Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 28, 2022

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Just the Basics

  • If your windshield requires repairs or replacement, your comprehensive coverage should cover the cost of the work 
  • For many insureds, going through their auto insurance policies can save them hundreds of dollars 
  • The cost of windshield repair and replacement, with insurance, often depends on your deductible and other factors 

Whether your windshield develops a small chip while you’re driving down the road or it incurs considerable damage during a collision, you may wonder, “Should I use insurance to replace windshield damage?” While it depends on several unique factors, in most cases the answer is yes, you should use insurance to pay for windshield replacement or repair.

It is important to fix your windshield as soon as possible, as small chips can spiderweb over time, and larger cracks can compromise the integrity of your vehicle and pose a danger to you and your passengers. For these reasons, insurance companies often require the insured to seek windshield repair or replacement right away.

Insurance Can Save You Hundreds of Dollars on Windshield Replacement

The rule of thumb dictates that you should file an insurance claim for any covered vehicle repair if the cost of the repair is lower than your deductible and if doing so would not trigger a rate increase. If the deductible is more than the cost of repair or replacement, your insurer would not have a legal obligation to pay anything.

Typically, windshield repair and replacement are covered by your comprehensive coverage. The average deductible on a comprehensive policy is between $100 and $500, with some policies offering deductibles as low as $50.

The average windshield chip repair cost is between $130 and $200, and the average cost to replace a windshield is between $200 and $401. Given these figures, it may make sense for vehicle owners to file a claim against their comprehensive policies for windshield repairs or replacement, if they carry a lower deductible.

If you live in one of the handful of states that have “zero deductible” glass replacement laws, your insurer must legally waive your deductible for repairs and/or replacement, which means you would not pay a dime for the work. Many major insurance companies also waive deductibles on windshield repair and/or replacement for chips and cracks smaller than a certain size.

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What To Do If Your Windshield Is Damaged in a Collision

If your windshield sustains damage during a collision, you should report both the incident and the damages to your insurer right away and ask does insurance cover windshield replacement. If yes, the agent will inquire about the date and time of the incident and the extent of the damage. If your insurer utilizes a photo inspection system, you may need to send photos to your insurance company along with your claim.

Once you file your claim, your insurer will either allow you to go to a repair shop of your choosing or let you select one from a list of approved shops. You or your insurer will schedule the repairs and, once complete, you would pay the deductible — if applicable — directly to the shop. The shop will bill your insurer for the remainder of the amount.

What if your insurer does not cover windshield damage, or you have no insurance? Because driving around with a damaged windshield is dangerous, you should get it repaired or replaced regardless. Moreover, many states have laws against driving with a cracked windshield, so you may get a ticket for doing so, which can end up costing more than the repair itself.

Alternatively, you may be able to file a windshield claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. This may be an option if the other driver caused the accident and if you live in an at-fault car accident state.

How To Choose the Right Auto Insurance Company for Glass Coverage

Selecting the right auto insurance company is difficult, as it’s almost impossible to anticipate what kind of coverage you will need until it comes time to use it. When shopping for car insurance, consider your lifestyle and risk factors and look for a company that offers coverage that caters to each. For instance, if you frequently travel on dirt roads, it may be worthwhile to invest in a policy that waives deductibles on windshield repair or replacement. Consider other coverage types and add-ons, such as comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and classic car insurance as well.

Additionally, attempt to understand your policy, and pay attention to terms such as “deductible,” “claims,” “exclusions,” “covered loss,” and “non-covered loss.” These can tell you a lot about how helpful a policy will be when it comes time to use it.  

Finally, pay attention to company reviews. Customer reviews can provide real insight into how an insurance company operates and handles claims.

Five Reasons It’s Better To Use Insurance for Replacing Your Windshield

If you’re wondering “Should I use insurance to replace my windshield?” here are several reasons why you should.

1 — You May Pay Less Out of Pocket

If you have a low deductible, letting your insurance company foot the bill for windshield replacement may be the best choice. In filing a claim, you stand to save anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars on the cost of repairs or replacement.

2 — You May Not Pay Anything At All

If you live in a state that has zero-deductible auto glass laws, you may not have to pay anything for windshield repairs or replacement. In this case, it only makes sense to not utilize your auto policy.

3 — Your Rates Likely Won’t Increase

Many insurers will not raise a policyholder’s rates for filing an auto glass claim. If the fear of increased rates is holding you back, simply talk to an agent regarding your concerns.

4 — It’s Convenient

If you go through your insurer, there is a good chance the company will handle the whole repair process for you, from scheduling to billing. This makes seeking repairs more convenient, encouraging you to get them done sooner rather than later.

5 — The Work Is Guaranteed

One of the best reasons to go through insurance for windshield repair and replacement, cost aside, is that your auto insurance often guarantees the work. If the work from an insurance-approved repair shop is faulty, you have peace of mind that your insurer will cover the cost of additional work.

For many people, the question isn’t, “Does insurance cover a cracked windshield?” but rather, “Should I use insurance to replace my windshield?” While, in most cases, it is best to go through your insurance for windshield repair and replacement, the only way to know for sure if doing so makes sense for you is to work directly with your insurer during the decision process.