How does an auto insurance policy’s deductible apply to a broken windshield or windshield repair?
Three Different Types of Coverage
To understand Windshield Repair coverage, you should first understand the basics of car insurance. There are three types of auto insurance coverage: Comprehensive, Collision and Liability.
- Liability: If you cause an accident, this two-part coverage — including bodily injury liability and property damage liability — will pay for the other party’s medical bills and vehicle repairs. It will not protect you or your passengers if you are injured or your vehicle is damaged as a result of the wreck.
- Collision: This type of coverage will pay to fix or replace your own vehicle after an accident. Coverage extends to damage caused by collision with an object (e.g., a tree or house) or an accident in which no object was involved (e.g., if your car flips). Most states don’t mandate collision coverage, but if you have a loan or a lease, your finance company will probably require it. Collision insurance cannot usually be purchased without comprehensive coverage.
- Comprehensive: This protects your vehicle against certain types of damage not caused by an accident, such as theft, vandalism, falling objects, flood, fire, animals, or natural disasters. It also covers claims in which the damage is limited to glass damage such as a cracked or chipped windshield. Comprehensive insurance is optional unless your lender or lessor requires you to have it. This type of insurance is usually purchased in combination with collision coverage.
Any time a damage or accident claim is filed against your car insurance, you must pay a deductible. A deductible is a payment level that must be met before the insurance picks up the rest of the claim cost. Common car insurance deductible levels might be $0, $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 per incident. A person with a $250 deductible would have to pay $250 towards repairs if damage exceeds that amount. Choosing a lower deductible may increase your annual premium, but would result in a lower out-of-pocket expense to repair or replace any vehicles involved.
Windshield Repair or Replacement
Comprehensive coverage deductibles are applied to cover windshield cracks or breakage as well as the other glass in your car. In the case of a broken windshield or one that is extremely damaged, your policy deductible would generally apply. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that when dealing with windshield damage. First, some insurance companies have a separate piece of the policy that defines coverage for glass breakage. This special coverage may allow for a lesser deductible owed on windshield replacement. Second, if the damage is minimal (smaller than a quarter is a good rule of thumb) like a chip, nick, or small crack, you may be able to have it repaired at no cost if your insurance company waives your deductible for having the repair performed.
How does this effect you/me?
Many people are unaware that you are able to select different deductible amounts for both the Collision and Comprehensive portions of your policy and many times the difference per month is minimal. I encourage you to question your agent about the difference or if you are shopping/buying online select the different coverage’s and see the monthly difference firsthand.
Example: (all information is used as examples only. Assuming full coverage)
- If you carry a $500 deductible for collision and $500 for comprehensive on your vehicle, the monthly premium is $80.
- However, if you carry a $500 collision deductible and a $100 comprehensive deductible the monthly premium may be $83.
Under the first scenario it would cost you $500 or the full cash price of the windshield, which ever is less.
Under the second scenario it would cost you $3 more per month but only cost you $100 to replace your windshield.
It is also important to understand that the comprehensive portion covers all of the glass in your vehicle not just the windshield. So, should someone vandalize your vehicle and breaks out the back glass and a door glass at the same time your deductible will cover both pieces to be replaced.
The newer vehicles are coming from the factory with more and more options attached to and in the windshield and as you can imagine the cost of these windshields are sky rocketing, replacing with the incorrect windshield may/will render the safety features inoperable and cause errors/alerts in today’s cars . Some of these options are Rain Sensors, Auto Light Sensors, Heated Wiper Park Area, Electrochromic, Acoustic Interlayer, Infared, Lane Departure Warning System, Antennas, Remote Start, Forward Collision Alert and many many more options that effect how your car operates.
I spoke with a customer the other day and one of the first things they said was “The insurance company is screwing me around”. When I asked what he meant he said the insurance company was telling him he had to pay his $500 deductible before they would pay anything for his windshield replacement………. I ask you, which would be easier to handle/come up with…$3/mo or $500 all at once?