WHAT HAPPENS IF MY WINDSHIELD BREAKS IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
There's a bad car accident. Everyone is ok, but your windshield is shattered. If the accident is your fault, your Collision Coverage kicks in and will repair your broken glass. You will have a deductible of course. But your windshield gets replaced. All of that is assuming you have Collision Coverage. It's optional, and not everyone has it. However, if you have a car loan, you most likely have it. Make sure that you check your policy to find out if you do. If the accident is the other person's fault, their insurance will fix your windshield with no out-of-pocket for you.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY AUTO GLASS IS DAMAGED IN SOME OTHER WAY?
You're driving down the road, and suddenly you hear a loud "bang!" A fast moving rock has cracked your windshield. That's when your Comprehensive Coverage kicks in. It's also known as "Other Than Collision" coverage. Typical glass-related claims that would be covered under Comprehensive Coverage are: a rock hits your windshield or a vandal smashes your car window in the middle of the night.
Comprehensive Coverage is similar to Collision Coverage in that you are not required by law to have it. It's optional. But just like Collision Coverage, if you have a car loan, your lender usually requires it. Also, just like Collision Coverage, your Comprehensive Coverage usually has a deductible.
IS MY WINDSHIELD THE ONLY GLASS THAT IS COVERED?
If you have Collision and Comprehensive Coverages, all of your safety glass is covered, including the rear glass and the side windows.
WHAT IS FULL GLASS COVERAGE, AND HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT?
“Full glass coverage” means that no deductible is applied to your glass-only claim. Insurance companies typically call this "Safety Glass Waiver." But there are some conditions. Your deductible is waived if the only damage to your vehicle is the glass. If there is damage to the rest of the car, the glass damage is lumped in with the entire claim, and your deductible would still apply. This coverage is optional, and there is a small extra premium for it.
SHOULD I HAVE FULL GLASS COVERAGE?
In my opinion- yes. Even if your vehicle is older and no longer has a loan on it, it is usually not too expensive to add Comprehensive Coverage and Safety Glass Waiver. One reason for having this coverage is that in California it is illegal to drive with a cracked windshield. We all know how easy it is to pick up a stray rock on our rural roads, and rocks break windshields. So:
Windshields are expensive.
You won't be able to legally drive with a cracked windshield.
Talk to your local insurance agent and make sure you have the coverage that is right for you.
Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates helping clients with insurance needs for personal, commercial and business insurance. Bruce can be reached at 707-931-0186, firstname.lastname@example.org