How to handle a damaged windshield can vary from state to state. Luckily, in the State of Florida, a damaged windshield is not the worst thing that could happen to a driver because there are affordable options to repair or replace your windshield.
IS IT ILLEGAL TO DRIVE WITH A CRACKED WINDSHIELD?
According to Florida Statute 316.610, “It is a violation of this chapter for any person to drive or move, or for the owner or his or her duly authorized representative to cause or knowingly permit to be driven or moved, on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person or property, or which does not contain those parts or is not at all times equipped with such lamps and other equipment in proper condition and adjustment as required in this chapter, or which is equipped in any manner in violation of this chapter, or for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required under this chapter.”
Essentially, this means that if you drive your vehicle with a crack in the windshield, the police have grounds to pull you over and give you a ticket on the grounds that your vehicle is deemed to be in an unsafe condition. If the damage is extensive, they may even require that your car be towed and not driven on the road. You may get lucky and only get a warning to have your windshield fixed but if you are given a ticket, you have two options.
- Pay the ticket in full or
- Show proof (either via mail or in person to the county clerk’s office) that your windshield has been repaired or replaced.
The law does not specify what extent the damage to your windshield must be in to qualify as an “unsafe condition” so it is up to the officer’s discretion how to handle your specific situation.
SHOULD I GET MY WINDSHIELD REPAIRED OR REPLACED?
If your windshield chipped rather than cracked, you may be able to get your windshield repaired and not have to have it replaced, saving you (or your insurance company) a few dollars! In order for it to be safe to repair your windshield, the damage to your windshield must meet the following requirements:
- The damage is smaller than a dollar bill
- There are three or less chips in the windshield
- The damage is not in your direct line of sight
- The damage is not along the edge of the windshield
If the damage to your windshield does not meet all of these requirements, it may be recommended to replace your windshield to ensure its safety standards.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO REPAIR OR REPLACE MY WINDSHIELD?
The cost of repair (or replacement) will depend on what type of vehicle insurance you have. If you have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, you are in luck! This type of coverage protects the insured from damage to your vehicle’s windshield and under Florida Statute 627.7288, your insurance company must replace or repair the windshield with zero deductible. This means, at no cost to you. You can select the company you want the repair to be completed by or you can use the repair company recommended by your insurance company, but the choice is solely up to you.
However, if you do not have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, you will be responsible for the cost of the repair or replacement of the windshield. Be sure to research several providers and check their reviews, compare prices, business practice standards, and that they use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. Your windshield is definitely not something you want to skimp on quality for the sake of saving some money. Your windshield protects you from more than just wind while your drive. You don’t want it to become easily chipped or cracked by the next rock or piece of road debris and you definitely want it to withstand a car accident to keep you and your passengers safe.