Repair vs Replace: How to assess the damage caused by a rock hitting your windshield and steps to take to ensure that your windshield

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Should I repair or replace my windshield?

It happens to all of us, we are driving, and suddenly, the car in front of us kicks up a rock, and zing, we have a pit or a crack in our windshield. With the 3 cars we have in our family, this winter we have had to repair 2 windshields and replace one.Living in a relatively rural area with lots of snow is hard on windshields.

Does my insurance pay for glass repairs?

Your insurance is often willing to cover glass repairs because the windshield provides structural integrity, as discussed later in this blog.The repair of a windshield is much cheaper than a replacement.When covered, you will find this coverage under the comprehensive portion of your policy. If you have a question about your specific coverage, give us a call at 208-762-2122. Confused about insurance terms? Check out our blog, Insurance 101 here. Many of the companies we represent will cover the full cost of a repair.With a replacement, there will be a deductible to pay.

The first thing you should do when your windshield pits.

The first thing you should do is be thankful that we have great windshields! After that, find a safe place to pull off the road and do a quick inspection. We can separate minor windshield damage into two major categories. Chips or cracks. A chip is usually damage in the windshield that clearly marks the point of impact. There are several different types of breaks, they include: (also see the picture with this blog).

Star breaks: - Short cracks that form outward from the center

Bulls Eye: =Circular

Half Moon -semi circular pit.

Crack Chip Small cracks less than an inch –

Pit -Gouge

The other category of windshield breakage is cracks.Cracks create a distinct line in the glass that can range from under an inch up to the width of your windshield. They generally break horizontally in a straight or somewhat wavy line.

Sometimes even long cracks are repairable- if caught in time.

The next step is critical to getting a good repair. It is critical to keep this damage to a minimum. Place a clear sticker (see picture below), over the damage to keep it clean and dry.The cleaner the damage, the better the repair.We have these stickers available at our office, just stop by and say hello and pick up stickers to put in your glove box in the event you have a problem, plus we would love to see you!

Can my windshield be repaired?

Windshield repair technology is an advancing industry.The ability to repair large cracks and repairs is an evolving technology. It is best to consult with your glass repair technician.We have several very good ones in our area, if you would like us to recommend one, please give us a call at 208-762-2122, or drop me a line at are 4 main factors that affect windshield repair vs replacement.


Windshield repair technology is always advancing, and so is the ability to repair or chips or cracks.In general, chips smaller than your thumb, and cracks up to 3 inches can easily be repaired. The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) guide, administered by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), specifies limits on repair sizes depending on the type of damage (bulls-eye, pit, crack, etc..) with the upper limits of a chip being three inches and a crack up to 14 inches.


How deep the damage penetrates the windshield is another factor in a windshield repair.Remember a windshield is basically a glass sandwich, with an outer layer of glass, a plastic interlayer, followed by another layer of glass. If the damage extends past the plastic interlayer, you often are in for a replacement.


The location of the damage is critical to the ability to repair a windshield.If the damage is the edge of the windshield, there could be structural integrity issues.Did you know that the windshield is responsible for 60% of the structural strength in the event of a rollover?If there is any question about the integrity of a windshield, it must be replaced.

If the damage is in the driver’s line of sight (the area covered by the covered by the driver’s windshield wiper, it is likely the glass will need to be replaced. Often repairs will cause some distortion which could impair the drivers view of the road, if the repair is in their line of sight.


Today’s windshields are full of sensors, such as rain sensors, lane departure and automatic brakes to name just a few.These sensors require a crystal-clear view. If the damage is in the line of sight of any sensor, the glass will probably need to be replaced.

Replacement of your Windshield

Remember, safety first! Many consumers think it’s ok to keep that crack in their windshield. The truth is that the windshield integrity is an important safety feature.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, that percentage is up to 60%. If there is any uncertainty consult with an expert.

The Bottom Line

When dealing with a windshield, it is important to keep the chip or crack clean, and get it repaired as soon as possible.You should check your insurance policy for specific coverage, and not every policy has comprehensive coverage or may exclude glass.If you have any questions, or we may help you, please give us a call at 208-762-2122, or email us at