Last updated on November 22, 2019 at 11:02 am
Your windshield puts up with a lot. But sometimes it’s no match for flying rocks on the highway or home runs that sail out of the park. Now you’re dealing with a nick, crack or full-on smashed glass. There’s usually very little you can do to prevent damage, except wonder, “Should I repair or replace my windshield.”
Now that you’re dealing with windshield damage, the key questions to ask are:
- How large an area is the damage?
- If chipped, where is the chip located?
- How many chips are there?
- Is this covered by my car insurance?
Repairing or replacing a windshield is usually a painless process. An inconvenience? Only a bit.
Tell Me About Repairs
In general, experts say if the chip, ding or crack is fewer than six inches wide it’s a candidate for repair. A lot of windshield companies will tell you that if you can cover the damage with a dollar bill, it can usually be repaired.
You might be tempted to just let a small chip or ding slide and save yourself a few bucks.
However, you’ll run the risk of the damage getting worse if, for instance, you hit a bad pothole or get hit with another rock (or foul ball). Furthermore, extreme cold temperatures cause glass to contract, making a windshield crack more likely to spread. Then a relatively affordable repair could turn into a much more expensive replacement.
The repair process is typically very quick. A technician injects resin into the damaged area to strengthen the spot and prevent the damage from spreading, and then polishes the repair.
OK. How About Replacement?
Generally speaking, you may need to consider replacing your windshield when:
- You’ve got more than three chips.
- The chip(s) or crack(s) is directly in the driver’s line of sight. (Repairs can distort the clarity of the glass.)
- The damage is at the edge of your windshield.
- Your windshield is completely smashed.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of your windshield replacement will vary depending on your make and model, the type of glass used and other factors. Other circumstances unique to your situation may also influence the cost.
Can Insurance Help?
Your insurance may be able to help pay, but whether to file a claim is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself. If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, it may help to pay for windshield repair or replacement if it’s hit by a rock or other object (like a baseball or softball). You’ll have to weigh the benefit of making the claim against your deductible and the overall cost of the replacement.
The best thing you can do is have a conversation with your agent or customer service rep about your specific coverage so you can make an informed decision.
Some companies also offer coverage specifically for glass repairs or replacement. Read the details of Plymouth Rock’s a la carte full glass coverage and $100 glass deductible coverage here.
The bottom line? Make repairs as quickly as possible and replace if necessary.