Guide to Windshield Repair & Replacement Costs

Windshields are deliberately constructed to be some of the most durable glass on the market – anywhere. And that’s no accident. In addition to being the first line of defense against threats as small as birds and bugs, and as severe as highway accidents and flying debris, these large panes of automobile glass are heavily regulated in the United States and abroad. The domestic body in charge of regulating automobile glass and installation procedures is the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. They are responsible not only for regulating the safety of windshields, but for regulating the safety of virtually every other aspect of a vehicle. Together, these regulations are the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations. They provide a way to evaluate vehicle safety and ensure high quality service and repairs and appropriate responses by insurance companies when a windshield has been damaged by debris or an automobile accident. After airbags and seatbelts, they are a vehicle’s third most important safety component.

Obtaining a replacement is a relatively easy process as there are a number of reputable companies offering affordable repairs that are specifically designed to meet insurance company and federal safety standards. The cost is relatively low and easily accessible even for budget-conscious consumers.

crack in windshield

Replacement Cost and Factors

The industry average price for a full restoration is typically quite low, especially compared to what the average consumer is prepared to pay when requesting this type of repair. Auto industry experts generally estimate the average cost of replacement ranges between $100 and $350, though they caution that these prices can fluctuate greatly depending on several factors including the make and model of the vehicle that needs a replacement. This is generally because some vehicles use radically different shapes and architectures, as well as more labor-intensive attachment hardware. For example, high end vehicles are often more expensive due to special installation or requirements. These situations drive up labor costs and the time it takes to repair a car’s windshield. As anyone who has owned a car for a significant amount of time will understand, time is certainly money when it comes to this type of repair. For this reason, car owners who require a replacement should get a quote from several different service companies in their area in order to find the best valued service. They should also seek to understand how the make, model, and year of their vehicle might impact the cost they’ll be charged for a repair.

Another factor is whether you bring your car to the service center or they come to you. Mobile replacement & repair services are very convenient, but they cost a little bit more. Finally, it depends on how long you can wait for the procedure to be completed. Same or next-day service is usually priced at a a premium, so if you can wait a few days you can save some money.

Damaged windshields do not always require replacement, however. Repairing chips or cracks caused by debris is considerably less expensive and is usually somewhere between $20 and $60. Mobile service is typically on the higher end of that range. Each additional chip will be around $10-$20. The longer the crack, the more expensive the repair will be. Those with cracks longer than 2 feet are usually replaced as they cannot be fixed safely. Many auto insurance companies will completely cover these repairs without a deductible in order to avoid getting a replacement.

windshield being repaired

Furthermore, if the damage is the result of an accident on the road, or you have comprehensive coverage, insurance companies may cover some or all of the fees associated with the repair. Always check with your insurance company if the damage is classified as the result of an accident and to find out if there is a deductible (and if so, what it is) to see if it’s worth making a claim. This cost-saving measure is, after all, paid for by most drivers when they sign up for a policy in the first place.

What the Cost Includes

Prices are generally all-inclusive, although this might vary depending on the company chosen to complete the job. It may also vary based on whether or not an insurance company’s policy is involved in paying for part or all of the costs associated with a replacement. Most auto glass service centers offer guarantees or warranties with their work.

Typically, a replacement job is comprised of two major aspects. The first is the cost of the glass itself, which is generally a significant part of the fee charged to consumers who have a cracked or dented windshield. The second part of the cost is the labor fee that will be charged by the certified technician in charge of the job. These labor costs, as discussed earlier, can vary based on the type of repair required, as well as the make, model, and year of the car in need of repair.

Prices of replacement can also vary based on the type of glass being used. Generally speaking, there are two types of glass that can be used to fix up a car’s window to the world and get it back on the road in a short amount of time. The first type of glass, and easily the most affordable, is one that is constructed to the car manufacturer’s standards but is made by a third-party (often referred to as “aftermarket”) company that produces that glass at far lower cost.

The second type of glass that can be used is OEM (original equipment manufacturer) glass. This involves using glass that was officially produced by the company that manufactured the vehicle’s original windshield. These parts are readily available for newer vehicles, though they can be harder to find outside of a junkyard for vehicles that are older and have had a longer life on the road.

windshield replacement

Technicians will pair their expert replacement skills with the right amount of attachment cleaning and new adhesive, giving it a secure fit. The vehicle’s windshield area will be restored to like-new condition, ensuring that the replacement matches the durability and longevity promised by the OEM version that shipped with the vehicle at the time of purchase.

Where to Get it Replaced

The two major windshield replacement companies used by most consumers and their insurance companies are Safelite and Speedy Glass. Both companies have locations nationwide, and employ some of most qualified glaziers and certified technicians anywhere. Their prices, due to being larger brands, are typically more affordable than smaller businesses and they’re able to more quickly meet the needs of consumers and provide a timely repair.

Both Speedy Glass and Safelite are well-versed in the insurance industry’s safety standards, as set out by the III (Insurance Information Institute). And both companies deal heavily with the National Glass Association, an industry body that governs glass standards, technical training, and certification, for replacement businesses and other companies in the glass industry nationwide. All that said, make sure to call around to all the auto glass service companies, in your area to get the the best service for the best price.  Make sure they are quoting a price that includes installation.

Don’t Delay – Get it Done Today

Replacing a damaged windshield is very important if you want to restore a vehicle’s high safety rating and ensure that unexpected incidents on the road won’t lead to more damage to the vehicle or its passengers. These repairs are quick and affordable, and they can be done by nationally reputable companies that are as knowledgeable as they are readily available. When it comes to good safety and maintenance, a replacement is simply tantamount. It keeps you inside the car and things out of the car and is not a maintenance procedure to cut corners on or pick the cheapest price.