A cracked windshield may not seem like a big deal and they are an unavoidable part of driving a car on our local streets. In fact, many people regard a cracked windshield as similar to a door ding: unsightly but harmless. A crack can happen for all kinds of reasons. That small pebble that just happens to fly up at just the right angle, a branch that falls in a wind storm, or any number of seemingly random reasons. Since getting your windshield repaired or replaced could cost you hundreds of dollars, many drivers choose to put it off but procrastinating is a bad idea.
A Cracked Windshield can be Extremely Dangerous
While having a cracked windshield when driving around may seem like it is just a minor annoyance, in reality, it could lead to something extremely serious. Here are a few reasons why a cracked windshield is dangerous:
- It interferes with your ability to see other vehicles as well as obstacles in the road. A crack causes glare when sunlight or headlights strike it at certain angles. A large enough crack will even act as a blind spot. This interferes with your vision and may cause you to hit a pedestrian or car. The eye also tends to shift focus between the road outside and the crack. This acts as a distraction.
- It weakens the structural integrity of your car. An undamaged windshield is structurally strong. It aids in keeping the car intact in a collision and especially in a rollover accident. A cracked windshield weakens the structural integrity of the car’s roof, making it more prone to collapse in a rollover.
- It interferes with airbag function. In many cars the passenger side airbag relies on an intact windshield to properly deploy. In a collision, the expanding airbag may shatter a cracked windshield and partially deploy through the opening, thus failing to fully protect the passenger.
If your windshield is chipped or has a small crack, don’t make the mistake of ignoring it. Small cracks can quickly and easily become large. Windshield cracks tend to spread due to moisture and temperature changes, so what starts off as a small chip may turn into a significant crack if left alone. As a result, the chip or crack may grow slowly or you may get in your car one morning to find a huge crack across the whole windshield.
Insurance may Cover Windshield Repair, Depending on Your Policy
Replacing a windshield could set you back up to $300 or more for the average auto glass replacement, but your car insurance may cover it. Many people don’t realize that if they simply have their windshield repaired they could spare themselves the cost of replacing the entire windshield. Your first move should be to contact your car insurance agent to find out what kind of coverage you have for your windshield. Your car insurance company can generally refer you to a facility which they may even guarantee.
If you carry comprehensive coverage and your windshield needs to be replaced, you will only have to pay your comprehensive deductible. If the windshield can be repaired, your insurance company will probably waive your deductible and pay 100% of the cost of repair. Some car insurance policies have an option for $0 deductible glass repairs that you can purchase (before the chip/crack occurs). Just remember, even if your insurance does not cover the windshield repair, you should get a cracked windshield fixed right away – and check in to the cost of having coverage for next time it happens!
Repair or Replace?
So how do you know if your windshield can be repaired? First, evaluate the kind of crack or chip in your auto glass. If you have a chip, is it one inch or less in diameter? If it’s cracked, is the size of the crack smaller than a dollar bill? If so, chances are you are in good shape to have it repaired. These simple repairs can be done fairly quickly, around an hour or less at a professional shop or even in your driveway by that same shop.
There are many types of auto glass damage that unfortunately simply can’t be repaired. Damage that goes too deep into the layers of glass, damage over important sensors or viewing areas, large and complex cracks, or damage that is on the inside of the auto glass would qualify only for a full replacement.
A fairly common practice is for people with windshield cracks to fill the crack with Super Glue as a temporary fix but this can impair a glass shop’s ability to repair the crack. Instead, it is probably better to just cover the crack with clear tape to block moisture and dirt – and then get it repaired as quickly as possible.
Call Today for a Car Insurance Quote
If you are in the market for car insurance or just would like to explore your options, call Mid-Columbia Insurance today and talk with one of our team members and find out what we can do for you.
We serve all of Washington State, with offices in Kennewick, Pasco, and Yakima as well as the surrounding Tri-Cities, Richland, Union Gap, West Richland, Benton City, and Sunnyside.