Whether you live in a rural area with lots of gravel roads or a city filled with construction zones, you’re bound to experience a chipped or cracked windshield at some point in your driving career. So what should you do about that chip or crack? And will your car insurance cover it? We’ve got the answers to your questions.
Driving around with even a small chip in your windshield could be dangerous, as any kind of pressure (from your windshield wipers, a sudden change in temperature, a carwash, or hitting a pothole, for example) could turn the chip into a larger crack that could obstruct your view — and it could even cause your whole windshield to shatter while you’re on the road, leading to a dangerous driving situation and a much more costly repair. The sooner you can get a chip or crack fixed the better.
Windshields are made by sandwiching a thin layer of plastic or resin between two layers of glass, then applying heat and pressure to fuse all three layers together. The inner layer is designed to hold your windshield together and prevent it from shattering into your vehicle when something hits it. To repair a chip or crack in your windshield, a special resin is injected into the damaged area. Small holes may be drilled at either end of a crack to prevent it from spreading.
Windshields in newer vehicles often have built-in sensors and cameras that support advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warnings. Not only does this technology make windshields more expensive to repair or replace because of the physical materials involved, but it also takes more time to recalibrate a car’s computer system after a replacement, leading to higher labour costs.
While you could purchase a DIY repair kit and try fixing a minor chip or crack yourself (as long as it’s not blocking your line of sight), taking your vehicle to a qualified professional for any type of repair is the safest choice.
A comprehensive car insurance policy covers physical damage caused by things like falling objects, vandalism, fire, lighting, and windstorms. If you have comprehensive coverage and your windshield is damaged by something other than a collision, professional repairs or replacement will generally be covered (minus your deductible).
While repairs to your windshield most likely won’t have an impact on your insurance, total replacement may affect your premium or deductible. The good news is if your windshield can be repaired by a professional, some insurance companies may waive your deductible and pay for the entire repair.