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How do car insurance glass claims work – and should you make one?

Find out when and if you should make a glass claim, and how it can impact the price you pay for car insurance.

It’s been over 20 years since Rick Mercer got a New Yorker to congratulate Canada on “800 miles of paved road.” 

While the notion that we still drive primarily on dirt roads is absurd, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Anyone who’s been on a road trip in this country knows that a rock is going to hit your windshield sooner or later, and it’s only a matter of time before a crack appears.

A damaged windshield can easily cost hundreds of dollars to repair, but is it possible your insurance company could pay the bill? Let’s take a look at how (and whether) to make a car insurance claim for your windshield.

Will my car insurance cover a cracked windshield?

Your car insurance will pay to repair or replace a damaged windshield, but only if you have the right coverage.

For the most part, windshield damage falls under the comprehensive insurance coverage of your car insurance policy – the same coverage that protects against fire, theft and vandalism. In the event your windshield is damaged or broken, you can make a claim to have it repaired.

Also read: The top 10 most stolen vehicles in Canada

Drivers seeking to lower the cost of their Ontario auto insurance or Alberta auto insurance can opt for a coverage addition (endorsement) on their policy that helps to save you money by removing coverage for glass damage caused by debris. If you have such an endorsement on your policy you can still claim damage caused by a collision, vandalism or severe weather, but not if it’s caused by a flying rock.

Do I have to pay a deductible on a windshield repair claim?

Whether you have to pay a deductible on your windshield repair claim depends on your policy and the extent of the damage.

Many car insurance policies include zero-deductible coverage to repair a windshield with minor damage. By repairing a stone chip, you reduce the likelihood of a crack forming – and therefore the likelihood of your insurer paying for an entire new windshield. 

If your insurance company doesn’t offer this benefit, or if the damage requires your windshield be replaced rather than repaired, you will need to pay the deductible on your glass claim. If, for example, the cost of repairs is $800 and your deductible is $500, insurance will only pay out $300 for your claim.

It’s worth noting that choosing a higher deductible is one of the best ways to save money on car insurance. Even if it means paying out of pocket for nuisance repairs like broken glass, you’re likely to be better off in the long run with a higher deductible.

Will a windshield repair claim raise my car insurance premium?

Your car insurance premium can only go up if you make a claim for something that’s your fault, like a collision. Things outside of your control, including windshield damage caused by road debris, won’t lead to higher premiums.

Making a claim may, however, limit your ability to get coverage in the future. Your existing insurance company could withdraw your glass coverage or raise your deductible if you make too many claims. If you’re shopping around for a new car insurance policy, your claims history can also affect your ability to get coverage.

Can I add windshield coverage to my insurance policy?

You may be able to add glass coverage to your existing car insurance policy, but not as a standalone endorsement.

To add windshield coverage, you’ll need to buy comprehensive car insurance that includes coverage for things like fire, theft and vandalism. The cost to add comprehensive to your policy varies, but will typically add a few hundred dollars per year to your premium.

For the best deal on car insurance, choose “all perils” coverage that combines collision and comprehensive coverage together.

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How do I make a claim for a broken windshield?

Making a claim for a chipped or broken windshield is fast and easy. Most auto glass companies in Canada work directly with the insurance companies and only charge you for the amount that’s not covered by your policy.

When making an appointment to have your auto glass repaired or replaced, the company will ask for your insurance details and validate your coverage. Be sure to confirm the amount you have to pay yourself before work begins, and get the estimate in writing so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.

How can I save money on auto glass if I don’t have insurance coverage?

When you don’t have glass coverage but need a new windshield, the best way to save money is to call multiple shops in your area for an estimate. Most reputable companies will be able to give you a quote over the phone, and you’d be surprised how much the cost can vary.

One thing to look out for when comparing quotes is that many newer vehicles have safety systems that are actually built into the windshield; your vehicle’s collision avoidance, lane assist and adaptive cruise control features could rely on sensors embedded in the glass. Make sure the company doing the work has the right parts, equipment and certifications to do the job.

The bottom line

With the right insurance coverage, you can have a chipped or cracked windshield replaced for free, without any impact to your premiums. Compare insurance quotes online to get the best deal on the coverage you need.

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