Windshield Damage: When to Replace, When to Repair

Windshield Damage Auto Insurance

Know when to repair or replace your damaged windshield.

It happens to the best of us. Your car is safely parked under a tree or driving behind a construction crew, and somehow the windshield gets hit with debris. Flying materials may  not seem significant, but at 4o mph and up, can contribute to serious damage to your windshield or other parts of your car.  When this happens, you’re often worried about facing a  large expense.

While your windshield is designed to withstand high pressures and plenty of flying debris, when it does crack or split, it is time to evaluate the damage. The extent of the crack will determine whether you need to replace or repair your windshield.

When to Repair:

The windshield repair process usually involves injecting liquid into damaged areas to fill in cracks and chips, which makes the damage almost invisible, and restoring the strength of the windshield. Here is what you need to know:

  • Many repair shops can repair rock chips that are smaller than the size of a quarter and cracks that are smaller than three inches in length.
  • Some shops may not be willing to repair cracks or large chips that are in the driver’s line of vision, as the liquid may distort the glass.
  • Repairs should be done as quickly as possible to keep the crack or chip from spreading due to moisture or motion.
  • Many auto insurance policies cover crack and chip repair since repairs are much cheaper than replacements.
  • All but a few insurer will waive all customer charges for chip repair if they carry comprehensive coverage.

When to Replace:

When replacing the windshield, the entire glass and the molding around the windshield are removed. For this reason, replacement is recommended only in cases where the windshield is damaged beyond repair or if it has cracks that are too big to be filled.

  • If a large object impacted your windshield or the vehicle was involved in a major crash, the entire windscreen should be replaced, no matter the size of the crack. The glass and the frame could be weakened.
  • Cracks that are within 1 inch of the edge of a window reduce the integrity of the glass and should be replaced
  • Any damage that has created a hole through the windshield must be replaced
  • Any damage that cannot be covered by a dollar bill in its entirety must be replaced
  • Most windshield replacements are considered safety measures, which means  insurance companies will cover the costs less your deductible, provided you have comprehensive coverage.
  • Some insurance policies offer free glass replacement (no deductible) with an optional coverage which costs only a few dollars a month.

Does your auto insurance provide all-encompassing coverage, or is it missing the basics such as glass and theft coverage? Contact the insurance experts Lou Aggetta Insurance Services, serving Pleasant Hill and neighboring cities in California.