Don’t crack up over windshield damage

DATE | 03/22/21
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Windshields are critical to your safety.

A windshield is a crucial part of the safety system of your car. It provides strength and structural support to the vehicle, allows air bags to be deployed properly, and helps prevent you and your passengers from being ejected during an accident. In a front-end collision, the windshield provides up to 45% of the structural integrity of the cabin of the vehicle and in a rollover, up to 60% (Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC)).

A windshield also protects you against extreme weather conditions. Changes in weather can expand or contract the windshield, which can cause cracks or chips to expand. Dirt and debris can also become embedded in cracks, making a repair less effective or impossible. So even if the damage to your windshield is minor, it’s important to get it repaired as soon as possible.

Newer windshields are specialized equipment

Many windshields today have safety and navigation sensors added, so repairs can be costly. For example, front collision sensors may be mounted on the car’s rearview mirror stand just inside the windshield. For these sensors to work properly, the windshield glass has to meet very specific requirements for clarity and lack of distortion. So even if your windshield has minor damage, it may mean you’ll need to replace it with an original equipment manufacturer windshield, not the less expensive aftermarket glass. Adding to that cost is the specialized technician who must recalibrate the front collision sensors for the new glass.

Repairs (if appropriate) are generally much less expensive than replacement, which is a good reason to take care of them as soon as possible before minor damage gets any worse.

Be prepared before you repair or replace

Before you choose a repair shop, suggests you ask them the following questions:

  • Are you an AGSC-Registered Member Company?
  • Do all the materials you use meet or exceed ANSI Z 26.1 and all pertinent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards?
  • Does your adhesive manufacturer certify you, and who is the manufacturer of the adhesive?
  • What type of warranty can I expect?
  • How soon after my glass is replaced will I be able to use my vehicle?

AGSC provides a certification program for installers as well, so ask if a company’s technicians are certified and by whom. If someone tells you they are certified by an insurance company, that is most likely not true. Member Benefits does not certify windshield technicians.

In most cases with your Member Benefits policy, if you file a claim for damage to your windshield and the glass company determines it is repairable, your deductible is waived. If the windshield needs to be replaced, it is subject to the comprehensive deductible.

Questions about your insurance coverage?