Car Window Costs: Insurance Claim or Pay Yourself?

When we talk about a car window replacement, we think of the side windows, not windshields. The cost can vary greatly, but what would be the average cost for the majority of cars?

On average, you’re looking at the $200 to $400 cost for a glass shop to repair, at least. Depending on the damage, the parts for one window are between $100-$200 for an average car, plus the labor cost of about $100-$200, depending on where you live. The price may vary for the same window if you decide to get insurance involved.

If you asked the same mechanic the cost for you and your insurance, he might give you a different answer. Usually, if your insurance company gets involved the mechanic may quote you higher. And while side window damages can be distressing, especially if personal items are stolen, the right coverage can alleviate much of the financial burden.

How Much Does Car Window Replacement Cost?

The average car window replacement cost is $200 to $400 and will vary a lot depending on the type of your car, your location and whether you’re replacing just the window or the regulator as well. Rear window replacement cost ranges between $200 and $450.

The side glass window itself is inexpensive, around $50 to $150. Add to that $50-$100 if you’re replacing the regulator, plus the labor cost of at least $100 (usually $150).

broken car back window bmw

Driver side window usually costs the same to replace as the passenger side window. Any kind of work done, such as having tinted windows, raises the cost.

If someone damaged your car further, including the paint, car door, and interior, then the price will go up, and you might want to consider getting your car insurance involved. The best advice is to call several glass replacement shops and ask them for a quote. They might be all over the place, depending on things such as whether they have to send out the glass or not.

If you’re unable to bring your car to a car shop, then mobile car window replacement could be a good choice for you. They will come to you to repair your window. They usually operate outside traditional business hours and can repair your windows at any time suitable to you. Safelite offers mobile car window replacement, as well as probably many smaller local shops in your area.

While side window replacement costs seem upfront, some hidden factors can influence the price. For instance, vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) may have integrated sensors in the side windows, which can elevate the replacement cost.

Electric Window Stuck Down or Won’t Roll Up – What to Do?

If your window doesn’t go “up” or doesn’t do anything when you press the “up” position then you should try to inspect it further. If your car window won’t roll up, you’d want to start testing the window switch. Apply battery voltage to one contact in the motor plug and then the other. If the motor (regulator) is good then it should move up and down and would indicate a problem with the switch.

Perhaps a wire is broken or the unit isn’t getting any voltage. Perhaps the switch itself is broken and is having a bad contact. Hung up and sticking slides and tracks can take out a motor from it trying too hard. Maybe you need to replace the regulator as well.

When in doubt, and if your car isn’t very new, then replace the lifter assembly, just in case.

silhouette of father and son at the beach Hyundai car insurance

Car Window Replacement Cost Insurance and Claims

Pay Out of Your Own Pocket or File an Insurance Claim?

Whether you pay out of your own pocket or file an insurance claim will depend on your specific insurance plan, your deductible, and what’s currently best for you.

When it comes to broken side windows, the first thing you should do is check to see if your insurance plan has glass coverage. This is usually included only if you have full or comprehensive coverage.

If your side window cost is not much higher than your deductible, you might want to choose to pay out of your own pocket. Get a quote from several window replacement shops to get an estimate of the car side window replacement cost.

Generally, the tradeoff is often better to pay it yourself because of the higher future insurance costs if you don’t. Since we’re talking about car side (driver, passenger, vent) windows, which aren’t that expensive, most people might choose to pay by themselves. Especially if you’ve chosen a higher deductible.

However, there’s a silver lining. Some insurance companies offer glass repair endorsements or waivers, which means that if your side window is damaged, the insurer may cover the repair without you having to pay a deductible.

Naturally, this may not always be the case, and you might want to file insurance for some damages, especially if other parts of your car have been damaged such as paint, door, or the interior.

Here are the web links to the largest car insurance companies about glass coverage and their car insurance plans:

Does insurance cover broken windows, and is it worth filing a claim?

Most insurance policies won’t cover side windows for anything reasonable. If your window was smashed, the door or the interior was damaged as well, then you can file a report as vandalism. Your insurance will get it fixed, and you’ll pay a deductible.

But if it was just one broken window, without any other damage to the paint, door or interior then your best choice would be to call several car repair shops, get quotes and choose the cheapest one.

About Car Insurance Coverage and Deductibles

Does car insurance cover personal items involved in a crash?

Car insurance doesn’t generally cover personal items involved, but it may cover “some” items. There is usually a low limit to cover some personal items if any at all. Unless you specifically purchase this type of insurance from your provider, the answer would generally be “no”.

The type of insurance that covers these kinds of items is your renters or home insurance, and in most cases extends a limited amount of coverage to your belongings of premises.

Here’s a fun exercise to determine if your auto insurance covers your personal items inside it. Imagine you are able to turn your car upside down and shake it. Anything that falls out is not covered.

Does insurance cover if you damage your own car?

If you somehow damaged your car unintentionally, then insurance will probably cover it. However, not always.

Insurance covers damage to your car from an accident, and what usually matters is whether it was intentional or not. The only thing that could go against you is whether this is considered an “at-fault accident”, which means that you are responsible for causing the accident. In which case, you will be required to pay all damages. For example, if you parked your car in neutral on a hill, without brakes.

Generally, this is covered under collision coverage, and not under comprehensive coverage.

Can you just keep cash from car insurance and not fix your car?

You could definitely just keep the cash. When you get into an accident and damage your car, your car is devalued by the cost of repair, and the job of insurance is to mitigate your financial loss. Neither your insurance nor the other person’s insurance will require you to repair if you don’t want to.

You must get a quote for the damages from a car repair shop approved by your insurance company. Then just request payment directly to you. This is called “cashing-out”, and in some states, you might also be owed a loss-of-use (rental car money) even if you don’t rent a car. With older vehicles, care insurance companies actually prefer you just taking a check and not repairing. That way they can save money on a rental that they would owe you.

Choosing Car Insurance Deductible

A deductible is an amount you have to pay before your insurance pays anything. In general, going with a higher deductible is preferential if you think that you can go 10+ years without filing a car insurance claim. Insurance is there for the expensive issues, so this might work for some people.

However, this is risky, because someone could vandalize your car simply in the parking lot and you might want to file an insurance claim for that. If you think this won’t happen or that you’ll fix it yourself, then, by all means, get a higher deductible for the long run.

When it comes to buying insurance, some people think that it may be smart never to buy insurance for a cost you can afford to cover yourself. Following this line of reasoning, you should always choose the higher deductible if you can afford it.

broken front car window at night

Someone vandalized your car – will insurance cover it?

If it was just your car window, you might want to pay by yourself.

Generally, glass coverage varies from state to state. I found the web pages for many of the largest car insurers and the differences by state. Here are the links to check for your state: State Farm, Geico, and Progressive. Some states have a separate glass deductible, others don’t. If you’re unsure, refrain from asking your agent anything until you’re ready to file, because there were cases where just by asking something, you risk your insurance expenses going up.

Whenever you want to check something with your insurance agent, always state that it’s hypothetical. ?

Now, which insurance will cover vandalism? If you have comprehensive insurance on your car (also known as “other than collision” in some states) then it would cover vandalism. Comprehensive insurance covers vandalism, theft, windshield and glass damage, fire, accidents with animals, weather damage, falling trees and other objects, and rocks falling onto your car.

Note that you can have separate deductibles for comprehensive and collision.

If your car was vandalized, your insurer might ask you to do the Examination Under Oath. You should probably comply. It’s a necessary part of the investigation that you need to go through to get paid for your damages. It’s like a court cross-examination and can be a long process, but they’re just trying to prevent insurance fraud. It’s a part of your duties under the policy to comply, and if you refuse they have grounds to deny your claim.

No Insurance on Car Windows? How to Afford the Replacement

If your car wasn’t expensive, then the cheapest way to fix your car window is to pull a replacement out of a junkyard and do the repair by yourself.

There are many cars whose windows you can replace by yourself.

However, if you’re not feeling comfortable doing this, then the best thing you can do is to call several glass shops in your area and ask for a quote. Almost all glass shops can do a window or windshield replacement. They’re all pretty much the same and what will differ is the installer as well as the glass brand you will receive.

Mechanic shops will often sub-contract these things to a glass shop, so it’s best to call a glass shop directly and cut the middleman. We’re looking for the best option here in regards to price.

When choosing your window glass replacement you can go factory but they’re much more expensive. For many car models, the difference for the door glass is negligible. You can confidently avoid factory for many door glass models to reduce your expenses.

The glass window replacement in a glass shop will take approximately 2 to 4 hours. You might want to try to book an appointment just so you can be sure to have a slot, and the glass will be there.

Broken Car Window Temporary Fix

If your car has been broken into, or you simply want to cover a window that won’t roll up, there are a few things you can do.

Get a crash wrap, which is a plastic tape that comes on a roll. You can put it over the doorframe, and it will stay on at highway speeds. It’s just one simple way as a broken car window temporary fix.

Another thing you could try is to get a roll of thick clear plastic sheeting from Home Depot, 6-mil or thicker, and a roll of Grip Blue Tape. Cut sheeting to fit with a utility knife and tape it to the door.

Something else to try, get a piece of plexiglass from a hardware store and cut it to fit inside the channels. Make sure it drops down into the door a couple of inches, and use something like couple wedges at the bottom on the inside on both ends to hold it up.

Be careful not to damage the paint and I hope you’ll get your car fixed as soon as you can, in a way that’s best for you.

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!