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Car Window Damage: Repairs and Insurance Advice

car window damage

You’ve just stepped outside of your home to get in your car and you stop in your tracks: the driver’s side window has been smashed in, shattering glass across the front seats and all over the floor. Worse, your radio was purloined and your main console storage compartment has been ransacked. What are you going to do?

Car window damage repair will cost you some money, and you can’t always fix the problem right away. But don’t panic, here’s a four-step guide to assist you while you await your insurance company’s response and the resultant repairs:

Step 1: Roll Up Your Sleeves

The first thing to do when making car window repairs is to don a pair of work gloves and sweep up the glass. You may find it easier to vacuum the mess, but be mindful that some shards may still be stuck to the door or embedded in the carpet. Expect to find glass in the oddest places, including inside cubbies, beneath the rear seat and in vent openings. Modern car window glass it designed to break up into tiny pieces rather than large shards, which can make cleanup tedious. Vacuum or sweep up what you can; then carefully remove embedded pieces with your gloves on. Take your time, don’t rush. Lastly use a flashlight to locate any lost pieces, as they will reflect in the light beam.

Secure your temporary window in place with duct tape.Step 2: Take Cover

Acquire and apply transparent plastic sheeting. A thick and transparent garbage bag may be sufficient here, otherwise you may need to head to a hardware store to buy some materials. You should measure the window’s size first before cutting anything, and the sheeting should wrap tightly around the door frame and be affixed with duct tape. Try to cut your material to size and to trim any excess plastic remaining.

Step 3: If You Can’t Duct It

To ensure that the plastic is tightly in place and will resist moisture, including rain and snow, you should add a second application of duct tape overlapping the first row that circles the perimeter of the plastic. The plastic should be as tight as possible, to avoid flapping in the wind. Some movement is okay, but not so much that it will become a distraction or might eventually work its way loose.

Step 4: To Leak or Not to Leak

The final step in your car window damage quest is to test your repair to certify that it’s secure. Tap on the plastic and it should only budge a little. If you want to verify its waterproof properties, then turn on a garden hose, place it on a gentle setting and spray it down. Take a look and see if there’s been a leak, and if there has been, find the source and secure it.

Insurance Considerations

Even before you begin repairs, you should notify your insurance company of the damage. You can also file a police report. You should know that the damage may not be covered under your present insurance coverage. Or, if it is covered, the extent of the damage may be too small to file a claim.

On the other hand, if your damage was more extensive, then filing a claim may be worthwhile. Car window damage is typically covered under comprehensive coverage. In some cases, your homeowner’s insurance coverage may kick in. Contact your insurance agent for guidance, and file a claim if your costs are more than the deductible.

Although a broken car window is a real pain, with this guide, the aftermath doesn’t have to be.

Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on car window damage, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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