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How to Handle a Windshield Repair

Ever been carefully driving along when—whack!—a rock hits your windshield? Your eyes scan for damage as you wonder whether you need a windshield repair or a complete windshield replacement.

The good news is that a chip or crack doesn’t necessarily mean you need a replacement. Certified repair specialists, such as those at Safelite AutoGlass®, can usually repair windshield chips, nicks and cracks up to six inches long. No matter what your situation is, it’s best to go to a windshield repair specialist right away. Here are two reasons why.

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Why repair windshield chips?

  • The longer you leave a windshield chip, the more likely it will get worse. Weather changes or simply driving over a pothole, speed bump or uneven terrain puts additional pressure on the edges of a chip, which can lead quickly to a crack. Repairing a chip is also less expensive than windshield replacement. In some cases, repairs can be completed in just 30 minutes.

  • A damaged windshield may compromise you and your passengers’ safety. A chip reduces the strength of a windshield, and damaged glass is much more likely to crack, according to repair experts Safelite AutoGlass®. If you’re in a rollover accident, you rely on your windshield to help stop your vehicle’s roof from collapsing. Your vehicle glass also helps airbags deploy safely and effectively.

Do-it-yourself windshield repair kits are available, but they may be more trouble than they’re worth if you aren’t a trained professional. It can be challenging to fill in all the miniscule cracks completely with resin. What’s more, if something goes wrong with a self-repair, you may not be able to start over or fix it properly. Ask your agent or take a look at your policy for detailed information on exclusions that can apply to faulty workmanship.

At Erie Insurance, we partner with Safelite® Solutions to connect customers to more than 8,000 trusted auto repair and glass replacement shops through our our ERIEGlassSM program. (You always have the option to choose your own repair specialist, too.)

Be wary of windshield scams

You should be skeptical of strangers who offer to help with a windshield repair when you didn’t ask for one. Windshield repair harvesters position themselves at gas stations, convenience stores, car washes and even county fairs, and try to convince drivers to replace perfectly good windshields. They even offer cash rebates or other inducements like free movie tickets or car washes. Do not give your car insurance information to anyone until you’re ready to file a claim with your insurer. Learn how to spot windshield scammers in this blog post.

Three questions to ask a vehicle glass shop

Want to schedule a repair? Here are three questions to ask the windshield repair shop before you proceed with the work:

  1. Are your auto glass installation technicians certified? Certification helps ensure the tech is trained thoroughly on the proper procedures for repairing, removing and installing auto glass.

  2. How soon after my glass is replaced or repaired will I be able to use my vehicle? Usually, a windshield repair takes about 30 minutes or less and the vehicle is safe to drive immediately. With a windshield replacement, it’s important to have your technician accurately advise you of the safe drive away time, which can vary greatly depending on weather conditions and the type of installation materials used.

  3. What kind of warranty will be provided on the auto glass materials and the repair work? A warranty could vary depending on the type of repair, but one should be available to you. For example, Safelite® repairs and replacements are covered by a nationwide lifetime warranty for as long as you own or lease your vehicle.

Does my auto insurance cover windshield chips or cracks?

Erie Insurance has your back when it comes to windshield questions. Talk to your local agent about what your specific policy can cover. Generally speaking, here’s how your auto insurance can kick in:

  • Windshield repair: In most states where ERIE does business*, comprehensive coverage from ERIE will cover the cost to repair a cracked or chipped windshield without charging the deductible. (Nice!)

  • Windshield replacement: In most states where ERIE does business*, standard comprehensive coverage includes Glass Repair Coverage, which can cover the cost of a replacement windshield – but you’ll have to pay your deductible. Here’s a little something extra to brighten a bad day: If you need a windshield replacement, we’ll throw in a pair of new wiper blades at no additional cost.

For an affordable cost, you can add the Zero Dollar Glass Deductible option to your ERIE auto policy. With it, you pay no deductible for a windshield replacement. Because coverage varies by state*, it's best to review your coverage details with a licensed insurance agent.

ERIE customers always have a choice when it comes to deciding who they want to repair the damage, and your ERIE agent is available to provide recommendations or answer questions along the way. You can pick a glass repair shop or work with ERIE’s partner, Safelite® Solutions. Learn more about auto insurance from ERIE or read how to start and file an auto glass claim online. 

This story was originally published on February 5, 2014. It was updated with new information in 2019.

*In New York, you must purchase Full Window Glass coverage in order to have the repair feature without a deductible. Full Window Glass coverage is not available in North Carolina. In Kentucky, glass is considered safety equipment; under comprehensive coverage, no deductible applies for repair or replacement if only safety equipment is damaged (even if the loss is caused by collision).

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.