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Will Auto Insurance Cover Windshield Replacement?

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The first time a pebble mysteriously levitated off the road, smashed into my father's windshield, and cracked it, I had questions. What just happened? Were we covered by auto insurance? Did the road spirits of Los Angeles just assault our family Jeep? So many questions, so few answers.

We did figure out whether auto insurance covers windshield replacement. Turns out, it depends on the policies involved in the accident.

What policies cover windshield replacement?

Most auto insurance policies can potentially cover the cost of windshield replacement.

Collision insurance covers damage for an accident if you are at fault. If you collide with another car, hit a pole, or crash into a tree, you're covered. Unlike comprehensive insurance, collision insurance does not cover you if someone steals your car (or angry road pebbles assault your windshield).

Comprehensive insurance covers damage to car windshields and windows in nearly all non-collision situations. These include the following:

  • Acts of God (e.g., pebbles hitting a window, tree branches falling on the windshield)
  • Vandalism
  • Theft (including damage done during theft of your vehicle)
  • A deer crashing into your windshield

Another person's insurance may cover your repair costs in two situations:

  • If another person crashes into your car and is at fault, their liability insurance should cover damages done to your vehicle, including your windshield and windows.
  • If another person breaks your windshield and they have homeowners or renters insurance, their liability insurance should also cover the damage done.

If your auto insurance covers damage done by uninsured drivers, you are also covered when an uninsured driver is at fault.

One caveat: Say your auto insurance technically covers the cost of replacing a windshield damaged by demonic road debris. You're still on the hook for paying your deductible.

How much does it cost to replace a windshield?

Replacing a windshield costs $200 to $400 on average, according to the online dealership Rydellcars.com. Depending on your car insurance deductible, you may be required to foot some of the bill. Collision and comprehensive insurance deductibles range from $50 to $2,000.

If you have a deductible higher than $1,000, don't count on insurance covering a simple windshield replacement in the event of an accident. Even if you're covered, chances are, you'll be paying out of pocket.

If your deductible is less than $1,000, you may still pay fully or partially out of pocket. For example, if your deductible is $400 and the cost to replace your windshield is $450, you'll have to pay for the $400 deductible before your insurance kicks in.

To get the best rates for car insurance, you'll want to check out the best car insurance companies.

Sometimes, it's not worth replacing windshields damaged by small branches or ferocious road rocks. Cracks that don't impede vision and are smaller than one inch are unlikely to impact your driving experience. Plus, filing an insurance claim may cause your insurance rates to increase.

Consider replacing your cracked windshield when you notice spreading cracks or when a break is longer than six inches. These pose safety concerns and may warrant replacement costs. Your safety is the most important consideration when it comes to windshield replacement.

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