Windshield issues are among the most frequent car repairs for vehicle owners. Besides common causes of chips and cracks, road debris, vandalism, falling branches, hail, and even sand can damage your windshield. Are you covered? Should you make a claim?  Here’s a few tips to help you pick up the pieces of your busted glass.

If your windshield (or other glass surfaces) is damaged by something other than an accident, your comprehensive coverage on your vehicle will likely cover the cost of windshield repair or replacement. In general, comprehensive coverage policies will cover damages from storms, fire, vandalism and animal collisions. Be aware: not all comprehensive policies cover windshields, so it is important to get that detail from your insurance company. If it’s not included, your company may offer an option to include the additional coverage.

Always compare the cost of windshield replacement to the cost of your deductible before filing a claim. Often, the cost of fixing the issue is much less than the policy deductible. Here again, know your policy. Some companies will exclude the deductible requirement for windshield replacement too.  If the cost of repair outweighs your deductible, get in touch with your insurance company by phone, in person or online. Your company should advise you of the limitations of your coverage and assist you in making a claim.

Your company may also require you to use a specific repair facility with whom they have a contract. Alternatively, some companies will ask you to get the repair done yourself, and then submit receipts for reimbursement after the repair is completed. Unsolicited offers to repair your windshield, someone insisting you need a full replacement instead of a fix, and repair shops that charge your company for multiple repairs instead of one often lead to fraud. Not only can this hurt your wallet, but it can also put you and your loved ones behind a subpar windshield. False and unnecessary claims can raise your rates and you may even find yourself with a canceled policy!

Protect yourself. Research repair options, and contact your insurance company before any repairs are made. Review your bill carefully, and follow up with your insurance company to make sure additional claims against your policy were not made.

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