“Clink!” You just heard the sound of gravel being kicked up in the air from the vehicle in front of you and crashing down onto your windshield. There is a small chip in the glass right in front of your line of sight. Right now, it’s no big deal; but left alone, a small chip can quickly turn into a crack – or two or three.
You could replace it, but you know the repair cost would be a pretty penny. You could repair it, but how do you know the results will last? Here at Reis Insurance, we’ve seen our fair share of customers with glass chips and cracks. Continue reading to learn how you can determine whether your windshield needs to be repaired or completely replaced.
There was once a time when windshields could not be repaired – only replaced. Today, repairs are relatively quick and straightforward using a unique resin that is applied over the chipped glass. This resin fills in the compromised area and dries clear. Though it may cause some slight reduction in visibility, it provides a much more affordable alternative for many drivers. However, not all chips and cracks can be fixed. To find out if your windshield can be repaired, you must consult with a professional. In general, you will be told that the damage must be:
- A chip of 1 inch in diameter or less
- A “star” break of 1.5 inches in diameter or less
- A crack that can fit under a currency bill
- One of no more than three chips or cracks on the entire windshield
- Located away from the windshield edge
If you decide to have your windshield repaired, do it right away before your chip or crack has the opportunity to worsen. It doesn’t take much pressure for a small chip to turn into a big crack – a large pothole could do it. You can bring your vehicle to a repair shop or ask them to come to you. A professional can locate and fix a crack or chip, and can also drill carefully through the top layer of the glass to prevent a chip or crack from spreading.
Be sure to contact your car insurance company first before having your windshield repaired. The damage is often covered under the comprehensive coverage section of your policy. You might have to pay a small deductible before the insurance covers the expense, or your insurance company may pick up the tab and waive your deductible altogether, since repairing a chip is much more affordable than replacing an entire windshield.
If your windshield is not eligible to be fixed, or if a crack grows too big before you have a chance to have it repaired, it may be time to replace the glass. Just be sure to take it to a professional rather than take the DIY approach. Though doing it yourself might seem less expensive; it can compromise the integrity of the glass seal and strength, making it more susceptible to leakage. Worse, an improperly installed windshield may not hold up in a serious accident, allowing drivers and passengers to be ejected from the vehicle more likely than if the windshield remains intact.
A professional windshield repair is much more reliable and usually takes about an hour, although you may need to wait longer before driving the vehicle to allow the bonds to cure. Though windshield replacement is much more expensive (an OEM windshield can cost over $1,000), the replacement is probably covered under the comprehensive section of your insurance policy.
If you are not sure whether your insurance covers chip and crack repairs or replacement, give us a call.
At the Reis Insurance Agency, we help River Falls area drivers evaluate their coverage and offer free, no-obligation River Falls car insurance quotes on policies that will fit your needs. Call us today. We look forward to seeing you soon.