Will Car Insurance Pay to Replace or Repair a Damaged Windshield?
We see lots of misinformation floating around on social media and just through the grape vine about this. Let’s see if we can clear this up a bit! In South Carolina, your insurance policy will cover a windshield only claim provided you have Comprehensive coverage. Sometimes referred to as “Comp” coverage, it is an optional coverage that may not automatically be on your policy. If you have financed your vehicle, you will most likely be required to carry Comp (and Collision) coverage, but otherwise you are only required to carry Liability and Uninsured coverages in South Carolina.
Comprehensive coverage generally applies to damage from “acts of god” such as hitting a deer, windshield only claims, and some other stuff. I specify windshield only claim, because there are times insurance will cover a damaged windshield not under Comp coverage. We will get into that a little further down.
What deductible do I pay for a windshield claim?
For vehicles insured in South Carolina (and with Comprehensive coverage), the insured pays nothing out of pocket to have their windshield repaired or replaced. While Comprehensive coverage typically has a deductible (250, 500, or 1000 are common), South Carolina says the insurance company must waive the deductible for windshield only claims.
Filing a claim for windshield damage may not cost you anything up front, be aware that it can cause your insurance premium to increase. We will touch on this more in a bit.
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Will the insurance company pay to repair my windshield or to replace it with a new windshield?
Comprehensive coverage will pay to repair or replace your windshield. It generally depends on the extent of damage as to which will apply. A rule of thumb that usually works is - if the crack is as long as a dollar bill, it will usually be replaced. Small cracks or chips are usually filled and repaired.
Many people with a damaged windshield first call a local windshield replacement company, which is common and OK to do. A trusted windshield replacement company works with insurance frequently; so they typically can tell you, with a glance of your windshield, if it needs to replaced or can be repaired. To use insurance for payment, they are going to do what the insurance company approves.
By the way, from our experience, these companies do a great job with repairs and replacement. Repairs are done so well, that you may not be able to even see where the damage once was. Use a local and trusted company - they should warranty their work for a while. And as you may have guessed, it costs less to repair a windshield compared to replacing it.
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Should you file a windshield insurance claim? Will a windshield claim affect my insurance premium?
If you have Comp coverage, you can file a claim. An insurance agent should not tell you that you cannot file a claim. You can ask your agent how a windshield claim will affect your insurance and then decide yourself if you want to file a claim or pay for it out of pocket.
First, it is pretty much impossible to tell exactly how much any claim may impact your premium. There are dozens of factors that all go in to your premium when it is new and at renewal. You can generally know that just one small claim, such as a windshield, causes little change in premium. Here is where you may want to be careful, and this varies by pretty much each insurance carrier. Filing multiple claims (and/or having multiple violations) can cause a substantial premium increase, or even prompt your insurance carrier to non-renew your policy. Plus, if you change your insurance provider they will use previous claims for 3 - 6 years in calculating your premium and eligibility.
Filing a windshield claim is up to you as the insured, we just want you to have this knowledge.
>Our clients can notify us of a claim via our website - thinkdavisinsurance.com/claims<
What if my windshield is damaged in an accident? Will insurance pay for my windshield if I do not have Comprehensive coverage?
Above I have been referring to windshield only claims, like when a rock cracks your windshield. But as I mentioned above, there are times your windshield can be covered without having Comprehensive coverage.
What about another example like hitting a deer and you file a claim for damage caused to the front end including the windshield. If you have Comp coverage your windshield should still be covered, but the claim will be subject to your deductible. Or you hit a structure like a telephone pole, damage to the vehicle and windshield should be covered subject to your Collision deductible.
If you are hit by another vehicle, that party's insurance should cover repairs to your vehicle, including the windshield. You should not have to pay a deductible when another party's Liability coverage applies.
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This blog is general information and applies to most scenarios in South Carolina. As always, speak to your local and experienced insurance agent about your car insurance policy. Or better yet, read your entire policy.
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