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Cracked windshieldYour windshield not only withstands everything from severe weather to debris that is kicked up by other vehicles, but it also ensures proper airbag deployment, keeps occupants inside the vehicle during crashes and increases roof strength during rollover accidents. When there is damage to the windshield, it can interfere with the driver’s line of vision and compromise other important safety functions, like the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS).

Policyholders often think repairs or replacements are an easy fix, but times have changed and new technologies have complicated the glass replacement process.

Windshields with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

ADAS systems operate using devices that work in tandem with computers, cameras, radar and light detection and ranging (LIDAR), a remote sensing method that measures the distance to a target through illumination. Some of these sensors are located in the front windshield. Most often, the ADAS technology that is mounted in a windshield includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning, collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control.

Not all vehicles come equipped with this technology but all U.S. manufactured vehicles are mandated to have autonomous emergency braking systems and forward collision warning systems by 2020. While your current vehicle may not have these systems, future new car purchases or leases will include them.

Glass repairs and replacements have become more difficult with ADAS systems. The sensors and accompanying equipment must be calibrated so the system operates properly. If a sensor shifts even just a millimeter, it can throw off the entire ADAS system and the driver may be unaware of the malfunction until an accident occurs.

When dealing with windshield damage on vehicles with ADAS systems, always follow these tips:

  • Keep records of your vehicle’s features. Each auto manufacturer has precise requirements for the glass in their vehicles. Keep records showing your vehicle identification number (VIN), a list of the ADAS features the vehicle has as well as the year, make and model. In a single year, a manufacturer could have as many as 20 possible windshields for a given make and model, so having this information helps repair shops determine how to accurately make your repair and recalibration.

  • Only allow properly trained professionals to make repairs. When selecting a glass repair company, understand that not every shop has certified technicians required to do the job correctly. Before scheduling the service, check to be sure the work will be done by a properly trained professional.

  • Be prepared to spend time getting it fixed. The certified technicians who are trained in ADAS repair and recalibration require time and specialized tools to properly complete the process, so plan on it taking longer than a traditional windshield.

When you have an older vehicle without an ADAS system in the front windshield, repairs may be easier but any windshield can be repaired if you get it fixed early enough.

When to Repair or Replace

When it comes to making the decision to repair or replace a broken windshield, use this quick guide to help determine the best course of action:

  • Glass repair is a permanent process that removes air from the break and fills it with a durable resin. The process bonds the glass to the resin, restores strength to the windshield, improves the break’s appearance, and prevents the break from spreading. 
  • Windshield repair helps retain the original manufacturer’s structural integrity of the glass.
  • During a repair, the windshield does not need to be removed as it would with a replacement, so the original factory seal of the glass will not be disturbed. 
  • According to industry experts, a factory or properly installed windshield is roughly 30% of the structural integrity of your vehicle and provides 70% of the structural integrity during rollover crashes. Because the seal remains intact with a windshield repair, this structural integrity is not compromised. 
  • A vehicle’s windshield is also a part of the safety restraint system (SRS), which acts as a backboard during the deployment of the passenger-side airbag. When a windshield is repaired, the factory seal remains intact to preserve this safety feature.
  • Windshield repair is an environmentally friendly option. Windshields are not easily or economically recyclable, so repairing the existing windshield is safer for the environment and less glass will be discarded into landfills. 
  • There are several limitations that would prevent the repair from taking place. Both the location and the condition of the damage are important considerations when deciding whether to repair or replace your windshield. 

Does Auto Insurance Cover Windshield Damage?

You can expect your auto insurance to cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle after physical damage. There are two types of physical damage coverage available: collision coverage and other than collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage caused by accidental collision or when your vehicle rolls over. To cover losses from glass breakage and other scenarios that don't involve collision or rollover, you'll want to have other than collision coverage as well.

If you ever have a glass claim, your Farm Bureau Insurance® agent or the Lynx Services Customer Representative, a third party administrator for Farm Bureau Insurance, can assist in determining which repair option to choose. To speak to a Customer Service Representative, call 1-800-799-7500 (and select option 3) or 1-888-340-6110, and if you do not already have one in mind, they can provide a list of recommended auto glass experts. After selecting a glass repair company, that shop will bill Farm Bureau Insurance for the repair or replacement.