Was your car’s windshield recently damaged? Then you might be wondering if the cost of repairing or replacing it is covered under your auto insurance policy. Below, we delve into this topic, examining whether car insurance covers windshield replacements and in what circumstances.
Does auto insurance cover windshield replacements?
Windshield insurance coverage is not mandated in Canada. Therefore, if you have a basic auto insurance policy with nothing more than the bare minimum coverage, your policy will not cover the cost of a windshield replacement. However, if you purchased a policy with comprehensive coverage or a special endorsement relating to glass coverages, there is a good chance that damage to your windshield will be covered.
We explore the two auto insurance coverages that may cover the cost of your windshield replacement below.
Comprehensive coverage, sometimes referred to as parked car coverage, protects your vehicle from a wide range of unforeseen incidents, apart from collisions. Under the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy, you will be protected in the event that your car is damaged, when that damage is caused by an insured peril.
Each policyholder gets to decide which perils to include in their auto insurance policies, with windshield repair insurance being a popular add-on. Perils can range from fires, hail, windstorms, lightning, theft, vandalism, falling objects, explosions, rising water, and riots, among other types.
Therefore, if you purchased comprehensive coverage (which is optional) as part of your car insurance policy and you included a windshield repair add-on, then your insurance provider will pay to repair or replace your windshield. Keep in mind that, as with all types of coverage, your insurance company will only reimburse you for the cost of repairs or replacements up to the policy limit.
If the cost of your windshield replacement exceeds the coverage limit, you will pay the remaining balance out-of-pocket. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that your windshield repair replacement might still be covered by comprehensive car insurance, even if you didn’t purchase a windshield repair add-on, depending on the circumstances of the damage.
If your windshield was cracked, chipped, or damaged by another vehicle or a falling object, it might still be covered by your insurance company.
13D endorsement - limited glass (Alberta)
Oneway Alberta drivers can ensure your windshield is protected is by adding a 13D endorsement, otherwise known as a limited glass endorsement, to your auto insurance policy. A 13D endorsement specifically protects your front windshield in the event of a collision resulting in damage. However, this endorsement will not safeguard your windshield from damage caused by road hazards (such as loose gravel) or vandalism.
Please note that 13D endorsements cannot be added to auto insurance policies for travel trailers or recreational vehicles (RVs), however, they can be added to most passenger vehicle insurance policies. Further, with a 13D endorsement, only the front windshield is covered. Damage to any glass on the back or sides of your vehicle is not included.
Will a windshield replacement affect my insurance premium?
Windshield repairs and replacements are one of the most common types of vehicle repairs. The impact to your premium depends on whether you make a claim and how many claims you have. In many cases, it may be less expensive to fix your windshield than it is to pay a deductible if you have one, so check your policy and have a conversation with your insurance advisor to determine the best course of action.
Common windshield problems
No one wants a damaged windshield, and no matter the cause, repairing or replacing your windshield can be pricey. The first step in preventing windshield damage from occurring is by knowing the most common causes of damage. Below is a list of common reasons why windshields crack in Canada.
- Flying rocks, gravel, or other debris hitting your windshield while driving.
- Falling tree branches hitting a parked car (most often caused by a windstorm, thunderstorm, hurricane, or other weather-related event).
- Hail, especially when it is large.
- High winds causing objects to fly around.
- A sports ball, such as a baseball or golf ball, accidentally hitting your windshield.
To prepare you for all kinds of windshield-related damage, we’ve also compiled a list of some uncommon causes of windshield cracks:
- Improper or poor installation: Installing a windshield is highly technical, which means it shouldn’t be attempted by an amateur. If you recently tried to install your own windshield but failed to install it correctly (whether knowingly or unknowingly), it will be more prone to damage. More specifically, a loose windshield can cause vibrations that lead to stress fractures.
- Sunlight: Excessive sunlight exposure can have a serious impact on your windshield. Sunlight heats the metal near the edges of your windshield faster than it heats the centre of your windshield, which can cause cracks. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure by parking your vehicle in a covered garage or a shady spot on the street or driveway.
- Temperature changes: Fluctuations in temperature are another culprit behind damaged windshields. Extreme weather changes can cause the glass to expand and contract. Since glass heats faster around the edges of your windshield compared to the middle, these expansions and contractions occur at different rates, which can cause cracks.
- Pressure changes: Similar to how temperature changes can damage windshields, pressure changes can also. Pressure changes are typically caused by severe weather, such as high wind gusts, though they can also be caused by placing something heavy on the windshield. A significant and sudden increase in pressure could cause a crack.
- Glass quality: Finally, imperfections in windshield glass, especially lower-quality glass, can make windshields more prone to cracking. Not all glass is created equal. Do some research into the glass used for your car’s windshield to discover its quality. Be sure to find out whether the specific glass has ever been recalled, as this could indicate quality issues.
Fines for damaged windshields in Canada
Driving with a damaged windshield isn’t only dangerous or a nuisance, it is also illegal. Depending on the rules and regulations in your province, you can be pulled over and fined if you are caught driving with a damaged windshield.
For instance, if your windshield crack extends through both layers of glass, if there are extensive pits, scratches, or cracks on your windshield that obstruct your view, and if the cracks are located within the path of your windshield wipers and are more than 12 millimetres long, you could be stopped by law enforcement and issued a fine. If you are dealing with windshield damage that falls into any of these categories, be sure to take care of it immediately.
Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, which you might have to pay in addition to the cost of repairing or replacing your windshield.
Windshield repair vs. windshield replacement
Perhaps your windshield was recently damaged and you aren’t sure whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. The main factor used to determine whether your car needs a windshield replaced or repaired is the extent of the damage.
If the damage is minor, such as a tiny chip or crack, it can likely be repaired at your dealership, a local auto body shop or an auto glass specialist for a small fee. A technician will use a special tool that injects resin and applies pressure to your windshield until the resin dries, repairing the crack.
Nowadays, technicians can repair everything from star-shaped dents to bulls-eye cracks using this method. Since resin is quick-drying, most minor windshield repairs can be conducted quickly. You may even be able to wait at the shop until the job is complete. Please note that minor windshield damage can easily turn into major windshield damage if not repaired quickly.
As most drivers know, a small crack of a couple of centimetres can turn into a large crack affecting your entire windshield and obstructing your view. Repairing a major crack will certainly be more expensive, which is why repairing a minor crack, no matter how small, is of the utmost importance.
In contrast, if your windshield suffered severe damage, it might need to be replaced. Severe damage is typically categorized as a chip or crack of 15 centimetres or more in length. Since windshields are crucial to ensuring your safety on the road, major damage should be fixed as soon as possible.
If you were to continue driving with a severely damaged windshield and you got into an accident, the deployed airbag could cause the damaged windshield to shatter, making a bad situation even worse.
Ultimately, if you aren’t sure whether a windshield repair or replacement is required, contact your car dealership or auto body shop. Most vehicle repair services offer free quotes and can provide you with their professional opinion as to the best course of action for your damaged windshield.
Tips for protecting your windshield
Avoid damage and keep your windshield in tip-top shape by following the tips below.
- Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles, especially cargo trucks and semis. Larger vehicles tend to dredge up rocks or stones that could crack your windshield.
- Avoid weather-related damage by parking your vehicle in the garage. If your home has a covered garage, park it in the garage as much as possible. Windstorms, hail, and even excessive sunlight can damage your windshield.
- Maintain your windshield wipers. Experts recommend that windshield wipers be changed annually. Worn-down wipers can damage your vehicle by causing fine scratches that can’t be undone. Further, always make sure your windshield wiper fluid is full.
Get in touch with BrokerLink to learn more about windshield replacement coverage
If your windshield is cracked, chipped, or pitted and you aren’t sure whether your insurance covers the cost of replacing it, contact BrokerLink. We are auto insurance experts and can review your policy to help you determine whether your insurance will cover your windshield replacement. And if it doesn’t, we can help you find a new auto insurance policy that protects you in the event of windshield damage.
Repairing or replacing a damaged windshield can be costly. Protect yourself by investing in comprehensive car insurance coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects your car from a wide variety of perils. To learn more about windshield replacement coverage, get in touch with BrokerLink.
Our knowledgeable and friendly insurance advisors can be reached by phone, email, or in person at any of our locations in Canada. We also offer free quotes to all drivers. So if you want to receive an accurate estimate on the cost of an auto insurance policy that includes comprehensive coverage, contact us. You can also use your online quote tool to request a complimentary car insurance quote in minutes.
What are you waiting for? Get in touch with BrokerLink today to begin your auto insurance journey.
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