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Nothing can make you flinch more while driving than a small rock that flies up and hits your windshield. What may start off as a small line can lead to a huge crack or hole. The crack in your windshield can impact your sight lines, not to mention compromising the structural integrity of the windshield. Once it happens, you will then need to figure out whether or not to make an insurance claim for a cracked windshield. In this article, we outline the different types of windshield repairs you may need, where to repair it, and when best to pay out-of-pocket or file a claim. 

How a cracked windshield is assessed and repaired

Assessing your cracked windshield

Before any repairs can start, a technician will need to assess the chip to make sure that repairs are possible. Most small chips should not be a problem to fix. Windshields are made up of at least two layers of glass, making them quite resistant to serious impact damage. If the chip is confined to the first layer of glass and is small in size, then it can likely be repaired. If, however, the chip goes deeper than the first layer, or if larger than about one inch in diameter, then you may require a windshield replacement instead. This may also be the case if the chip has a chance of impeding your vision while you drive.

Repairing your cracked windshield

If your chip can be fixed yourself, you’ll need to follow the below steps:

  1. First step: Clean the chip area of any debris.
  2. Next step: Thoroughly dry and fill in the chip with an automotive resin.
  3. Last step: Once the resin is cured and hardened, it is then polished.

Windshield chip repair process typically only takes about 30 minutes. The repair process does leave a small divot on your windshield. The only way to get a completely smooth windshield again will be to get a new one.

Auto insurance coverage and cracked windshields

In most cases, your insurance provider will pay for the cost of chips or cracks in your windshield if you have comprehensive coverage. 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. It will also cover windshield replacement provided you have glass coverage. If you need to replace the windshield of a newer car with comprehensive coverage, your car insurance rate likely won’t rise. The exception will be if you make a number of claims within a short period of time.

Glass repairs to your car may not have coverage with Specified or Named perils coverage on your policy. With specified-perils coverage, you might not have coverage if the crack is the result of hail and it isn’t one of the specified perils in your policy.

Collision coverage will be your windshield insurance if the damage to your windshield, or any glass, is the result of a collision.

All perils insurance is comprehensive and collision insurance combined, therefore, you will have coverage in most cases of windshield damage.

Best option to repair your cracked windshield

Do you have to pay a deductible for windshield replacement?

In some instances, you can repair your car without having to go through your insurance and simply pay out-of-pocket. If your insurance deductible is $500 and your windshield repair cost is $280, you will have to pay that cost yourself since the cost for the repair is less than your deductible amount. Other times, it is better to speak with your isure broker. Some repairs can be as high as $800 or more! Your deductible will kick in, leaving you to fork out the remainder of the repair cost. You may not even have to pay the deductible in some cases because it’s cheaper for the insurance company to pay for the damage now before it becomes a bigger problem later.

DYK: Approximately 90% of chipped windshields turn into cracks eventually? As a result, the entire windshield may need a replacement, which is why insurance companies don’t mind paying for minor chip and crack repairs.

Repairing a chip: It may be $40 to $100 if you take it to a professional. You may want to call your isure broker first to get a recommendation. If the damage is covered by your insurance provider, you shouldn’t have to pay the deductible. If you want to tackle it yourself, you can get a kit online or at a store, such as Canadian Tire, for less than $20.

Repairing cracks: A do-it-yourself approach for cracks may not be feasible. Some places may charge $100 to $200 to fix a crack. As this is cheaper than replacing the entire windshield, your insurance provider likely won’t make you pay the deductible to repair these cracks.

Getting a new windshield: For an older car, it may be in the $300 to $400 range, depending on your vehicle. However, replacing a windshield in newer cars may start at $700 and easily cost more than $1,000. Expect to pay the deductible in this scenario.

DYK: Prices for new windshields have jumped in recent years because almost 40% of new vehicles sold in Canada today are equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology. This includes features, like blind-spot warnings, cameras and adaptive cruise control. This technology is often built into the windshield.

The cost of windshield repairs

The average cost of replacing a windshield in Canada ranges between $190-$400. This cost is dependent on the type of vehicle, as well as the type of windshield that needs repairing. Vehicles that have sensors in the windshield will certainly cost more to replace than one that doesn’t have those sensors.  In 2019, 37% of cars sold came with ADAS, according to the Globe & Mail. ADAS is new technology in cars, which allows for adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and blind-spot warnings, to name a few. While the tech is great, it comes at an additional cost. If replacing the windshield, it will need calibration.

Does a chipped or cracked windshield affect my insurance premium?

A windshield insurance claim should have little effect on your premiums. However, if your policy currently includes a claims-free credit, you may find that it disappears upon renewal. You can also ask your isure broker about adding an OPCF 39 Accident Forgiveness endorsement if you want air-tight protection. However, that’s meant specifically for waiving higher rates on at-fault accidents.

It’s important to remember that whether you claim it under collision or comprehensive coverage, you’ll have to pay the deductible. And it can cost as much as the replacement windshield itself. You’ll be paying out-of-pocket for the deductible with a possible increase to your premiums.

How many “free” windshield repairs can you get from your insurance provider?

Your insurance provider may cover windshield repairs without you having to pay anything. It all depends on how many times you make a claim for repairs. If you make a claim every few years, it should be free of charge each time. On the other hand, your insurance provider might refuse to pay, or it may raise your deductible if you submit claims more frequently (for example, twice a year). Check with your isure broker for clarification!

How to reduce the cost of windshield replacement

1. Check your insurance company

If you have comprehensive insurance, there’s a good chance that at least some of the cost will be covered. Many policies have a deductible for glass repair or replacement, so you’ll need to pay that amount out-of-pocket. However, the rest of the cost should be covered by your insurer.

2. Sometimes, it’s better to repair the windshield than replace it

If your windshield is only slightly damaged, you may be able to get away with a repair rather than a full replacement. This is usually much cheaper. However, not all damage can be repaired. If the damage is extensive or right in the driver’s line of sight, then a replacement will be necessary.

3. Get multiple quotes before making a decision

The cost of windshield replacement can vary significantly from one company to the next. It’s important to get multiple quotes before making a final decision.

Final thoughts on windshield repairs

It’s always good to check with your insurer before having any work done so you know exactly what’s covered and what isn’t. It may sometimes be cheaper to pay for the repair yourself rather than go through your insurance. But in most cases, using your insurance will save you money on windshield replacement. Here at isure, our knowledgeable brokers will further discuss the ins and outs of windshield repairs and your insurance to help you make a decision. We are always ready to answer your questions, so please feel free to contact us today at 1-877-702-2631 for more information on cracked windshields and insurance!

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