Your guide to auto insurance glass claims

Justin Stoltzfus

The windshield is the retina of a vehicle. It’s what allows you to safely see the road ahead. And it’s something you might not even think about much until it’s damaged.

Auto insurance glass claims
Auto insurance glass claims

Am I covered?

What happens when your windshield is cracked by a falling object or smashed by vandal? Your windshield is covered by comprehensive physical damage coverage, according to GEICO. This coverage is optional, and many drivers may not have it.

For major windshield damage, drivers should first check their policies to see whether they have comprehensive coverage. If the glass is broken during an accident, it may be covered under your collision policy — or the other driver’s liability coverage if he or she is at fault.

Fixing the damage

Report glass damage to your insurer as quickly as possible. Be sure to find a repair shop that will install a top-quality aftermarket windshield that complies with all applicable safety ratings. Progressive Insurance, for example, has a network of recommended glass replacement companies. Progressive customers also can choose a glass repair shop on their own.

One way to limit damage to a windshield is to catch small cracks before they spread. If the crack is small enough, it’s more likely you can repair the damage without having to replace the entire windshield.

According to State Farm, windshields with cracks that are not in the acute area (the area right in front of the driver) usually can be fixed rather than replaced. Repairing windshields, instead of replacing them, allows drivers to keep their original factory windshields in place longer and avoid more expensive glass claims. Small bull’s-eye, star, half-moon or splinter-shaped cracks often can be fixed in less than 30 minutes, according to State Farm.

Watch out for scams

In a warning on its website, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud cites troubling instances of roving window-repair scammers. These scammers try to persuade drivers to get “free windshield replacements,” tempting them with freebies like movie tickets, vouchers or anything else that sweetens the pot. These individuals or shops then use poor-quality glass and bill insurance companies or customers excessively.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud outlines some risks of letting an independent operator fix your windshield:

  • Unsafe glass can cause problems with visibility and extreme danger to drivers and passengers.
  • Excessive glass repair claims can lead to the loss of auto insurance coverage.
  • Unnecessary claims can raise auto insurance premiums for all drivers.
  • False claims constitute insurance fraud, and those who knowingly request unnecessary fixes can face criminal charges.

The bottom line is that drivers should always monitor the integrity of their windshields and go to legitimate shops for repairs. Catching small glass problems early can save money, and knowing how to handle glass claims can help drivers keep their auto insurance and stay on the road for less money.

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