Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 6, 2020

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Things to Remember....
SummaryFrom Experts...
There are no laws regarding free auto glass coverage in TexasCar Windshields Info
It's only illegal to drive with windshield damage if it obstructs the driver's view or changes the shape of the glass in TexasTexas Transportation Code 547.613: Restrictions on Windows
You can ask your insurance company to provide you with a $0 deductible for your optional auto glass coverageInsurance Journal
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If you’re like most drivers, you’ve experienced a cracked or chipped windshield at some point while you’ve been out on the road. It may have even happened while your vehicle was sitting parked in your driveway.

Whether it’s that sickening sound of a rock hitting your windshield on the highway, weather damage, or it just appeared one day (which has happened to us, so we know it’s possible), you need to know the full glass coverage laws in Texas for when and how windshields must be repaired.

But where do you find this information? We know even a google search may result in more frustration than answers. But don’t worry, that’s why you’re here. We’ve collected and compiled all the information you need to be prepared for repair or full windshield replacement in Texas.

We’ll take a look at what is required of your auto insurance company, whether glass repair is covered by your insurance policy (and if so, what type of auto insurance you are required to carry), how much you may be expected to pay for windshield repair or replacement, and more.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about glass coverage laws in Texas and how they apply to you.

Before we get started, enter your ZIP code to get a free quote on full windshield replacement in Texas.

Table of Contents

Texas Glass and Glass Coverage Laws

So just what are the laws regarding vehicle glass in Texas? Can you drive with a chipped or cracked windshield? What happens if you do?

If you need a repair or replacement, how do you get one? Will my insurance cover windshield replacement? What are the laws in Texas regarding where you can get your windshield repaired or replaced? How do I know if my car insurance covers windshield replacement? Keep reading to learn the answers to these and other questions regarding Texas windshield replacement law.

Is windshield repair/replacement a common problem?

Anyone who’s driven for more than a few months knows the answer to this question is yes. Just how common is windshield damage across the country?

Between 13 and 14 million windshields are replaced each year, and that doesn’t even take into account the windshields that are simply repaired.

With this information in mind, its no surprise that the market size for windshield repair services across the country is in the $5 billion range, and from 2013 to 2018, the overall industry grew 5.1 percent.

This also supports why there are laws in some states that govern how insurance companies must handle repairs and replacements (though in Texas, the laws are brief, which we’ll get into more detail on in a few sections).

What happens if my windshield is cracked or chipped in Texas?

If your windshield is chipped or cracked as the result of driving, weather, or some other incident, that doesn’t necessarily mean it must be repaired or replaced; at least not in Texas.

The laws in Texas regarding chipped or cracked windshields are fairly lax. In fact, there isn’t actually any explicit mention of cracked or damaged windshields in Texas laws, which means it’s technically not illegal to drive with a crack or chip in the windshield. But there are some caveats to this, which we’ll discuss below.

The only thing the law actually references is whether or not your visibility is impaired. This includes anything that might affect your ability to see, including any objects or materials that might be in your field of view. Based on this, we can extrapolate that you’re only required by law to repair or replace your windshield if the damage effectively reduces visibility for the driver.

This means if your windshield is damaged on the passenger side of your vehicle, and the crack or chip does not affect your ability to see clearly through the driver’s side of the windshield, you don’t actually have to repair/replace it (per the law), though it is probably a good idea to do so anyway.

In addition, windshields are not included in the vehicle inspections required by the state, so you won’t fail an inspection if your windshield is cracked. However, if the crack or chip affects how your windshield wipers operate, this may result in a failure.

Ultimately, the only way you’re actually breaking the law in Texas with windshield damage is if the damage inhibits your ability to see in some way or it actually changes the shape of the glass (which would affect the windshield wiper operation).

If you do have damage and it’s impairing your vision or changing the shape of your windshield, call to have it replaced as soon as possible. It’s no longer safe for you to drive this car because it could fail to protect you in the event of an accident.

Even if it’s not affecting your visibility or changing the shape of the glass yet, it’s still a good idea to find out whether or not you can get it repaired or replaced. And regardless of state law, you’ll need to make sure no matter where you’re driving, you at least meet the federal requirements for windshield repair, which are enacted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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The federal requirements are surprisingly similar to the Texas state requirements (which means likely the Texas requirements are simply a restatement of the federal requirements). Essentially, there can be nothing blocking or impeding the field of view for drivers (including cracks, chips, objects, or materials) in what is referred to as the critical vision area.

What is the critical vision area? As shown in the graphic above, it is a square area that begins right above the steering wheel and extends to two inches from the top of the windshield and one inch from the driver’s side of the vehicle.

What will my insurance cover if I need a windshield repair or replacement in Texas?

There are no specific requirements for insurance companies to include windshield repair or replacement in your coverage in Texas. However, this is something you can request to be included in your policy if you have comprehensive auto insurance coverage (we’ll discuss this in greater detail later).

Does Texas have free windshield replacement? Insurance companies are not required to offer you zero-deductible repairs to cover a cracked windshield repair or to replace it, either. However, you can request this (though it may mean your rates are higher, to compensate). If you do end up with damage to your windshield, you can call your insurance company to file a claim against your comprehensive coverage.

They will take a statement regarding what happened to cause damage, and then they will ask you if you have a glass company you prefer or if they can recommend one for you. Not all states allow you to decide on your repair shop, so this is a benefit in Texas. They may, however, have a company they prefer to work with, such as Safelite, which is a major glass repair company. Using this company may speed up your windshield insurance claim.

Regarding the actual replacement, your insurance company is not required to cover the cost of the original manufacturer parts. Instead, they can limit their coverage to aftermarket or used parts, as long as the quality is acceptable.

After you’ve decided on the company, a repair is scheduled, and depending on the repair service offered, you may have to take your vehicle to them (this is more common in the case of chips), or they may agree to come to your home to complete the repair (this is particularly useful in the event that your windshield needs to be replaced because the damage is affecting your visibility when you get behind the wheel).

If your coverage includes $0 deductible liability, you pay nothing for the service. If you have a deductible to meet, you’ll be required to pay for that portion of the cost.

Once the repair or replacement is completed, you’re back in business. It is important to know that if you don’t have comprehensive insurance, you’re paying for the entire repair yourself, regardless of any other coverage you may have on the vehicle.

How do I know if my windshield damage needs repair in Texas?

As we noted above, the only time you’re actually required to get your windshield repaired or replaced is if the damage impairs the visibility of the driver. However, for safety reasons, it may be worth considering repairing or replacing your windshield before you reach the point at which it is required.

This is especially true for chip repair. Why? Because chips often become cracks, and that can mean you’re required to repair or replace your windshield. If you keep up with chip repair, rather than ignoring it because the law doesn’t require the repair, you can actually improve the longevity of your windshield and delay the need for a replacement longer.

What happens if a truck on the highway is responsible for the damage to my windshield?

If you’re on the road, and you’re able to confirm that a rock or other object fell off the back of a large truck and hit your windshield, damaging it, does this mean you’re still responsible for the repair? Or can you expect the trucking company to cover the cost of the damages?

Technically, if you can prove that the material that damaged your vehicle came from a large truck, you can pursue having the trucking company pay for the damage. However, it’s not necessarily as simple as it may sound.

Filing a claim or lawsuit to get the trucking company to pay for the damages to your windshield is complicated, and it may be simpler to file a claim with your own insurance company instead.

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Texas Auto Insurance Laws

So now that you know the when, where, and why of windshield repairs and replacements in Texas, exactly what kind of coverage do you need for glass coverage in Texas? Is this coverage automatically included in your insurance policy? How much might you expect to pay for this kind of coverage?

We’ll take a few minutes to go over the auto insurance basics for Texas drivers, the kind of policies you can purchase that may include glass coverage, and more. Read on to find out what you need to know for insurance coverage that includes windshield repair or replacement.

What are the minimum auto insurance requirements in Texas?

If you drive in Texas, you must have auto insurance. If you’re not a resident, and are just driving through the state, you’ll still need insurance, but you’ll need to meet the minimum auto insurance coverage standards set by the state in which you reside.

If you are a resident of the Lone Star State, you’ll definitely need to meet minimum Texas auto insurance requirements. If you don’t, you risk being fined and possibly sent to jail if you are caught more than once driving without insurance.

The minimum coverage required by the state is simple to obtain. All auto insurance companies are required by law to quote you for at least the minimum liability coverage requirement for the state.

So what is liability coverage?

Now that you know what liability coverage is, how much do you need in Texas? Take a look at this table to find out.

Texas Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Coverage
Required Coverage in TXMinimum Auto Insurance Limits in TX
Bodily Injury$30,000 per person
$60,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability$25,000 per accident
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This minimum liability coverage is required to protect you and anyone else people involved in an accident with you. Even minor accidents are expensive to repair, and they’re made even more expensive if there are any medical issues or injuries caused by accident. The cost for a fender bender might seem minimal until there are medical bills in need of payment and a potential personal injury lawsuit filed against the driver. The state is looking to protect you.

But does this coverage include windshield repairs? Unfortunately no. You’ll need additional coverage, beyond minim liability, in order to be able to qualify for coverage on your windshield repair.

What kind of policy do I need to be able to have Texas glass repair coverage?

As we briefly discussed earlier, you’ll need comprehensive insurance coverage in order to be able to file a claim with your insurance for windshield repair or replacement. But what does this mean exactly? Take a look at this video to learn what you’ll get with basic comprehensive coverage.

As we also described earlier, in Texas, there are no laws requiring insurance companies to include a zero-deductible option for glass repair or replacement. However, if your insurer does not choose to offer a zero-deductible option, you can speak to a licensed insurance agent about the possibility of your plan being modified to include this (though you may end up paying higher rates, if this is not already an offered option through your insurance).

It’s also important to note that you specifically need comprehensive coverage for glass repair. If you have collision coverage, but not comprehensive, you won’t be able to file a claim with your insurance for the cost of replacement or repair. Instead, you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket.

So how much does comprehensive coverage cost in Texas? The rates you’ll pay will vary based on a number of factors, including your credit score, driving history, age, residence, and other personal details specific to you and your lifestyle. However, as an example, we’ve listed the average rates for comprehensive coverage in Texas across a three-year time span in the below table.

Average Cost of Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage in Texas
201320142015
$186.11$192.33$206.42
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It’s important to note that the numbers above only reflect the average cost of comprehensive coverage in Texas. This means your rates will be higher than the average above because they will include other coverage (like minimum liability), as well as reflect the personal factors we noted previously.

What can I do to lower my Texas car insurance rates?

Since you now know that minimum liability coverage is required in Texas, and if you want coverage for your windshield, should you find yourself needing a repair or replacement, you’re required to carry comprehensive coverage as well, what are some ways to lower your rates?

As we mentioned above, there are a number of personal factors, some of which you can change and others you cannot, that will affect how your rates are adjusted. Ultimately, all of the factors insurance companies use to adjust your rates are based on risk, so for those factors that you can change or manage, the goal is to lower your perceived risk.

First, the factors you can’t immediately change. Your age (and sometimes gender) can have an effect on your insurance rates. In general, the younger you are, the higher your rates will be. Additionally, your marital status can mean different rates. Married people are usually perceived as more responsible, and so sometimes see lower insurance rates as a result.

Your place of residence (typically based on your ZIP code) can also have an effect on your rates. Safer areas with lower crime and accident rates usually mean lower rates than areas with higher crime and accident rates.

Other factors, which you can manage, include your credit score and driving history. The safer you drive, the better your rates will be, because if you’re a safe driver, you’re a lower risk to insure. Additionally, the better your credit score, the more responsible you appear to be, which can also mean better rates.

In addition to mitigating the perceived risk factors insurance companies consider when adjusting your rates, you can also find out if you’re eligible for some discounts. In the below table, we’ve listed the primary discounts insurers can offer to their insureds.

Auto Insurance Discounts
Vehicle DiscountsDriver/Customer DiscountsPersonal Discounts
Active Disabling DeviceClaim FreeEmergency Deployment
Adaptive Cruise ControlContinuous CoverageFamily Legacy
Adaptive HeadlightsDefensive DriverFamily Plan
Anti-lock BrakesDriver's EducationFederal Employee
Audible AlarmDriving Device/AppFurther Education
Automatic BrakingEarly SigningGood Student
Blind Spot WarningFull PaymentHomeowner
Daytime Running LightsGood CreditLife Insurance
Economy VehicleLoyaltyMarried
Electronic Stability ControlMultiple PoliciesMembership/Group
Farm/Ranch VehicleMultiple VehiclesMilitary
Forward Collision WarningNew Customer/New PlanNew Address
Garaging/StoringOccasional OperatorNew Graduate
Green/Hyrbid VehicleOnline ShopperNon-smoker/Non-drinker
Lane Departure WarningOn-Time PaymentsOccupation
Newer VehiclePaperless/Auto BillingRecent Retirees
Passive RestraintPaperless DocumentsStable Residence
Utility VehicleRoadside AssistanceStudent Away
Vehicle RecoverySafe DriverStudent or Alumni
VIN EtchingSeat Belt UseVolunteer
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Speak with a licensed insurance agent to find out if you qualify for any of these discounts.

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The Bottom Line: Glass Coverage Laws in Texas

If you live in Texas, you’re only required by law to repair or replace your windshield when the damage affects your ability as the driver to see through your windshield, or the damage is affecting the shape of the glass itself.

The bottom line for your insurance is:

  • To be able to file a claim for glass repair, you must have comprehensive insurance coverage
  • Insurance companies are not required to offer glass repair with a zero-deductible in the state, though you can speak to your insurance agent about your plan being modified to accommodate this
  • You can choose the repair shop that handles your glass repair
  • Your insurance company is not required by the state to cover the cost of original manufacturer parts; both aftermarket and used parts are acceptable

Frequently Asked Questions: Texas Glass Insurance Laws

We’ve covered the basics when it comes to auto glass coverage in Texas, but we know you may still have questions. Read through the following frequently asked questions to find out more information.

#1 – Can I tint my vehicle’s windows in Texas?

The short answer is yes you can tint your windows in Texas. However, there are specific requirements for how much and what kind of tinting is permitted in the state. We’ve summarized the laws for window tinting in Texas in this table. Take a look.

Texas Auto Window-Tinting Laws
 WindshieldFront Side WindowsBack Side WindowsRear Window
Sedans25% visible light transmission (VLT) permitted above AS-1line/top 5 inches; less than 25% reflectionMust allow at least 26% of light in; no more than 25% reflectiveAny darkness permitted; no more than 25% reflectiveAny darkness permitted w/side outside mirrors; 25% VLT with no side outside mirrors
SUVs/Vans25% visible light transmission (VLT) permitted above AS-1line/top 5 inches; less than 25% reflectionMust allow at least 26% of light in; no more than 25% reflectiveAny darkness permitted; no more than 25% reflectiveAny darkness permitted w/side outside mirrors; 25% VLT with no side outside mirrors
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In addition to what is specified in the table, there are some other requirements of which you should be aware of. Any vehicle with window tinting on the rear window is required to have dual side mirrors. While window tinting comes in a variety of colors, in Texas, red, blue, and amber are prohibited tint colors.

When you purchase window tinting, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing so from a reputable seller, because state law requires all tint film to be certified. To prove the film is certified, a sticker indicating this must be attached to the window on the driver’s side window, between the film and the glass.

#2 – What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?

As we noted earlier, comprehensive and collision coverage are two different things. And only one (comprehensive) will offer you coverage for glass repair or replacement. But other than glass coverage, what exactly is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?

At a high level, collision coverage is exactly what it sounds like. It provides coverage when you’re in a collision or accident of some kind with another vehicle or object (like a tree, curb, etc.).

By contrast, comprehensive coverage offers protection when your vehicle is damaged in something other than a car accident (in some places, it is actually referred to as “other than collision”). This includes damages from weather, fire, vandalism, etc. as well as theft and other non-collision related damages.

For more detailed information on the differences between comprehensive and collision coverage, read on.

#3 – Can I get a ticket, even if my windshield damage doesn’t break the visibility law?

If the damage to your windshield appears to impair the visibility on the driver’s side of your vehicle, you can be ticketed, though if you repair the damage before your court date, you may be able to get the ticket dismissed.

If your windshield is damaged but does not appear to impeded visibility on the driver’s side of the vehicle and does not affect the shape of the glass in any way, the likelihood of your getting a ticket for the damage to the windshield ticketing is quite low. However, being stopped for the windshield damage and possibility being ticketed is at the discretion of law enforcement.

#4 – Is a windshield required in Texas?

Ironically, there’s no law that specifically requires you to have a windshield in Texas, although there are laws that apply to the windshield, assuming you have one.

#5 – What states offer full glass coverage?

Arizona, Florida, and Kentucky windshield replacement law require full glass coverage, as do Massachusetts and South Carolina. They are all Zero-deductible states that require glass replacement to be covered in full.

Now that you know the laws for glass repair or replacement in Texas, let us know what you think. Did this provide the information you were looking for? Comment below. And before you go, take a moment to see how much you can save on auto insurance that includes glass coverage. Just enter your ZIP code below for a free quote on full windshield replacement in Texas.

References:

  1. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/a77/easy-windshield-repair/
  2. http://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/cb020.html
  3. https://business.gasbuddy.com/blog-synchrony-car-care/
  4. https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/windshield-laws-in-texas-by-valerie-mellema
  5. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings
  6. https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-features/2012/07/02/253290.htm