When does your Auto Insurance Policy cover Window Damage & Replacement?
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UPDATED: Jun 24, 2020
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When we speak of car insurance coverage, the first thing most think of is the insurance company covering the costs of dents, scratches, and other body damage to your car in the event of an accident.
How about the windshield?
Do you know if you can drive with a cracked windshield in your state?
Below is a table for you to find out the laws by state for cracked windshields.
And when they need to be replaced.
Note: In the illustration I have included various states. In Michigan the average cost (depending on vehicle and front or rear window) for replacement is $165 for 3 or more cracks. For replacement the average cost is $450. In Washington D.C. the cost is significantly lower with $122 for repairs and $340 for replacement.
Cracked Windshield Laws by State
I have included each state for compliance with window laws and regulations.
There is a search bar feature so you can plug in your state and check.
There are states which have “zero-deductible” glass replacement if you have comprehensive coverage.
They are Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.
What does that mean?
If you live in any of those states your deductible is waived if you need your windshield replaced from damage.
And you are allowed to do it once every couple of years.
In Kentucky it is once a year.
|State||Cracked Windshields||Chipped Windshields||Fines|
|Alabama||A single crack that is not intersected or joined with other cracks is permissible providing it does not cross the driver’s view.||Windshield cracks or chips smaller than ¾-inch in diameter are permitted if they are not located within 3″ of another crack.||Alabama does not specify the exact fines for windshield damage.|
|Alaska||Alaska laws state only that cracks that extend into or obstruct the driver’s view are not permitted.||Chipped windshields are also permitted, providing the chips do not obscure or hinder the driver’s ability to see clearly.||The decision of what constitutes obscuring is subjective, which means it is up to the law enforcement official’s discretion as to whether the driver can see properly.|
|Arizona||If cracks that are intersected by one or more cracks, it must be replaced.||Chips, cracks and other damage cannot be larger than ¾-inch in diameter.||Any driver who is stopped and issued a citation for failing to comply with the windshield laws in Arizona is subject to fines.|
|Arkansas||Arkansas does not clearly state the laws concerning chips and cracks.||Cracks or chips that are less than ¾-inch in diameter cannot be closer than 3 inches to another area of damage.||The presence of damage or obstructions on the windshield is a citable offense.|
|California||Drivers are not permitted to drive on California roads with a windshield or rear window that has defects that impair the driver’s vision.||These defects are not standardized, which means it is up to the discretion of the ticketing officer to determine whether any cracks or chips impair the driver’s view.||Violations can result in fines and the requirement to fix them within 48 hours.|
|Colorado||Cracks that are intersected by other cracks in the windshield are not permitted.||Cracks and chips must be smaller than ¾-inch in diameter, and cannot be less than three inches from any other crack, chip or discoloration.||Ticketing officer’s discretion as to whether any cracks, chips or discolorations are considered unsafe.|
|Connecticut||Must be in a condition that does not include defects that obstruct the driver’s view of the highway.||View obstruction only.||Connecticut does not list the actual amounts of the fines.|
|Delaware||A single crack that does not intersect or is not intersected by another crack is permitted providing it does not obstruct the driver’s vision.||Chips and cracks that are smaller than ¾-inch in diameter are permitted as long as they are not within three inches of another area of damage that is similar.||Violating any of the windshield laws in Delaware can result in a fine of $25 to $115 for the first offense. Second and subsequent offenses can result in fines of $57.50 to $230 and/or 10 to 30 days in jail.|
|Florida||Florida does not define anything about cracks or chips. Must be in good condition.||Cracks and chips that are smaller than ¾-inch in diameter and not located within three inches of another area of damage are permitted.||Any policyholder that has comprehensive coverage is not required to pay a deductible for windshield replacement in the state of Florida.|
|Georgia||Cannot have any areas of cracks or damage in a starburst pattern that is larger than three inches by three inches.||Cracks and chips cannot be within the space between the top of the steering wheel and within two inches of the top of the windshield.||Failing to follow these requirements in Georgia will generally result in citations.|
|Hawaii||Hawaii does not mention regulations concerning chips or cracks in the windshield. However, drivers must follow federal regulations.||Cracks that do not have any other intersecting cracks are permitted if they do not obscure the driver’s view.||Drivers who do not comply with these requirements could face fines ranging from $250 to $500 for each offense.|
|Idaho||the Idaho Court of Appeals has ruled that any crack in the windshield makes the vehicle unsafe. As such, any cracks on the windshield are illegal in Idaho.||Smaller than ¾ of an inch in diameter||Fines of $67 to $90 per infraction.|
|Illinois||Illinois does not list specifics as to the permissible size of cracks or chips.||Impairs the driver’s ability to see clearly.||Failing to follow the windshield laws in Illinois is considered a traffic infraction.|
|Indiana||Indiana does not specify any regulations in regards to cracks or chips.||All vehicles must be in a safe condition that does not endanger the driver, other vehicle occupants or others on the roadway.||$169 per occurrence.|
|Iowa||The windshield must provide clear vision.||Ticketing officer whether any cracks or chips in the windshield prevent clear vision.||Iowa does not provide information concerning the potential fines .|
|Kansas||It is illegal to drive a vehicle if the damage to the front windshield or windows presents a substantial obstruction to the driver’s view.||The ticketing officer can use his or her best judgement as to whether the cracks or chips in the windshield present an obstruction for the driver.||Failing to comply with the Kansas windshield laws can result in a minimum fine of $45 for the first offense. The second offense within two years will result in a fine that is 1.5 times that amount, and the third offense within two years will result in a fine that is double the original amount.|
|Kentucky||Drivers are required to follow federal regulations.||Up to the ticketing officer’s discretion.||Kentucky also has laws in place that require insurance companies to waive the deductible on windshield replacement for those who carry comprehensive coverage on their vehicles in an effort to facilitate timely replacement when necessary.|
|Louisiana||No cracks are permitted in the area directly in the line of the driver’s vision.||No stars larger than two inches are permitted in the area outside of the driver’s side windshield wiper sweep.||Failing to be in compliance with these regulations can result in citations and fines, which are not defined in the Louisiana statutes.|
|Maine||Chips, cracks, star fractures, bull’s eye fractures and stone bruises greater than one inch are not permitted if they block the driver from having a clear view of the road.||It is illegal to drive with a windshield that has a crack longer than six inches located in any area.||Fines up to $310 for the first offense or $610 for a second or subsequent offense.|
|Maryland||Those that are in a starburst or spider web pattern may be considered an obstruction of the driver’s clear view.||Federal regulations.||Can result in fines ranging from $70 to $150 if the issue caused an accident.|
|Massachusetts||No cracks or areas of damage are permitted within the path that the windshield wipers follow when clearing the windshield.||Windshields cannot have chips that are larger than the size of a quarter.||The first and second offenses carry fines of up to $250. A third offense and any subsequent offenses will result in your driver’s license being suspended for up to 90 days.|
|Michigan||Vehicles must be in a safe operating condition that does not endanger the driver or others who are on the roadways.||Law enforcement can stop any vehicle that they deem as being in an unsafe condition on the roadways.||Michigan does not list the amount of these fines.|
|Minnesota||It is illegal to drive a vehicle if the windshield is discolored or cracked in a way that limits the driver’s clear view.||Obscures view considered to be unsafe.||Minnesota does not list the potential fines for breaking windshield laws.|
|Mississippi||Multiple chips, pits or areas of shattering are not permitted.||Any cracks or breaks present cannot obstruct or hinder the driver’s ability to see.||Drivers who do not comply with tinting laws can face fines of up to $1,000 and/or up to 3 months in jail.|
|Missouri||Any star type breaks, which are those that have a point of impact surrounded by radiating cracks, are not permitted.||Half-moon and bull’s eye chips in the glass that are within three inches of another area of damage and within the driver’s viewing area are not permitted.||Failing to comply laws will result in fines that are determined by the county and the vehicle not passing inspection for registration.|
|Montana||Cannot be shattered in way that obstructs the driver’s view of the roadway.||No defects that obstruct or impair the driver’s clear view of the roadway.||Motorists are given five days to fix the issue. If the infraction is not remedied, the driver will be required to pay a fine ranging from $10 to $100.|
|Nebraska||Nebraska does not have any laws stating that cracks and chips in the windshield are not permitted.||Any extensive damage or defect, such as shattered glass or multiple intersecting cracks in the windshield that obstructs the driver’s view of the roadway and intersecting roadways may be cause for a traffic stop.||Subject to fines of $50 for a first offense, $100 for the second offense and $150 for any additional offenses.|
|Nevada||There can be nothing that interferes with the driver’s clear view of the roadway through any required glass in the vehicle.||Motorists may be stopped for chips and cracks of nearly any size that an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe it presents a vision obstruction.||Failing to comply can result in citations and fines.|
|New Hampshire||Windshields cannot have shattered areas.||Windshields cannot be cracked.||$75 for each offense.|
|New Jersey||Cracked or chipped windshields should be replaced.||Cracks in view require replacement.||New Jersey laws can result in fines that range from as little as $44 for obstructions and up to $123 for failing to make any repairs to the windshield that are required in order for the vehicle to be safe.|
|New Mexico||It is up to the discretion of the ticketing officer whether any cracks, chips or defects may obscure the driver’s vision and thus endanger others.||Motorists cannot drive a vehicle on the roadways that is in an unsafe condition.||Those who fail to comply with the windshield laws in New Mexico may be subject to fines. However, the citation and fine may be suspended if you are able to correct the issue and provide proof of doing so to the courts.|
|New York||Vehicles on the roadway must not have cracks, chips, discoloration or defects that distort the driver’s visibility.||The broad language of this requirement means that it is up to the ticketing officer’s discretion as to whether the cracks, chips or defects affect the driver’s ability to see while driving.||Drivers in New York who do not comply with the laws are subject to fines and having demerit points added to their driver’s license.|
|North Carolina||North Carolina does not have specific regulations concerning cracks or chips.||Officer discretion for obstructions in view.||The state has enacted laws requiring insurance companies to waive the deductibles for those with comprehensive coverage that are having a windshield replaced.|
|North Dakota||Follow Federal Regulations.||Cracks that are not intersected by any other cracks are permitted.||Fines and demerit points against your driver’s license.|
|Ohio||Ohio law does not specifically identify sizes and shapes of cracks and chips.||Windshields with large cracks, chips or other defects located in front of the driver may be considered unsafe due to vision obstruction.||In most cases, Ohio allows drivers to show proof that the issue was corrected if issued a citation for failing to comply with the laws. However, fines of up to $150.|
|Oklahoma||Windshields with shot damage or star breaks that are greater than three inches in diameter are not permitted.||Areas of damage or outright breaks that are severely cracked, allow air to pass through or can be felt with a fingertip are not permitted on any portion of the windshield.||Drivers who fail to comply with the laws can face a fine of $162 or $132 if the issue is corrected and they provide proof to the courts.|
|Oregon||Does not have specific regulations||Drivers are not permitted to drive a vehicle on the roadways that is or could be dangerous to those in the vehicle and other drivers.||Subject to fines starting at $110 for each infraction.|
|Pennsylvania||Glass with shatters or sharp edges that are exposed are not permitted.||No cracks or chips in the center of the driver’s side of the windshield are permitted.||Drivers who fail to comply with the requirements will not pass mandatory vehicle inspections. Additionally, driving a vehicle that is not in compliance can result in citations and fines.|
|Rhode Island||No chips, cracks or defects within the wiper swipe area in front of the driver are permitted.||Cracks that allow the glass to move or that damage the safety seal inside the glass layers are not permitted.||Will be unable to pass the registration inspection. Additionally, vehicles driven on the roadways that are not in compliance are subject to fines and a minimum of $35 for court costs plus an additional $25 fee, even if the citation is dismissed due to having a good driving record.|
|South Carolina||Does not have specific regulations on cracks and chips.||The state does have a law that requires insurance companies to waive the deductible for windshield replacement.||Failing to comply with the laws in South Carolina can result in citations and fines.|
|South Dakota||No vehicle may be driven on the roadways that has any cracks, chips or other defects in the windshield or any other window.||Not allowed.||Issued fines of $120 or more for the first offense.|
|Tennessee||Tennessee does not have regulations concerning cracks and chips.||Federal Guidelines.||Drivers in Tennessee who do not comply with the laws can be pulled over by law enforcement, issued citations and have to pay fines.|
|Texas||Any crack that causes the glass to change shape by becoming convex or concave is not permitted.||Any cracks that obscure the driver’s clear view of the roadway could be grounds for a traffic stop by law enforcement.||Failing to comply is considered a petty misdemeanor and is subject to fines.|
|Utah||Any windshield that is pitted, scratched, clouded or discolored in a way that obscures the driver’s vision are not permitted.||Cracks or chips larger than one inch are not permitted in the area six inches from the top of the windshield, six inches from the bottom and six inches from either side edge.||Utah motorists who fail to comply with the laws will not be able to pass the required vehicle inspections and will be subjected to fines if pulled over while driving with any of the issues.|
|Vermont||Star breaks larger than two inches are not permitted within the area in front of the driver.||Two or more bulls-eye or star breaks that are larger than ¾ of an inch in diameter are not permitted in the area in front of the driver.||Vermont vehicles that do not comply with the laws will not pass the required registration inspection. Additionally, vehicles driven on the roadways are subject to traffic stops by law enforcement and subsequent fines.|
|Virginia||Scratches larger than 6 inches by ¼ inch within the area cleared by the wipers are not permitted.||Star cracks, chips and pits larger than 1-1/2 inches in diameter are not permitted anywhere on the windshield above the bottom three inches of the glass.||Drivers who fail to comply with the laws may face fines starting at $81 for each offense. Additionally, any vehicle that is not in compliance with these rules will not pass the required annual inspections.|
|Washington||No specific regulations.||No motorist is permitted to drive a vehicle on the roadways that is in a condition that is unsafe and could harm another person.||Any driver who does not comply with the windshield laws is subject to fines up to $250.|
|West Virginia||No cracks, chips, defects or repairs are permitted in the 8-1/2 by 11 inch area directly in front of the driver.||Cracks and chips larger than one and a half inches are not permitted in the area wiped by the windshield wipers.||Violations of the laws can result in fines and failure of the vehicle to pass the required inspection for registration.|
|Wisconsin||Chips and stone damage larger than 1-1/2 inches in diameter are not permitted on any part of the windshield.||Cracks that extend into the area directly in front of the driver are not permitted.||Failing to comply with the laws can result in traffic stops by law enforcement and subsequent fines for each offense.|
|Wyoming||No cracks or chips that impair or obstruct the driver’s clear view of the roadway are permitted.||Ticketing officer’s discretion.||Either a warning or a minimum fine of $110 per offense depending on the county in which the infraction occurs.|
In states which require a safety inspection, if you have cracks, chips, and/or star patterns in your view while driving, most likely you will not pass the safety inspection.
Unlike aesthetic damage on the body, having a cracked or shattered windshield could mean you may not be able to drive until the window is fixed.
Windshield replacement can cost up to $750 depending on the type of vehicle you own.
For many drivers this can be an expensive expense.
Below I have outlined the cost of typical car window repair and replacement for popular and luxury vehicles.
|Vehicle Type||Repair (less than 6in crack)||Replace (greater than 6in crack)|
Depending on the circumstances of the windshield damage and the type of insurance coverage, repair or replacement of the damaged windshield may be covered by the insurance provider.
It’s important to know all the details of your coverage and what the carrier can replace your damaged windshield with.
Here are some factors for you to consider in order for you to determine whether your insurance company will cover your windshield replacement.
Reason of Damage
If the windshield was damaged or shattered during a vehicular accident, it should be covered by collision coverage together with all the other damaged parts, like body panels.
The cost of the damaged or shattered windshield would be included in the total repair cost of the vehicle.
There are states which offer Full Glass Coverage for a few dollars a month. If you get a broken windshield the coverage will cover the cost to repair or replace it with no deductible.
Damage due to vandalism may also be covered by the insurance company if this is clearly stated in the policy.
For specific cases, such as vandalism, it’s important for you to verify the windshield replacement coverage when you buy the policy.
There are certain insurance packages that don’t include vandalism in their coverage.
If you have comprehensive coverage for glass replacement you will have to pay the deductible stated in your policy. Which could be $100 to $1,000.
Be sure to verify these details with your insurance agent.
Events triggered by nature, or sometimes called “acts of God,” can also result in damage to the windshield.
Examples of these events include a tree falling on your car or an animal flying and running onto your windshield.
Most policies should cover such damages, but it’s recommended to confirm it when you buy a policy.
Type of Window Damage
There are various types of windshield damage, and not all of them would warrant full replacement of the whole windshield.
The windshield is a very expensive piece of glass, because it’s difficult to manufacture and is made of expensive laminated glass.
Water leaks and small cracks may be repaired by auto glass shops.
Examples of this type of minor damage include hairline cracks due to pebbles flying onto the glass.
Small dings like these can be repaired relatively easily.
For bigger cracks and fully shattered windshields, total replacement would be required, as expected.
Again depending on actual insurance coverage and reason of damage, the insurance company may shoulder the costs of the windshield.
To be sure, clarify these fine details with your car insurance provider before you purchase coverage.
Replacement with OEM or Aftermarket Glass
Most comprehensive car insurance policies include the windshield replacement in its coverage, but they only replace it with aftermarket glass, instead of OEM glass.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, which refers to the exact same type of product that was installed from the factory.
OEM windshields are much more expensive than replacement parts.
Want to find OEM glass on the cheap? Call your local auto salvage company see if they have your make and model of vehicle. You may be able to get a front windshield for $50 or less.
Aftermarket glass is exactly the same product but produced by third-party manufacturers.
These aftermarket glass windshields are tested and certified to withstand the same demands and requirements as the OEM glass windshields.
Some car manufacturers, such as Honda, urge companies to use OEM glass for replacement for safety reasons. I’ve used OEM and aftermarket glass and didn’t notice a difference.
Most comprehensive car insurance policies would pay for aftermarket glass windshields.
If you would like to have them install an OEM glass, you can shoulder the difference in cost between the aftermarket and OEM glass.
Another option is for you to get an OEM glass rider.
Some insurance companies offer an add on option that allows you to demand an OEM glass in the event of damage, with an extra cost up front.
This gives you the peace of mind that they’ll replace your windshield with OEM glass.
Accident and comprehensive car insurance may cover the cost of replacement of your windshield, but they may require you to pay a deductible amount.
This is the set amount that you should shoulder before they step in.
Another term for the deductible fee is the participation fee.
Depending on your policy coverage or the state laws you have to comply with, you may or may not need to shell out the deductible fee before your insurance provider pays for your windshield replacement.
In the case that your windshield will only need to be repaired and not replaced entirely, many insurance companies won’t require you to shell out for the deductible fee.
Check if your car insurance policy covers for repairs.
Moreover, if the specific state you reside in stipulates in their laws that you can’t be charged a participation fee for damage to your windshield glass, then your windshield will be replaced at no additional cost to you.
Below I have outlined top vehicle insurance companies with the deductible waived for auto glass repairs.
|Company||Repair Window Cracks||Deductible Waived?||Phone Contact|
|State Farm||Yes||Unless required by law||888-624-4410|
Auto Glass Insurance Coverage
There are insurance companies that offer auto glass insurance coverage.
Comprehensive car insurance usually covers the damage on your vehicle, but they’ll charge you a deductible amount before they step in to pay.
Note: Illustrated above is the cost of repairs and replacement over 4 years. The total amount is $380. While the amount for full glass coverage over 4 years is $350. In this instance it would have be worth carrying the coverage. If you suspect you may get more windshield cracks and/or chips it could be worth it to carry the extra add-on coverage.
For auto glass insurance coverage, you have the peace of mind that your windshield will be replaced with an OEM glass without any cost on your part.
As a car owner or driver, you’d naturally do everything in your power to keep yourself and your vehicle safe.
However, it’s also prudent that you’re prepared for any scenario when you’re buying a policy.
This includes knowing all the fine details of whether your insurance provider will fully or partially cover for your windshield replacement if ever you’ll need this.