April 15, 2023
It is bad enough to get stuck behind a slow truck on the long, one-lane sections of Highway 118. But far worse is when a fast truck without proper mud flaps, or sometimes just any vehicle with large tires, kicks up a rock and sends it into your windshield.
With recent rain eroding local roads, the danger presented by loose rocks has increased.
“Modern windshields, some with embedded electronics, can be expensive to replace,” said Rita Antolik, an insurance agent with State Farm Insurance in Ventura.
Comprehensive insurance covers windshield damage from environmental factors, such as road debris, while collision insurance covers damage where the insured is at fault. In both cases deductibles apply, and collision insurance claims can lead to higher premiums if the insured is at least 51% at fault, according to Antolik.
Similarly, Farmers Insurance covers environmental damage to windshields under comprehensive coverage, but for an additional small premium, motorists can obtain separate coverage just for windshields, eliminating deductibles.
Allstate Insurance takes a different approach. According to Insurance Panda, a website for insurance comparisons, Allstate applies comprehensive coverage deductible charges, generally ranging from $100 to $250, to windshield replacement due to environmental damage, but the company waives the deductible for windshield repairs.
In an unfortunate coincidence, Ventura resident Tasha Collins-Cary recently sustained windshield damage from a flying pebble and, soon after, her husband, Jason, had the same experience in his car. As Allstate customers, they had the choice of free repair or replacement with the deductible charge applied. She chose repair; he chose replacement.
Besides cost, two key factors determine whether repair is feasible, according to Robert Osorio, owner of Allied Auto Glass & Windshield in Simi Valley.
The size and the location of the hole are what matters,” he said.
For repairs, the hole should be smaller than a quarter, Osorio said. Since you’ll still see it, the hole should also be off to the side, or very high or low, so it isn’t a distraction. He charges $75 to fill such holes with a resin. His charges for windshield replacement range from $275 to thousands of dollars.
I recently had my own run-in with a tiny rock spun into my windshield by a speeding truck. As the truck changed lanes suddenly while passing in front of me, I heard the impact but did not even see the hole until a few seconds later, while the driver continued to accelerate and weave across lanes.
Fortunately, the hole was not even half the size of a dime. But cracks radiated out to the sides like a translucent spider. I decided to try a repair.
A car repair website advised me not to run the defroster, expose the windshield to hot or cold or allow water on the windshield until repair could be completed. The website noted repair kits are available at auto parts stores. That night, I picked up a Permatex windshield repair kit for $18.99 at AutoZone and the next day, I tried the repair.
Hoping windshield repair was just a simple matter of pouring something like glue onto the hole, I was a little disappointed when I found the instructions included 10 detailed steps plus an additional “finishing tip.” Wondering if I should have left the job to a professional, I pulled on dishwashing gloves to protect my skin from resin and adhesive chemicals meriting warning statements on the product packaging, moved my car to the recommended “well ventilated area” in shade and began work.
The repair kit was ingenious. It included an angled pedestal with a hollowed tube, along with a syringe to inject resin into the hole while holding it with vacuum pressure. The spider legs of the hole disappeared, and the seal over the hole hardened under a curing strip when I moved the car to the sunlight.
The windshield now has an imperfection, but the filled hole is out of my field of vision. When I notice it, I will feel glad I saved money and reduced waste.
David Goldstein, an environmental resource analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.