Q: If my car’s windshield is broken, will that be covered under my auto policy?

A: Unfortunately, a cracked or broken windshield is not just a nuisance; it is also a huge safety hazard for the driver since their view of the road ahead may be obstructed by the damage.  It’s crucial that your windshield be repaired as quickly as possible, so you’ll need to know if you should file a claim or pay out of pocket to remedy the damage.

A broken windshield can be caused by many things both inside and outside of the vehicle. Things like a rock kicked up from the road, a bird crashing into the windshield, or weather related instances – even a car accident.  Because it’s hard to know what is or isn’t covered under your auto policy, many people are left wondering whether or not the cause of their broken windshield is covered.  Unfortunately, this will vary depending on your specific policy and the circumstances around what happened. There are a few situations though where you will know right off whether you’re covered or not.

If you are in a car accident that was not your fault and the windshield was damaged, the windshield will be covered by the other driver’s insurance.  There would be no need for it to go towards your deductible if the crash was not your fault.  Unfortunately, if the other driver does not have insurance the cost of repairs may need to be filed with your insurance company under your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. 

If you have comprehensive coverage, windshield damage will be covered by your auto policy regardless of the circumstances behind the damage.  Comprehensive coverage insures your vehicle against fire, theft and really anything other than a collision.  It also means that your insurance carrier will cover the cost to repair damages whether your broken windshield is your fault or not, once you’ve met any applicable deductibles.  If you only have liability insurance on your car, then your insurance company will only pay for damages caused to another person’s vehicle and not your own.

The amount of your deductible will also play a factor. When you purchased your auto insurance policy, you chose a deductible amount from a list of options laid out by your insurance carrier.  For most, these options included $250, $500, $750 and $1000 deductibles.  Higher deductibles typically mean lower monthly payments.  In most cases, the cost of replacing a windshield will be more than most of the deductibles, save potentially the $1000 deductible.  When the deductible is lower than the overall cost of the windshield's replacement or repair, the insurance policy will cover the cost of any amount in excess of the deductible.
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