Whenever you have an accident or disaster strikes, there are plenty of scenarios that can unfold. Especially true when driving, you may be subjected to a small fender-bender, a total loss of your vehicle or extensive damage that will require filing an insurance claim. Most drivers carry what we often refer to as full coverage, which ensures that any damages to the car that occur in an accident are covered. Your windshield and auto glass are both common elements that can be harmed in a variety of circumstances; window glass can break when in a collision and windshields may suffer the same fate in more serious accidents.
All too many of us know what it’s like to deal with the aftermath of a wreck, but how do you handle the claims process when your auto glass is the only element of the vehicle that needs repaired or replaced? There are a few steps you have to take in order to procure these repairs, but if you’ve never filed a claim before or had work done on your glass, then you might be confused. Below, we’ll walk you through the process of auto glass insurance claims and explain how they work when you need a simple repair or when a more comprehensive replacement of glass is required.
In the wake of an accident, the first thing you need to do after securing your vehicle and exchanging information with the other driver(s) is to file a claim. In some cases, natural disaster may be the cause: obviously you’ll have nobody else to discuss damage with but your insurance agency. In the majority of cases, you’ll be able to call a 1-800 number or head to a website to file your claim. Your agent may request additional information, such as photos of the damage and a police report. Once these items have been provided, the claims process can begin.
In a wide swath of circumstances, filing a claim as soon as possible is paramount in ensuring that repairs are performed in a timely manner, and that your claim will be approved. If you wait too long to file a claim, insurance agencies may begin asking questions about the nature of the accident. You want to be proactive about filing any claim in order to avoid this, and also because the sooner the damage to your auto glass can be repaired, the sooner you’ll be able to hit the open road safely once again.
Once your claim has been filed and accepted, it usually takes very little time for repairs to be performed. Some insurance agencies will try to trick you into using their preferred auto glass technicians; this can often lead to shoddy work, but they will tell you that repairs can be performed quickly when using them. In reality, the claims process allows you to file a claim and have the repairs performed by almost any auto glass technician, so be sure to shop around before you settle on one repair shop or another.
The usual time-frame for repairs or replacements is 24 to 48 hours, making this form of auto work and repair much faster than with many other types of claims. If your car uses a special form of glass or is a relatively rare type of car, then special glass may need to be ordered and this can add time to the quoted duration above. In most cases, however, you can expect to be back on the road within one to two days.
Your insurance policy may cover a variety of different elements for automobile accidents in general, but the coverage usually offered for auto glass is more streamlined. In most cases, the coverage provided ensures that no one will have to pay out of pocket for any repairs performed on auto glass or windshields. This means that any small cracks, chips or fractures in the glass will be repaired promptly by a technician in order to avoid further damage and increased risk of injury behind the wheel in the future.
In the case of windshield and auto glass replacement efforts, however, there is usually a deductible involved. Your deductible may range anywhere from $50 to $300 for a windshield replacement; the average cost of a windshield replacement without insurance is often around $300. This means that you will most likely have to pay out of pocket for at least part of the replacement procedure, but usually will be covered in some regard. In a few cases, however, people decide to opt to replace the windshield without filing a claim, due to the minimal (if any) coverage provided in their specific cases.
Some policies do offer full coverage on replacements, but they usually are added onto the policy and do not come standard. A quick glance at your auto insurance policy should provide this information; if you see a line item for guarantees on glass replacement, then you know you are covered. In all other circumstances, you should check with your insurance agent before making any decision.