Think of all the parts of your car that could get dinged, scratched or dented during the time you own the vehicle. The windshield is probably near the top of that list; stones kicked up from the road, hail and other projectiles can easily chip the glass.
If the damage is seemingly minor, however, you might wonder if it’s even worth repairing or replacing your windshield. It’s likely covered under your auto insurance policy, but does the cost of repairing a chip or crack warrant making a claim?
If you have an all-perils or comprehensive auto insurance policy, damage to your car’s windshield and windows is covered by default. Which is great: You can make a claim if your glass is damaged by that kicked-up pebble, an attempted theft or various other causes. (Damage resulting from a collision is covered separately under your vehicle’s collision policy.)
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But depending on your deductible, making an insurance claim may not always be the economical choice. “You have to know the cost of your windshield and then work out the math,” says Karen McDougall of AMA Insurance. “If you have a $250 deductible and your repair is only going to cost $200, there’s no point in claiming it on your policy.” Additionally, a windshield claim is no different than any other comprehensive claim: If they start to pile up, you may see your rates increase.
Alternatively, if you prefer the peace-of-mind of insurance, but would rather not worry about your overall auto insurance rates increasing due to a windshield repair claim, consider removing glass insurance from your main policy and then purchasing specialized AMI auto glass insurance through AMA.
Premiums on an AMI policy run as little as $16 per month, but the primary benefit is that the deductible is generally much lower than a regular auto policy: $25 for repairs (up to three at a time) and $50 for full replacement. It’s an option that makes sense if your windshield is often exposed to potentially damaging situations: if you often take lengthy road trips; if you sometimes drive on gravel roads; or if you typically park outdoors.
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Naturally, the relatively low cost of glass repairs, combined with the perceived low risk—and mostly cosmetic nature—of glass damage, means that some drivers choose to forgo auto glass insurance altogether.
Even if you’ve yet to be inconvenienced by a chipped windshield or broken window on your vehicle, it’s a good idea to review your auto glass coverage with an AMA insurance advisor to ensure your policy is the best fit for your budget and driving habits. And if your vehicle’s glass does get damaged, get an estimate for the repair cost and speak to your insurer before deciding whether it’s financially sensible to make a claim.
“At the end of the day,” McDougall says, “it simply comes down to doing the math.”
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If you’re looking to keep from cracking up over a cracked windshield, call an AMA Insurance advisor at 1-800-615-5897 for product information and help finding the right policy to fit your needs.