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Is my broken car window worth a car insurance claim?

Have you recently seen your car insurance rates rise after a claim, such as replacing a window. Try comparing quotes online to see if you're getting the best rate. It only takes 5 minutes to shop the market.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up to a broken car window. As it turns out, nighttime vandals went smashing car windows in our otherwise quiet residential neighbourhood.  What do I do? Is auto glass repair covered by insurance? Will it affect my insurance rates?

After filing my police report online, cleaning up the debris, taping a garbage bag to prevent water and animals from entering, I went about calling around to get quotes on the repair.

My dealership wanted nearly $1,000 for the parts and labour. A local mechanic would do it for a quarter of the price. I didn’t call my insurer because my comprehensive deductible is $1,000 – meaning I have to pay $1,000 for them to give me the $250 to pay for a new window. But, it got me thinking – is the front glass of my car covered by insurance? I remember driving a rental car, and a stone chipped the windshield, I know I didn’t pay for it, so what happened?

Is windshield replacement covered under auto insurance?

Yes, you can get your windshield replaced by insurance in a few ways.

Comprehensive insurance for a car will replace a broken car window. It also pays to repair your car if a tree falls on it, if it catches fire, or if it’s stolen and any resulting car vandalism. 

Glass repairs to your car might also be covered with specified perils or all perils insurance coverage of your policy. All perils insurance is comprehensive and collision insurance, with a little extra. Essentially, if your car is stolen by someone you know (e.g. mechanic, family member) and damage occurs, all perils covers you. Collision insurance will be your windshield insurance if the damage to your windshield, or any glass, is the result of a collision.

Does car insurance cover a windshield chip?

Yes, you can often fix a chip in your windshield without paying a deductible (the money you pay before your provider pays the rest). Apple auto glass, a specialty window glass repair company, states, “Getting a ding or chip repaired is often much more affordable than people think. If your auto insurance includes glass coverage, the repair could be free.

The average cost of a windshield chip repair, while dependent on size, will range from $50-$70.  So, while your car insurance will pay for it, is there zero cost to you?

Oh, and the story of the rental car with a cracked windshield. I didn’t pay rental car insurance, but I did have one of the best travel cards, and because I paid for the rental with it, it paid for the damage.

The cost of windshield repairs are going up

In 2019, 37% of cars sold came with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), according to the Globe & Mail. ADAS is new technology in cars which allow for adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and blind-spot warnings to name a few.  While the tech is great, it comes at a cost. What is typically a a few hundred dollars, could max out in the four figure range.

Do windshield replacements affect car insurance rates?

Yes, a full windshield replacement will cause your insurance to go up by a few dollars a month. So, weigh your options.

You can buy an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part, repair it at the dealership for about $1,000, and know it’s back to its original glory. Whether you claim it under collision or comprehensive, you’ll pay the deductible, which could be as much as the replacement windshield itself. You’ll lose money in the deal with the increase to your premiums and your future car insurance quotes.

Don’t rule out windshield replacement with no insurance. I made use of an aftermarket part, that was less expensive, with no difference in quality, from a local mechanic for $250. My insurance rates don’t go up and, you know what, some insurers even recommend it to keep costs low for everyone.

If you’re in a full-blown collision, yes, make a claim. Your deductible will be far less than the cost to repair or replace. And, despite an increase in your insurance rates, your premiums should be less than the total cost of the repair bill.

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How to get your windshield replaced by car insurance

Call your provider and ask for their stance. They may want you to go to a specific supplier, they may not care where you go, but it’s best to be clear. A small chip or crack, most specialty auto glass repair companies, can file directly with your insurer. A broken car window that requires full replacement, you’ll want their advice, because it’ll be different for each insurer. For the most part, you’ll submit a claim online or by phone, and receive the money via direct deposit or cheque. Here are a few providers and some differences.

Travelers insurance glass claims

Travelers insurance wants you to call them so they can direct you to a vendor they prefer. In general, they say you don’t have to pay the deductible to repair chips or cracks in your auto glass. But, they’re quick to add that it depends on the situation. For instance, let’s say the quick fix fails, and now the whole windshield needs replacing. Well, then, a deductible will typically apply. Unless, of course, your policy includes a no deductible glass claim.

TD Auto insurance glass coverage

TD says whether it’s a broken car window, flying gravel, or full windshield replacement – it all goes under your comprehensive or all perils coverage. They want (request) to help you with solutions to all your questions. They’d first use vendors of their choosing, so it’s best to call them online or by phone.

Comprehensive insurance ICBC

Car insurance in BC is run by the provincial government. They state that windshield repairs are free under comprehensive coverage without paying a deductible, but it has to meet certain criteria. That  “benchmark” has all to do what we’ve already said – a chip in the windshield or small crack – they’ll do it for free. You can save $50-$70, but it’s still technically a claim, albeit a small one. A full windshield replacement will cost – you’re paying the deductible, and your insurance rates will go up. 

The bottom line

Don’t use insurance to replace a broken car window.  Be it a chip, scratch, dent, or full windshield replacement, it’s cheaper to pay for it on your own in the long run. Unless you’re in a major collision, it’s not worth the deductible and potential rate increase. Call around to find the best price, but if you have ADAS, a new advanced windshield with a camera inside it, you might only be able to go to the dealer.