The glass used in automobile windows is a special type of glass that is more costly because it is very different from home window glass. Auto glass replacement is a job done by professionals and that also adds cost
Auto glass does more than keep the bugs out.
Besides the obvious task of keeping passengers protected from the elements, auto glass shields us from harmful UV radiation and adds structural rigidity to the vehicle. This is especially true of the windshield which is the largest piece of glass in most cars. The windshield and surrounding frame also provide support to the roof of the car and helps prevent injury in roll over type accidents.
In the early years, auto glass was the same as was used in home windows, and there were many injuries as a result. In the early twenties, tempered glass came into use. Laminated glass, invented in France and introduced to automobiles by Henry Ford in 1919, has saved tens of thousands of lives. Laminated glass is the material used in all modern auto windshields.
Modern Automobile Glass.
The windshield is the most complex piece of glass in the vehicle. It is made of two layers of tempered glass sandwiched with a polycarbonate sheet between. This flexible, tough plastic layer gives the windshield strength and puncture resistance to shield passengers from road debris. It can also keep occupants from being ejected from the vehicle in an accident, and directs the deployment of the air bag to properly protect passengers. Tinting reduces glare, and some models even have heating elements for de-icing and contain the radio antenna.
Tempered Glass is used for the remaining glass areas in all modern vehicles. Tempering is a heat treating process that allows glass to be stronger so it does not shatter when a car door is slammed shut, or when you go over a bump. This process also allows glass to break in to many tiny pieces with less dangerous edges, rather than large dangerous pieces and razor sharp splinters.
You rarely have to wait more than a day to have broken auto glass or a cracked windshield repaired even though there are thousands of different models on the road. Making those many thousands of models, keeping them in inventory and delivering them in a timely manner adds to the complexity of auto glass replacement.
The cost of the glass is just part of the total.
Even the thought of removing a broken window is daunting. With windshields and rear windows, adhesives bond the glass to the car body and frame and specialized equipment is needed to avoid damage to the car structure. Side glass requires disassembly of the interior panels and window mechanisms. Not for the faint of heart.
There is good news!
Fortunately, there are many resources for auto glass repair. Some small chips can be repaired by the do-it-yourselfer and kits are available in auto parts stores or from on -line retailers for under $20. Note that this is an option only for rock chip repair if the damage is tiny, which is less than pea sized. Larger chips require professional service. While some general repair shops may offer glass repair and replacement service, this is a job best left to certified auto glass installers.
Typical costs range from as little as $50 for a simple windshield chip repair but windshield replacement cost usually ranges from $250-$350 and up with some luxury brands costing well over a thousand dollars. Side and rear windows start at about $200, and again-can escalate depending on the car model.
More Good news!! Most auto insurance will cover these repairs under the comprehensive coverage clause. Some carriers do not even charge the deductible for windshield repairs which is typically $100 to $300 dollars but this depends on how your policy is worded, so it is best to check with your company to determine costs. These repairs also do not usually cause an increase in your rates.
Your best course of action.
Have repairs done as soon as possible for safety reasons, and also get at least two estimates. You may discover a wide range of prices but do not just pick the lowest number. Make sure the provider is a certified auto glass installer and that they and offer a warranty against leaks and cracks which can happen with a poor installation.