Windows are one of the most fragile components of your home. Since they're located on the exterior of the building, they're at high risk of shattering from personal accidents, extreme weather, or determined burglars.
Was your home's window recently damaged?
You may be wondering if your homeowner's insurance coverage will reimburse you for a repair or replacement. Taking advantage of your policy could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. But like most insurance plans, the extent of your coverage isn't always clearcut.
Will your homeowner's insurance cover the cost to replace a window pane? Here's everything you need to know about determining coverage and filing a claim.
Do I Have Homeowner's Insurance Coverage?
Unless you've paid off your mortgage and have full ownership of your home, your lender probably requires some form of homeowner's insurance. But even though you have homeowner's insurance, that doesn't mean you'll be reimbursed for damaged windows.
Your homeowner's insurance plan states which types of perils it covers, whether that includes storms, burglary, vandalism, or more. The cause of the damage determines if you'll receive insurance coverage.
Let's say a powerful windstorm sends debris flying through your kitchen window. On an HO-1, HO-2, or HO-3 insurance policy, you could file a claim for the broken glass window. These plans all name "windstorms" as a covered peril.
But sometimes the distinction isn't so simple. An HO-2 homeowner's insurance policy covers falling objects. But what if you're the one who drops something through the window?
In that case, your insurance company would likely deny the claim. Personal accidents aren't covered.
You're also out of luck if window damage occurs because of aging or a lack of maintenance. For example, foggy double-glazed windows and poor heat retention indicate you should think about replacing your windows. While they may be covered under warranty, your homeowner's insurance policy won't help you.
Is the Deductible Worth the Cost to Replace a Window Pane?
Like any insurance policy, your homeowner's plan requires a deductible before it pays out. Deductibles vary between companies, policies, and even individuals. If you're not sure about your deductible, now's a good time to review the details of your coverage.
The average window replacement costs about $500. But if your deductible is $1,000 or more, you're out of luck. Your insurance company won't reimburse you for the window replacement since you won't meet the deductible.
But what if you're replacing three or more broken windows? The repairs could easily cost $1,500. In that case, you would pay your $1,000 deductible and the insurance company will cover the remaining $500.
Once you've paid your deductible, you likely won't have to worry about coverage limits. These often extend into hundreds of thousands of dollars, and replacing a few windows will hardly scratch the surface of this sum.
It's important to keep in mind that using your insurance company will result in higher premiums. If the deductible and replacement costs are close enough, you may save more in the long run by opting to repair the windows on your own dime. Otherwise, your higher premiums could cost more than the window reimbursement.
How to File a Homeowner's Insurance Claim
If your windows break during a storm or other environmental peril, stay safe until the threat passes. Broken windows caused by criminal activities such as vandalism or theft should be immediately reported to the police. Your insurance company will want the police report as proof.
Once you're in a safe environment and have called the police if necessary, contact the claims department of your insurance company. You can ask questions about your coverage and deductible options at this time.
The insurance professional will walk you through the claims process. This usually entails signing additional paperwork and scheduling a visit with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster will personally arrive at the home to investigate the extent of the damage and ask you about the event.
After starting the claim process with your homeowner's insurance company, collect personal evidence of the damage. You should then clean up any loose glass around your property and repair the windows to the best of your ability. This may be something as simple as cutting up a garbage bag and taping it over the broken window pane.
Are You Responsible for a Broken Glass Window?
Up until now, we've assumed the window in question belonged to you. But you should know that you're likely covered if you or a family member breaks a window belonging to someone else.
This falls under the liability coverage of your homeowner's insurance policy. It's not the end of the world if your child sends a baseball through the neighbor's window.
In fact, you don't even have to pay a deductible in the face of liability coverage. That doesn't mean it's free, however. You'll end up paying for it through raising premiums.
Like all types of insurance coverage, there are some exceptions. Personal liability is only relevant in case of an accident. You won't be covered in the event that someone purposely damages the neighbor's window.
Make Use of Your Homeowner's Insurance
A homeowner's insurance plan costs the average American about $100 every month. If you need to replace a window pane after a qualifying event, don't be afraid to file a claim. Saving a few thousand dollars on repairs is as easy as making a few phone calls.
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