Experiencing a cracked or damaged windshield or auto glass can be annoying and frustrating. While auto glass damage is relatively common, what’s less clear is how filing an auto glass insurance claim affects your rates. Does making a glass repair claim cause your auto insurance prices to increase?
Below, we’ll examine how filing glass claims impacts your insurance rates, when it makes sense to file a claim, how to file a claim properly, and more.
How Auto Glass Claims Affect Your Insurance Rates
In general, any type of claim you file with your auto insurance provider can potentially cause your rates to rise. Insurance companies view claims – even minor ones – as indicators of higher risk. The more claims you file, the likelier your rates climb.
However, not all claims impact your rates equally. Here are some key factors that determine how much filing an auto glass claim will affect your premiums:
Fault – If the windshield damage is your fault (like you hit a rock on the road), expect a higher rate increase than if you’re not at fault (a rock hit your windshield).
Claim frequency – Filing a single claim likely won’t affect your rates much, if at all. But if you file multiple claims within a short period, count on higher premiums.
Severity – Replacing an entire windshield costs more than a minor chip repair. More severe, expensive claims can mean bigger rate hikes.
Policy type – Policies with accident forgiveness clauses may not raise your rates after a claim. Check your policy details.
Insurer – Some companies are more aggressive about increasing premiums after claims than others. Shop around.
State laws – Some states restrict rate hikes after claims or require insurers to clearly disclose how claims will affect your premiums.
The exact rate increase you’ll face after an auto glass claim varies widely based on these factors. But in general, windshield repairs and replacements only moderately impact your rates, especially if it’s your first claim. Still, it’s smart to understand the potential effects beforehand.
When to File an Auto Glass Insurance Claim
Since claims may raise your rates, you don’t want to file them unnecessarily. Consider these tips on when to file a glass claim:
For Minor Chips and Cracks
Many insurers waive deductibles for minor windshield repairs. So for small chips or cracks, filing a claim often makes sense. Just confirm the repairs meet your deductible amount, otherwise your claim will get denied.
Also, ask if your insurer offers “zero glass deductible” coverage. This add-on coverage eliminates windshield repair deductibles altogether.
When You’re Not At-Fault
If another driver caused your auto glass damage, file a claim through their insurance, not yours. This prevents a rate increase or accident on your policy record. Of course, you’ll need to exchange insurance information at the scene.
With Accident Forgiveness Coverage
Accident forgiveness prevents rate hikes after claims by “forgiving” your first at-fault accident (or in some cases, multiple accidents). If your policy includes this coverage, claims won’t increase your premiums. Verify the details with your insurer.
When the Damage Exceeds Your Deductible
If your windshield requires full replacement and the cost exceeds your deductible, filing a claim is financially wise. Just note that rates could still increase for future policy terms.
To Prevent Further Damage
Don’t delay repairs when cracks, chips, or leaks could worsen and cause safety issues. File a claim as soon as possible to fix the damage before it spreads.
How to File an Auto Glass Insurance Claim
Follow these steps when you’re ready to file a windshield or auto glass claim:
Document the damage – Take clear photos showing the damage. Get a police report if another driver was involved.
Contact your insurance company – Report the claim via phone, online, or your insurer’s mobile app. Provide relevant details and documentation.
Get repair quotes – Obtain itemized price quotes from at least 2-3 reputable auto glass repair shops.
Select a repair shop – Choose a shop based on price, service quality, convenience, and insurance network status.
Schedule the repairs – Set an appointment date and time for the windshield repairs or replacement. You can schedule before or after claim approval.
Pay your deductible – Once approved, your insurer will pay the repair cost beyond your deductible amount directly to the shop. You pay the deductible.
Get a receipt – Obtain an itemized receipt detailing the services performed and costs. Verify your insurer paid correctly.
Professional Auto Glass Repair
While DIY windshield chip repairs are possible, extensive cracks, breaks, and replacements require professional service. Certified auto glass technicians have the skills, tools, materials, and facilities to properly repair and replace your windshield. This restores full safety and functionality.
Working with a reputable auto glass company that accepts insurance also streamlines the claims process. They can liaise directly with your insurer.
No matter who performs the work, be sure to quality check the finished repair. Confirm the windshield was correctly sealed with no gaps or leaks. Test all safety features like wipers, defrost, and ADAS cameras. Also inspect the interior trim for proper fit and finish.
Filing auto glass claims can potentially increase your insurance rates, but usually only moderately, especially for minor repairs. Consider the claim’s fault status, severity, your policy type, and insurer attitude. And compare the potential rate effects against the windshield repair cost to make a financially wise claim decision.
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