Car windshields don’t easily shatter. Made of two pieces of laminated glass with a layer of plastic in between, they don’t break into dangerous shards, but rather small bits that remain mostly attached.1 Aside from major damage from collisions, life on the road can still lead to small cracks and chips, sometimes caused by gravel and other debris tires kick up. In fact, glass damage is one of the most common car repairs.2 The frequency of such events makes a strong case for having glass coverage on your auto policy.
Without coverage, glass repairs add up
Small holes and cracks up to six inches in length can often be filled with heated resin.3 If you’re not insured for glass damage, these repairs can cost around $100 for standard vehicles. If the damage is considered too large to repair, full windshield replacement could cost closer to $400 – and up to $1,000 or more, depending upon the vehicle – if you’re not insured.3 Replacement cost only increases as new integrated technology develops, from features like rain sensing to night vision to heating systems.4
There are two types of glass coverage that can help in these situations. Comprehensive, or “other than collision,” is a type of auto insurance coverage that automatically includes glass coverage, although a deductible may apply. Full glass coverage is an additional coverage that can be purchased separately, and in the event of a loss, you won't have to pay a deductible.5
Delaying repair can lead to more problems
In all cases, it’s crucial to attend to glass damage as soon as possible. Even a small ding, left untreated, can spread over time, eventually requiring the entire windshield to be replaced. Cracks, chips, holes and fissures can create multiple hazards, obscuring or clouding your line of sight and compromising the structural integrity of the windshield as the temperature changes. Because these conditions can impair your safety, in many places, driving with a damaged windshield is a violation that could get you a ticket.6
You’re not limited in your choice of a repair shop, but choose carefully. Make sure any work is guaranteed in writing. If you need help in finding a credible repair service, your insurance company can provide recommendations. Amica’s Glass Program Manager, for example, offers high-quality glass shops that can guarantee their work for as long as you own the car.
You might be covered already
It’s a good idea to review your auto policy in advance of any future claim. Glass damage usually falls under comprehensive coverage, which is optional unless your vehicle is leased or financed and it’s required by the lender.7 If you have it, clarify whether the coverage applies to all of the car’s windows or just the windshield. Also establish whether you have a deductible: if you do, and it exceeds the cost of a repair, you may be better off not filing a claim and paying out of pocket.
Luckily, many comprehensive plans will waive the deductible for glass repairs altogether. In fact, some states require by law that comprehensive plans provide zero-deductible coverage for full windshield replacement.8 Elsewhere, many insurers, Amica included, offer full glass coverage as an option.