Filing an auto glass claim with insurance can hurt almost as much as being in an automobile accident if you aren’t familiar with your auto insurance. If you have chipped, cracked, or broken glass, whether it’s your windshield or another window in your car, and the damage was caused by an event other than an accident, you’ll learn more about your coverage by picking up the phone and discussing the policy with your agent. The exception would be if you understand insurance language and comprehend your policy without assistance.
1. Before filing a claim, understand your policy and what it covers. Here are a few questions to ask your agent:
- Does your policy specify auto glass repair?
- If so, is the auto glass repair “all inclusive?” All inclusive means all windows in your car – windshield, side windows, and rear window.
- How much will your insurance company pay for auto glass replacement?
- How much “out of pocket” are you liable for?
Discussing these questions with your agent (not the claims department of the insurance company) can help you determine whether to file a claim. You may have comprehensive insurance, which means there is no deductible, but auto glass repair or replacement may only be covered in cases of fire, storms, vandalism, and/or collision, depending on your insurer. The neighbor kid’s baseball and rocks bouncing off a dump truck in a construction zone may not qualify under any of those categories.
Why would you not want to file a claim with your insurance for auto glass? Let’s say you have a $250 deductible with your current policy but the auto glass repair or replacement is $300. The insurance company may reimburse you $50 or less if you file a claim. Further, that claim is recorded against your insurance. Depending on your insurance company, one claim too many can lead to the perception that you are a high risk which leads to increased premiums. Sometimes you save money in the long term by paying out of pocket.
2. To file a claim, you can probably file online or over the phone. There is a lot to be said for actually speaking to an individual since any information you provide or questions that are asked can be clarified immediately. This can’t be done if filing a claim online. To call, the claim department’s number is usually printed on the rear of your insurance card. Your agent’s secretary or assistant can also provide you with the phone number.
3. Finally, get your auto glass repaired or replaced as soon as possible. As long as you are driving your car with a chip or crack, you are running the risk of making it worse and costing more as well as endangering yourself and others who ride with you. While the chip or crack is small, there’s a possibility the auto glass can be repaired rather than replaced and save you a lot of money. If you wait around, jostling the glass, exposing it to heat and cold, sleet or rain in freezing temperatures, a complete replacement may be necessary.