Insurance Guide: How AZ Insurance Works, Plus Arizona Windshield Laws
This guide explains the different vehicle insurance types in our state, plus the different federal and state regulations related to vehicle glass.
Many of our customers have questions about how exactly insurance works here, or questions about what kinds of glass issues police are on the lookout for. Our goal with putting this guide together was to make one reference we could refer our customers and website visitors to so they can learn about our laws and how vehicle insurance works here.
Vehicle Insurance Types & Coverages
There are 3 different levels of glass coverage available on vehicle insurance policies in our state:
- Full Glass Coverage (also called Full Safety Equipment Coverage)
- Comprehensive Glass Coverage
- No Glass Coverage
Full Glass Coverage (No Deductible)
Full glass coverage means that damage to any glass on the entire vehicle will be covered through insurance with zero deductible. In addition to the glass itself, this coverage also includes installation materials and labor. Basically, when damaged glass is fixed under full glass coverage the customer pays zero out of pocket for the entire job.
All vehicle insurance providers operating in our state are required to offer full glass coverage as an option to their customers, so it is extremely common on vehicle insurance policies. It is particularly common on newer or luxury vehicles. In fact, many drivers have full glass coverage without even knowing it!
Comprehensive Glass Coverage (Deductible)
Comprehensive glass coverage means that damage to any glass on the entire vehicle will be covered through insurance, but the customer (or the company performing the work) will be responsible for a deductible. Deductibles vary from policy to policy, but they are generally between $50 and $1000.
After the deductible is paid, comprehensive glass coverage will cover the entire cost of fixing any damaged glass, including labor and all related installation materials. Note that the deductible can be paid by either the customer or the glass company.
Comprehensive glass coverage is also common on state insurance policies. In fact, the majority of our customers have either full or comprehensive coverage.
No Glass Coverage
As the name implies, vehicle insurance policies with no glass coverage do not include any coverage for damaged glass. This means the customer will be responsible for all costs out of their own pocket, including the glass itself, any related installation materials, and labor.
A lot of our customers with insurance coverage are concerned that using their insurance to pay for their glass will cause their car insurance rates to increase.
Here are some important rights for customers with insurance coverage in our state:
1. Customer has the right to choose who performs the work on their vehicle.
Many insurance agents have pocket relationships with 1 or more shops here in town. This means they try to refer their customers to those shops if possible, in exchange for money, referrals back, or other legal (and sometimes illegal) kickbacks.
While you can certainly take a referral from your insurance agent for a shop they recommend, it is your right to choose whichever shop you would like to service your glass.
2. If customer uses insurance to fix their glass according to the details of their policy, the insurer cannot raise their rates.
Some insurance policies limit the number of new glass they will cover each year. As long as the customer is abiding by the rules of the policy, their insurance rates should not increase.
There are two types of glass regulations and guidelines:
- Federal regulations that apply nationwide
- State regulations that vary by state
Federal regulations are set by the United States Department of Transportation and establish minimum vehicle requirements. Each state is responsible to enforce the federal guidelines, and they can also expand on them with their own laws if desired.
Federal regulations are as follows:
1. Windshields may not have damage or discoloration to the center in front of the driver.
The "center of the windshield" is formally defined as the space above the steering wheel, extending all the way to within 2" of the top and 1" from each side.
2. 1 crack is acceptable if it extends into the center area, but more than 1 crack or a crack connected to spidering, chips or other damage is not.
Requirements & Exceptions
Our state has its own laws which expand on federal regulations and apply to all motor vehicles operating in the state.
1. All motor vehicles are required to have an "adequate" windshield.
2. Windshields must be made of safety glass, which is glass that is designed and/or manufactured to prevent shattering and flying pieces when struck or broken.
Exceptions by Vehicle Type & Age
1. The following vehicles are considered exceptions and do not need a windshield:
- Motorcycles, ATVs and golf cars manufactured before June 17, 1998.
- Antique vehicles not originally equipped with one. For instance, horseless carriage-type vehicles made around the turn of the century.
2. Golf cars are not required to have a windshield made of safety glass (due to their normal slow operating speeds when operated on golf courses).
Equipment Requirements & Guidelines
- Are required for every vehicle type with a windshield except golf carts.
- Must be driver-controllable.
- Must be able to remove all types of moisture that can accumulate on a windshield, including rain, snow, hail, etc.
2. Windshield tint is allowed within the following guidelines:
- The tint needs to be non-reflective.
- It cannot be applied past the manufacturer's AS-1 line.
- Cannot be red (no red tint is allowed on any vehicle windows).
3. Stickers are allowed provided they do not obstruct the driver's field of vision.
Exceptions to these guidelines can be made for personal safety and health reasons. For instance, people who medically need tint on all their windows to minimize sun exposure while driving can request a formal exception.
Violations & Officer Discretion
1. Drivers in violation of federal and/or state guidelines can be stopped by police offers and issued citations and accompanying fines.
2. Each county in the state can determine the amounts for different violations.
3. Since state law does not specifically define an "adequate windshield", specific violations and their fines are issued according to the officer's discretion.
The information on this page is presented as guidelines and general information only. Insurance policy coverage varies from provider to provider and customer to customer. For specific questions about your vehicle's glass damage and service options, please contact us today. We will be happy to determine your insurance coverage details and walk you through the different options to properly fix your glass.