where your entire windshield needs to be replaced? How does your auto insurance coverage come into play? We’ve got answers to these questions and more.

Does car insurance cover a cracked windshield?

For many people, this is the most important question. Are you forced to pay out of pocket for windshield damage, or does insurance cover windshield replacement or repair?

It depends on your coverage and the way your windshield is damaged.

For example, if you’re involved in a car accident that damages your windshield and the other driver is at fault, their liability coverage would typically pay to repair or replace your vehicle’s windshield. Just make sure you follow these steps after an accident and get their information so you can call their insurer to file a glass claim. If another driver damages your windshield but doesn’t have insurance coverage, you may be covered still if you have uninsured motorist property damage coverage on your policy.

If you’re the one who causes an accident, you would need to be carrying collision coverage for help paying for repairs. Collision insurance helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle after a covered accident, regardless of fault.

If you’ve ever wondered does insurance cover a rock hitting the windshield or does insurance pay if a deer crashes through the windshield, the answer depends on whether the driver is carrying comprehensive coverage. In both scenarios, the damage is done outside of a typical accident where blame can be assigned to one of the parties. Comprehensive coverage, called “other than collision coverage,” can help pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s stolen, vandalized, damaged by a weather event, strikes an animal, or suffers damage from another covered incident. If a rock hits your windshield or if you hit a deer, your best bet is to file a comprehensive claim.

It is worth noting that you may still have to pay your deductible (if you have one for glass claims depending on state regulations) for a claim under your comprehensive or collision coverage.

When to Replace a Windshield

Should you replace your whole windshield if there’s just a tiny chip? At what point does a crack become unsafe? Glass.com has guidance on when to replace your windshield entirely.

  • The chip or crack reaches the outside edge of the windshield
  • The chip or crack penetrates more than halfway through the windshield
  • The chip or crack spreads to the length of a dollar bill
  • Your glass is tempered, not laminated

If one or more of these conditions are met, or if the crack impairs your vision in any way, it’s time to call your insurer and file a glass claim. Even if you don’t have insurance coverage for the windshield damage, it’s time to see a trusted glass specialist and get your windshield replaced.

How much does it cost to repair or replace a windshield?

If you’ve ever wondered how much windshield repairs and replacements cost, you’re not alone. We’re here to break down repair and replacement options, with and without insurance.

How much does it cost to repair or patch small chips and cracks?

If you want to get a tiny star chip or crack repaired, WalletHub says you can expect to pay $50-$150. They note smaller chips and cracks are typically cheaper to repair.

How much does a new windshield cost without insurance?

It’s impossible to say exactly how much a new windshield will cost you because prices vary depending on the company you choose and the make, model, and year of the car you’re driving. However, Glass.com, after collecting data from thousands of customers, says most replacements fall between $153-$337.

How much does a new windshield cost with insurance?

If you have comprehensive coverage, it’s important to check what your deductible is for glass claims (if you have one). If the replacement fee is more than your deductible, you’ll pay the deductible fee, and insurance should cover the rest. However, if the repair cost is less than your deductible (if you have one for glass claims as mentioned above), you’ll likely be paying for it out of pocket.

Example: If you have a $500 deductible and the cost to replace the windshield on your specialty sports car is $740, you would pay $500 and your insurance would pay $240.

Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield?

You might be surprised to learn that it could be illegal to drive with a damaged windshield depending on the severity and where you live. For example, Illinois law cracks down on cracked windshields:

“No person shall drive a motor vehicle when the windshield, side or rear windows are in such defective condition or repair as to materially impair the driver's view to the front, side or rear.”

Illinois Car Laws notes this legislation doesn’t specifically address cracks and what constitutes material impairment, though. In other words, if you’re driving with a cracked windshield, you’re potentially at the mercy of whatever police officers deem a visual impairment.

Laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to search for windshield laws where you live. Additionally, if you live in a state that requires vehicle inspections, a cracked windshield could cause your vehicle to fail, depending on where you live and the size of the crack. So, even if it’s not illegal, addressing the crack as quickly as possible is always a good idea.

Protect your windshield with Direct Auto coverage!

Want to make sure your windshield is covered from flying rocks or animals jumping out in front of you? Give us a call, visit us online, or stop by a nearby location for more information and a quote on comprehensive coverage.

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