Arizona Windshield Law: Is Your Cracked Windshield Illegal?

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This guide explains the different levels of glass coverage on auto insurance policies in Arizona, plus the different federal and Arizona laws related to auto glass.

Many of our customers have questions about how exactly auto glass insurance works here in Arizona, or questions about what kinds of glass issues police are on the lookout for.

Our goal in putting this guide together was to make one complete resource we can refer our customers and website visitors to so they can learn about Arizona windshield laws and how auto insurance works here.

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If you have additional questions about windshield laws or insurance coverage here in Arizona, please call us at 480-907-3982 or email us using the form on our Contact Us page and we will be happy to help you!

Arizona Auto Glass Insurance Types & Coverages

Crash between two cars

There are 3 different levels of auto glass coverage available on auto insurance policies in Arizona:

  • 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 any damaged glass is fixed under full glass coverage the customer pays zero out of pocket for the entire job.

All auto insurance providers operating in Arizona are required to offer full glass coverage as an option to their customers, so it is very common on auto insurance policies. It is particularly common on newer or luxury vehicles, so almost all of our customers in our Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Carefree and Cave Creek have this kind of insurance coverage.

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 Arizona insurance policies. In fact, the majority of our customers have either full or comprehensive coverage. This is the most common level of glass coverage we see in southeast and southwest Valley cities like Chandler and El Mirage.

No Glass Coverage

As the name implies, auto 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.

Arizona Auto Glass Insurance Rights

Judge's gavel

Many 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 Arizona:

1. A 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 here in Greater Phoenix. 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 a 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.

Federal Windshield Laws

Federal capitol building with American flag

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 for enforcing 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 of the glass 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.

Arizona Windshield Laws

Arizona capitol building

Arizona has its own laws which expand on federal regulations and apply to all motor vehicles operating in the state.

General Requirements

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 slow operating speeds when operated as designed on golf courses).

Equipment Requirements & Guidelines

1. Wipers:

  • 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.

Health Exceptions

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 in Arizona

Police car

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.

Disclaimer

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!

Resources

Official Sources

1. State Department of Insurance: Help With vehicle insurance > Miscellaneous Coverages > What coverage does full glass or safety equipment coverage provide?

2. U.S. Department of Transportation: Automobiles

3. State Legislature: 28-957. Windshield wipers required; golf cart exception

4. State Legislature: 28-957.01. Windshields required

5. State Legislature: 28-959.01. Materials on windows or windshield; exceptions; requirements; violation; definitions

6. State Department of Transportation: Windshield tint exemption

7. State Driver License Manual

Other Sources

1. CarWindshields.info - State-by-State Information

2. ICC Collision Center - What are the laws on Windshield Replacement?

3. Your Mechanic - Windshield Laws...

4. AAA Digest of Motor Laws - Windshield Stickers

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