Crack! We’ve all had it happen. Minding our own business, driving safely down a highway or street and a rock flies into our windshield, the telltale spiderweb-style damage staring at us from the formerly pristine glass. As startling as it can be the moment it happens, the torrent of questions we ask ourselves about what to do next can be even more overwhelming. Does this crack make it unsafe for me to drive? Will I need to replace the windshield or can I get it fixed? How much will it cost? And most importantly, will my insurance cover this windshield damage? For peace of mind, let’s look at each of those questions one by one. 

Is driving with a cracked windshield unsafe?

Although a small crack is not inherently dangerous, it is considered unsafe for a few reasons. First, even a small crack can grow quickly and threaten the effectiveness of the windshield itself. If a second rock were to hit the windshield or an accident were to occur, the natural protections that would be in place by a fully intact windshield would be compromised, and the likelihood of more serious injury would be increased. For the safety of future occupants in potential situations, it should be repaired or replaced. Secondly, as a corollary to that safety concern, a crack in a windshield also can cause visibility and distractibility issues that could actually lend themselves to causing further incidents or accidents. In this way, sometimes it’s not the size of the crack that matters, it’s the fact that it exists at all that can compromise the integrity of the windshield and the ability of the driver.

Will I need to replace the windshield or can I get it fixed?

Basic rule of thumb when examining a cracked windshield and determining whether it can be repaired or replaced, is how long the crack is. In most situations, if the crack is under 3 inches, it can be repaired and a full replacement isn’t necessary. Many shops use the dollar bill test: if it can be fully covered up by a dollar bill, it can be repaired. This makes it doubly important that the crack be addressed immediately, because it can grow very quickly and lead to requiring a full replacement.

How much will it cost to replace my windshield?

Without insurance, the average cost to repair a windshield can be between $20 – $75 but can get as high as $350 depending on the make and model of the car. But this leads to the next obvious question.

Will my insurance cover windshield crack repair?

The short answer is, yes. But there are many involved elements here, including the potential for requiring a deductible, and how to proceed with a claim. First things first, it is in an insurance company’s best interest to get a windshield repaired. For the same reasons that a customer is concerned for their safety when driving with a crack, the insurance company is concerned for any potential for further injury and damage and this risk is decreased if the windshield is repaired quickly and effectively. In addition, most policies also cover windshield replacement which can cost the company more, so it would make sense that they would be interested in taking the easier, lower cost option of fixing it as soon as possible. The next question a customer immediately is concerned with is a deductible. Nearly all policies have deductibles which can help to lower premiums, but if the costs are so low, then would it be logical to make a claim for windshield repair if it would be under the deductible amount anyways. For this reason, most insurance companies do not apply the deductible to glass damage, and simply cover the costs to get the repair completed. This benefits both the customer and the insurance company in getting the claim handled and the glass fixed. Fortunately, most insurance companies have a separate department that handles all glass related claims, to separate them from other kinds of claims that may require the application of the deductible or liability concerns. 

As scary as a sudden rock in the windshield can be, the resulting crack doesn’t have to feel so daunting. Experienced insurance professionals, like those at Winstead Insurance, have handled situations like this for years and can make the process simple and smooth for any concerned customer. When purchasing your car insurance, be sure to consult them for competitive rates from multiple companies that will include windshield repair and replacement costs, to put your mind at ease, just in case an errant rock decides to try and ruin your day. With Winstead backing you up, your insurance company will ensure a quick and easy resolution. Call Winstead Insurance for quotes at 410.398.6700.