Do windshield insurance claims affect my rates?
Taking a stone to the windshield of your vehicle is one of those things that can ruin an otherwise good day in very short order. You’re driving along, minding your own business… even if you’re following all the rules of the road to the letter, there’s simply no way to avoid a stone tossed up by the vehicle in front of you.
The sound is unmistakable, and as it fades, you might find yourself staring at a chip in the windshield, or worse yet, a crack spread across your field of vision. If it happens to you, you might think, will my insurance cover this, and if I make a claim, will it increase my rates?
The good news here is that generally speaking, most insurance policies will cover chips and cracks in your windshield. If you have comprehensive coverage, there should be no issue at all. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that isn’t caused by a collision, and includes coverage for falling or flying objects – especially stones. Even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, covering the damage is your insurer’s prerogative, though most insurers in Canada honour this kind of claim on good faith, as long as it doesn’t happen often.
Windshield replacements may only cost between $160-$300 for older cars, but replacing one on a newer car could set you back as much as $2,500 due to all of the technical calibrations for sensors and safety cameras. Replacement parts and the labour needed to install them can get expensive.
What should I do if my windshield is chipped?
If you do sustain a chip in the windshield because of a stone, the best thing you can do is get that repaired as soon as possible. Not only does repairing a chip cost a fraction of replacing the whole windshield, today’s repair technology is extremely effective, and can often repair chips that are large or strangely shaped. In fact, many small cracks can be repaired too, but unrepaired cracks tend to grow and get much worse over a relatively short amount of time.
Because the cost to repair chips is so much cheaper than the cost to replace a windshield, many insurance companies will waive the deductible if you have this process done, eliminating your expense. Ask your insurer about it if you’re unsure!
How does windshield replacement work?
If the damage is significant enough to require replacement rather than repair, there’s little need to worry. Once replaced by a qualified technician, you’ll never be able to tell it’s been replaced.
You can expect those professionals to follow these steps to repair your windshield:
- Determining the extent of the damage, the risk of cracks spreading, and potential for obstruction of the driver’s view.
- Removing the old windshield and glass safely.
- Finding a new windshield meant for your vehicle’s specific make and model.
- Applying an industrial adhesive for the new frame.
- Installing the new windshield without any leaks, wind noise, or gaps.
- Cleaning the new windshield and area.
- Once everything is dry, you’re ready to drive away!
How much does it cost to replace a windshield?
Does your car have those helpful features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot warning, or surround-view camera? Known as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), if your vehicle has these features then chances are high that you’ll be paying extra for your windshield replacement.
“Many ADAS features are dependent on an image-processing module (commonly referred to as a camera) mounted in the windshield. The camera must be calibrated when a windshield is replaced; if it’s not, the safety systems will not work properly. Repairs at aftermarket shops and dealerships start at $700 and can quickly climb into four figures, depending on the vehicle.”
Source: Aha Insurance - – Doug Firby, The Globe and Mail, March 2019