Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 4, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • A basic liability-only auto insurance policy doesn’t offer any type of first-party coverage that pays for your own repairs
  • While state-mandated coverage doesn’t provide any type of coverage for physical damage, you do have the option to add physical damage cover to your plan for an added charge
  • Physical damage protection consists of comprehensive and collision coverage

Auto glass has come a long way. With advances in glass technologies, most modern windshields can enhance your comfort while driving without compromising your safety.

While auto safety glass is strong enough to withstand a lot of force, it’s definitely not impenetrable.

If it’s hit just right, it can easily break or crack. There may come a time where you’ll have to deal with a broken windshield that needs a quick repair.

When this happens, one of the first places that you should contact is your insurance company. Not all car insurance policies are built to cover glass claims, but some are.

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If I have state minimum coverage, will my policy cover windshield replacement?

In most states, you’re required by law to carry third-party liability insurance when you own a car.

Since it’s your responsibility to pay for the damages that you cause while you’re in your car, requiring liability insurance makes sense.

The coverage that’s required by the state doesn’t cover your own damages. Instead, it kicks in to pay for the damages that you cause to others.

If you collide with a car and there’s damage to the body or windshield damage, your property damage will pay to make those third-party windshield repairs. It won’t, however, pay to restore your car.

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What is optional physical damage coverage?

Physical damage coverage is an optional coverage in the eyes of the state but not in the eyes of your finance company.

If you’re financing your vehicle, you’re required under the lending agreement to carry physical damage coverage that pays for your repairs.

Failing to fully cover the vehicle as required could result in forced-placed insurance and extra fees.

Physical damage protects the vehicle owner and finance company by ensuring that the car will be repaired or replaced by following a loss.

The coverage consists of both comprehensive and collision coverage, which each protects you under different circumstances.

What is comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive coverage is the more affordable form of physical damage coverage that pays for ‘other than collision’ losses.

This description might sound broad but that’s because there’s a long list of different types of losses that fall under the comprehensive umbrella.

Here are some of the perils that are covered under comprehensive :

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Weather
  • Flood
  • Animal damage
  • Falling objects
  • Glass damage

Are there special provisions for glass claims?

In most cases, you’re obligated to pay your comprehensive deductible when you file any type of comprehensive claim.

With this being said, some insurance companies will actually offer their customers full glass coverage for a small fee.

Full glass coverage means that your insurance deductible doesn’t apply when you have a claim for glass replacement.

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Do you have to pay your deductible if the windshield can be repaired?

Some insurance companies have special policies that waive your deductible when you need a chip repair instead of a replacement.

This is an incentive to get your windshield chips repaired before they spread and the only option is to replace the glass. Check with your insurer to see if they have this program.

How do you file a glass claim?

If you go to a glass company that’s affiliated with your insurer, you can file your claim through the shop to save time.

Simply give the representative your insurance policy information and they will contact your claims department so that the payment is sent directly to the glass company.

If you file the insurance claim on your own, you may have to pay for the repairs first.

Windshields can be expensive. Make sure to use your insurance benefits that you’re paying for when you can.

If you’re not happy with the way that your glass claim was handled, use an online rate comparison tool to find lower rates through a more reputable company.

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