A cracked windshield can be a serious safety hazard and an eyesore. But does car insurance cover the cost of repairing or replacing it The answer depends on several factors, such as the type of damage, the type of coverage you have, and the state you live in. Here are some things you need to know about car insurance and windshield damage.
Types of Windshield Damage
Windshields can suffer from different kinds of damage, such as chips, cracks, pits, or shatters. Some of these damages can be repaired, while others may require a complete replacement. The cost and feasibility of repairing or replacing a windshield depend on the size, location, and severity of the damage. Generally speaking, a chip smaller than a quarter or a crack shorter than three inches can be repaired, while larger or more extensive damages may need a replacement. However, if the damage is directly in the driver's line of vision, a replacement is usually recommended regardless of the size.
Types of Car Insurance Coverage
The type of car insurance coverage that can help you with windshield damage varies depending on how the damage occurred. There are three main types of coverage that may apply:
Comprehensive coverage: This is an optional coverage that covers damage to your car from causes other than collisions, such as theft, fire, vandalism, hail, falling objects, or animal strikes. Comprehensive coverage usually covers windshield damage from these causes, but you may have to pay a deductible first. A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. The average annual cost of comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible is $339.
Collision coverage: This is another optional coverage that covers damage to your car from collisions with other vehicles or objects. Collision coverage may cover windshield damage from these causes, but again, you may have to pay a deductible first. The average annual cost of collision coverage with a $500 deductible is $788.
Liability coverage: This is the mandatory coverage that covers the damage you cause to other people or their property in an accident. Liability coverage may cover windshield damage to another driver's car if you are at fault for the accident, but it will not cover your own car's windshield damage. The minimum liability coverage limits vary by state, but they are usually not enough to cover all the costs of a serious accident.
State Laws and Regulations
In addition to the type of coverage you have, the state you live in may also affect whether your car insurance covers windshield damage. Some states have specific laws or regulations regarding windshield repair or replacement claims. For example:
Zero-deductible states: Some states require insurance companies to waive the deductible for windshield repair or replacement claims under comprehensive coverage. These states are Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and South Carolina.
Full glass coverage states: Some states allow insurance companies to offer full glass coverage as an optional add-on to comprehensive coverage. This means you can pay an extra premium to have no deductible for any glass damage claims. These states are Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
Safety inspection states: Some states require vehicles to pass a safety inspection before they can be registered or renewed. A cracked windshield may fail the inspection and prevent you from driving legally. These states are Delaware (for vehicles older than five years), Hawaii (for vehicles older than two years), Louisiana (for vehicles older than four years), Maine (for vehicles older than one year), Massachusetts (for all vehicles), Mississippi (for vehicles older than five years), Missouri (for vehicles older than five years), New Hampshire (for all vehicles), New York (for all vehicles), North Carolina (for vehicles older than 35 years), Pennsylvania (for all vehicles), Rhode Island (for vehicles older than two years), Texas (for all vehicles), Utah (for vehicles older than six years), Vermont (for all vehicles), Virginia (for all vehicles) and West Virginia (for all vehicles).