LAST UPDATED: June 22, 2019

How to Replace Your Windshield with Windshield Replacement Insurance

Cracked windshield? Before you pay out-of-pocket for a repair or replacement, see if you can reduce expenses with the proper insurance. 

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

The Review Team

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON June 22, 2019

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

If there's one vulnerable spot on a vehicle that is almost guaranteed to crack, chip, or break, it's the windshield. Unlike exterior body panels on a typical car, the windshield is the most exposed part of the vehicle. Windshield materials continue to improve in durability and longevity, but all types of automotive glass have some limitations.

When something does go wrong with your windshield, immediate attention is required if you want to continue to drive your vehicle safely. That means you will likely have to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Just like any other automotive service, this can include many charges and fees that can quickly drain your pocket if you're not careful.

The good news is if you have nearly any comprehensive insurance coverage for your vehicle, you can minimize those costs or eliminate them altogether. The trick is knowing your options, what your insurance covers, how it all works, and ultimately, how to file a claim to get the windshield repaired.

If you're facing a cracked or broken windshield, here are a few of your options to take care of the costs today.

Another Way to Stay Covered

Don’t want auto repair insurance? Check out these great extended warranty providers:


Get $350 off an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

Offering more comprehensive coverage on repairs and services OEM warranties list in exclusions, an Endurance warranty actually provides the type of coverage many disappointed vehicle owners assume automakers just include automatically. 

Get a free quote from Endurance today or call: 1-855-632-3655


If you’re a California resident and need coverage most other providers can’t offer, the autopom! line of mechanical breakdown insurance plans has you covered. All it takes is a short glance to see just how many options you have to find the right plan. 

Visit the autopom! website today or call for a free quote: 1-888-528-7487

Windshield Damage

Thankfully, modern automotive windshields are designed to take a lot of abuse, even if they start to show signs of damage before completely breaking or shattering. In fact, most instances of windshield damage don't require a complete replacement. Replacing the windshield comes down to the type and extent of the damage itself.

Small signs of damage can usually be repaired. This includes small chips and dings, bullseye cracks, and other small marks that may develop after an impact or even over time. These types of marks tend to rest more at the surface level of the windshield than deeper in the glass.

More extensive signs of damage include larger cracks that can get worse over time. Stress cracks, for example, develop as a windshield is exposed to extreme variations in temperature (i.e. from hot to cold or vice versa). If addressed soon enough, this type of crack may be repairable, but it most often leads to a complete replacement when neglected.

Edge and floater cracks are some of the most noticeable signs that your windshield is in need of replacement. Edge cracks, which form along the perimeter of the windshield, can span inwards and cover a large area of the windshield surface. Floater cracks, which form near the center of the windshield, tend to branch out in different directions. In both cases, these cracks can threaten the structural integrity of the windshield over time or immediately if the impact is large enough.

Dealing with Windshield Damage

The most straightforward way to pay for a windshield replacement is just to do it yourself. Nothing says you have to go through an insurance provider to file a claim and to use one of their windshield replacement specialists if you don't want.

Paying out-of-pocket actually has some advantages, despite the fact you are footing the bill yourself. The biggest advantage is the freedom to choose who you want to work on your vehicle and in what time frame. Essentially, you can simplify the whole process. 

You don't have to mess with filing a claim (i.e. filling out paperwork), waiting for a response from your insurance provider, scheduling an appointment with a recommended (or required) auto shop, and then waiting to get the work done. Instead, you can do all the work yourself of researching different auto shops or going to your favorite auto shop.

It should go without saying, however, this is usually the most expensive option to take. The problem with paying for the replacement yourself is finding out what it will actually cost. Typical windshield replacement costs vary from $100 for basic vehicles to $1,500 for luxury cars, depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of the damage to the windshield, and the windshield replacement. 

Getting quotes ahead of time is crucial to managing your costs so you can prevent them from getting out of control unexpectedly. Finding a number of quotes will also help you choose between different windshield replacement providers, especially if you have a budget you want to stick to.

Comprehensive Coverage Plan Coverage

If you have comprehensive auto insurance for your vehicle, there's a very good chance a windshield replacement will be covered by the insurance provider. This obviously depends on your particular plan as well as the cause of the windshield damage. For example, many plans cover basic causes like rocks but may leave out less common causes, such as bird strikes or road debris. 

Once again, this will always vary between insurance plans and providers.

If you want to explore what your particular plan covers, it’s best to get in touch with your insurance provider for a list of all the inclusions of the plan itself. If your plan does cover glass repair or replacement work, and you want to use it to reduce or eliminate costs, you'll have a couple of options.

Windshield Repair

If the damage is light enough, you may find that a total replacement is not necessary. Instead, a simple repair may be able to remove or reduce small marks and scratches on the surface of the windshield. This is especially true if the damage doesn't threaten the overall structural integrity of the glass.

In most cases, simple windshield repair work will be free when covered by an insurance plan. This can include repairing damage to the seals, windshield wipers, or other small parts. Your insurance provider may send you to an authorized auto shop to get the work done without having to pay a dime or may reimburse you if you go "out-of-network" with an auto shop of your choice. Either way, the repair work is usually quick and simple, free of charge, and can even be done while you are out and about by some companies.

A man replacing a windshield in a car.

Total windshield replacements aren’t always complicated and sometimes can be done outside of a repair shop.

Windshield Glass Replacement

If the damage is extensive enough, it's usually safer to replace the windshield altogether than try to repair it. The extent of the damage is usually pretty evident after a quick glance. If you notice large cracks along the surface of the auto glass, there's a good chance it will need to be replaced.

Here again, most insurance plans will cover a large portion of the replacement costs. It isn't quite as simple as windshield repair work since the cost of the replacement and the amount covered by your insurance both depend on the particulars of your situation. In other words, the extent of the damage, cost of the replacement windshield, your type of vehicle, and other factors come into play.

At the very least, you should expect to pay some kind of standard deductible included in your insurance policy. This is the amount you are responsible for before the insurance policy kicks in. This may be a few hundred or thousands of dollars, depending on the specifics of your plan.

In the event that the cost of the windshield replacement is lower than your deductible, then you will be paying for it outright. If it is greater than your deductible, however, then the insurance company will cover the difference between the cost and your deductible. Generally, less expensive car insurance policies come with higher deductibles, so you may be paying more out-of-pocket if you have a low premium you pay each month. 

This deductible may also increase if you have multiple insurance claims on a vehicle in a certain period of time.


Q. Does my insurance increase if I get a windshield replaced?

A. It can affect your rate, but not as much as general collisions. This all depends on your particular plan provider.

Q. Is there a way to get a windshield replacement for free?

A. Some insurance plans will wave deductible fees under certain conditions. Check with your insurance provider to see what conditions may apply to get a replacement for free. Most repairs, however, are automatically free unless extensive work is required.

Q. When should I use my insurance to replace a windshield?

A. Unless you can comfortably afford a windshield replacement out-of-pocket, using your insurance is generally a good idea.

Fixing Your Windshield

Ultimately, the choice to pay out of pocket or to use your comprehensive insurance is up to you. You can save some money with your insurance plan, but you may find the process will take a little longer to complete when dealing with the insurance provider.

If you want to pay out-of-pocket, the next step is to research your options in windshield replacement specialists and what they will quote for your windshield and vehicle. Going the insurance route begins with contacting your insurance to file a windshield glass claim (ideally a claim online). They will guide you through the specific steps since these vary from provider to provider. 

You should also expect them to recommend or get you in touch with a repair shop that can make the necessary repairs or replace the windshield altogether.

More Information

Here are a few more resources you can use to find out about windshield replacements:

Get More Protection

Insurance isn’t the only way to get good coverage for your vehicle. Check out these great extended warranty providers:


Get $350 off an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

You don’t have to rely on the automaker to give you vehicle coverage that actually saves you money. In fact, most factory extended warranties fall short of customer expectations.

A plan with Endurance, on the other hand, is much more comprehensive. As the top warranty provider, according to Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living, Endurance can cover things far beyond factory defects and flaws. So, if you want real coverage, it’s time to check out Endurance.

Get a free quote from Endurance today or call: 1-855-632-3655


In California and don’t have many third-party providers who can sell you a warranty plan? Autopom! Offers a number of mechanical breakdown insurance plans for CA residents, meaning you get coverage that’s regulated by the state. 

Visit the autopom! website today or call for a free quote: 1-888-528-7487