Does your Auto Insurance Cover a Cracked Windshield?
Car damages are inevitable in certain circumstances, and the same applies to a cracked windshield as well. Flying objects, debris, animals, or even accidents are a threat to your windshield. The damages may vary from a small chip to a larger crack, and both these cases call for immediate attention and cannot be overlooked.
Ignoring a situation like this could cause worse problems in the future. Repairing or replacing a cracked windshield does have chances of putting quite the weight on your budget, depending on the extent of the damage. Many people probably wonder about whether or not their insurance provider covers the expenses of windshield problems, and to your advantage, the answer is ‘yes.’
However, you must have a comprehensive insurance policy that covers damages sustained by a four-wheeler due to inevitable events, which includes a cracked windshield, along with your third-party accidental liabilities.
Comprehensive Insurance Coverage
It is a must to have comprehensive coverage to cover an array of cases, and this also confirms that your insurance provider will cover the cracked windshield damages. It is not legally required to have comprehensive coverage, but it is an additional option available with your basic third-party liability insurance, which is necessary for all car owners in India. It is combined with collision insurance and covers any form of damages because of what are called ‘acts of God.’
You can file a claim for the cracked windshield only if the cause of damage is covered by your policy. Some policies cover just the expense of repair while others cover repair as well as replacement. The coverage depends entirely on the terms of your policy, which also indicate whether you get a repair done free of cost or pay some amount from your pockets.
What if You Do Not Have Comprehensive Coverage?
In simple words, your third-party liability insurance will not cover the damages of a cracked windshield. However, there are circumstantial exceptions where only the liability insurance will repair your car.
If the damage caused was because another person crashed into your car, it is clear that they are at fault, and they have to pay for the repair or replacement. In case of any damage you have to file a claim against the property damage liability section of the respective driver’s insurance company, and they will pay for the repairs or replacement of the cracked windshield, without you having to file a claim with your insurer. Do not forget to file a third-party insurance claim against the driver responsible for the damage.
However, it is recommended that you get comprehensive and collision insurance if the vehicle is less than ten years old. Even if these two kinds of coverage may double your premium cost, it would still be less than the replacement cost of a cracked windshield.
What is Covered under the Comprehensive Policy?
Several elements, natural or manmade, can result in a cracked windshield, which will chip, crack or sometimes even shatter the glass. Instances such as your car running into another vehicle, a tree or branch crashing onto your vehicle, hailstones falling at a high velocity, sudden crashes caused by animals, any falling debris, rocks, or even coconuts while driving, a ball strike which damages the windshield, acts of vandalism during thefts or fights, etc. are the common cases of repair or replacement covered by a comprehensive motor insurance policy.
What is Not Covered under the Comprehensive Policy?
There are a few instances in which the windshield cover will not assist your claim in case of a cracked windshield. Cases such as manufacturing defects that cause any damages, the deductible amount you have to pay after raising the claim against the damages, depreciation that affects the windshield, events which cause damages that are not covered under the terms of your comprehensive policy, etc. will not be covered by the windshield cover.
Deductibles on Damage Claims
Deductibles are a part of the claim amount you have to pay for the repair or replacement agreed on during the claim settlement of the cracked windshield. This means you will share the liability of your insurer, and they will legally pay only the remaining claim to you.
Some of the policies require you to pay the deductibles before the insurer offers the compensation, and you also have an option to opt for no deductibles, but this will radically raise your premium cost. Always keep in mind that the higher your deductibles, the lower will be your premiums, so make sure you choose your policy wisely.
When is the Damage Claim Unnecessary?
Before raising a claim against the damages on your windshield, check the deductible amount you have to pay and compare it with the actual estimate of your repair or replacement charges from the service centre. If the amount of the estimated cost is less than that of the deductible, it is counterproductive to raise a claim with the insurer. Therefore, it is advised you do not raise a claim because you won’t receive any money in return since the deductible you pay will cover the cost of the repair or replacement.
Filing a claim when not required will also deduct your accumulated No Claim Bonus (NCB). It is suggested that even if your cost of repair or replacement is less than the NCB, you should avoid raising a claim. This is because you will lose your NCB and won’t have the chance of getting a higher discount on the renewal of your premium, which would be more than the amount paid by the insurer for the claim.
However, raising a claim would not affect your NCB if you have the No Claim Bonus protect add-on cover, which allows your cracked windshield to be repaired or replaced without losing NCB. Many top-notch insurance plans come with a windscreen add-on cover as well.
Terms and Conditions of an Add-On Windscreen Cover
One of the obvious terms of it, considering it is an add-on, is that you have to purchase it by paying a higher amount on your policy. This cover is only applicable if the damage is just on the windshield, and no other damages have affected the other parts of the vehicle. This cover also allows only one claim per policy tenure, and any subsequent cracked windshield claims would result in the NCB loss.
You can only purchase this coverage if you have a comprehensive insurance policy in place because it is an add-on, and third-party insurance does not come with an option for add-ons. You need to make sure that the repair or replacement is taken care of at a service centre approved by the insurance company; if the work undertaken is at another place, the claim is considered outside the coverage of a windscreen cover and will affect your NCB.
The Procedure for Filing a Claim
We all know that repairing or replacing a cracked windshield can cost quite a lot of money and if you are sure that the estimate of the repair or replacement is going to be heavy, do not hesitate to file a claim because it is a reasonably straightforward process which follows similar rules as any other claim application.
You can start by informing your insurer about the cause and severity of the cracked windshield. You can proceed by either writing an application or by submitting an online claim. If the reason for the destruction of your windshield was because of vandalism, you need to call and inform the police first before taking any other action, get the FIR lodged, and file the claim after you receive it.
Keep in mind that all insurance companies do not approve of all the service centres out there, so choose on that offers cashless service and has a tie-up with your insurance company. The professionals will inspect the severity of the cracked windshield and suggest whether a repair or replacement is required. If the damage is minor and has not caused a huge impact, you will be suggested to get it repaired. However, in the case of irreparable damage, you will have to choose a replacement. No matter what the case among the two, if the causal relation is covered by your policy, the insurer will bear the costs.
After the repair or replacement has been dealt with, make sure you have kept all the receipts or bills you may have received. Your insurance company will need them to understand how much was spent and what is the exact amount they have to reimburse you. If you do not keep or misplace the evidence proving the repair or replacement, your insurer can deny the required coverage or offer you a lesser amount than what is needed.
Even though the windshield is highly resistant, certain circumstances do lead to a cracked windshield and driving around with a damaged windshield not just life-threatening but will also get you fined by cops since the law states that a driver must have an unobstructed view of the road. Damages are unavoidable, and that is another major reason why you should have the advantage of comprehensive insurance coverage if you want to avoid paying a massive amount.
If you have a cracked windshield that needs a repair or replacement, AIS Windshield Experts will help you get high-quality services and inform you about the damages retained. Give us a call and get your windshield fixed at your doorstep!
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