Who Is Responsible For A Windshield Crack On A Rental Car?


Renting a car these days involves a lot of optional fees. While there’s no doubt that some of those fees are completely unnecessary, others might be crucial for protecting you and your wallet. For instance, if the rental car’s windshield cracks, who’s responsible for it?

The person responsible for a rental car’s cracked windshield depends on the agreements you signed up for. For example, the rental company might pay for the repairs if you’ve paid extra for that protection. On the other hand, you can also transfer that risk to a third-party car rental insurance company, your auto insurance provider, or your credit card company.

This guide will help you understand the different parties responsible for a cracked windshield on a rental car. Then, you’ll learn what to do if you ever experience a cracked windshield and what you can do to protect yourself when first collecting the car.

Who Pays For A Cracked Windshield On A Rental Car?

When your rental car suffers a cracked windshield, someone will have to pay to repair it. Unfortunately, that ‘someone’ is not the same in all cases and depends on two things.

Firstly, it depends on the terms of the rental agreement that you signed. That agreement specifies who will be responsible for any damages the vehicle suffers while it’s under your care.

Secondly, it also depends on the kinds of insurance coverage that you might already have.

So, who is ultimately responsible for the cracked windshield on your rental car? Here are the possible answers:

1. The Rental Car Company

When you get a car from a rental company, they’ll offer you all sorts of protections and waivers. One of the most common examples is the loss-damage waiver and many others.

Each rental company will have their own offerings regarding protections and waivers, but they all generally work the same. Basically, you pay an upfront fee that ensures you don’t have to pay for repairs if your rental car suffers from damage, like a cracked windshield.

So,  suppose you pay to protect the vehicle’s windscreen, and it suffers a crack while you’re driving. In that case, the rental car company is responsible for fixing that crack and paying for it.

You will not be responsible for fixing or paying to fix the crack on that windshield.

Read: How To Make Windshield Wipers Stop Squeaking?

2. Your Rental Car Insurance Provider

Car renters like yourself also have the option of getting insurance from a third-party provider. In other words, you can get insurance coverage for your rental car from a provider that has nothing to do with the rental car company directly.

If that is the case for you, that means the responsibility for the windshield crack is on the third-party insurance provider. Of course, that ultimately depends on the terms and conditions of that insurance policy.

Remember: all insurance policies are somewhat customizable. When it comes to auto insurance specifically, protecting the windshield is an optional add-on that increases your costs if you want it included.

Therefore, the third-party insurance provider is responsible for the cracked windshield on your rental car.

Read: How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Windshield Without Insurance?

3. Your Personal Auto Insurance Provider

Anyone who owns a personal vehicle will have an auto insurance policy for that car. That’s just a legal requirement for all vehicles on the road.

As you read earlier, those policies can be customized with plenty of different add-ons to suit your needs.

Your auto insurance provider might not only protect your personal vehicle, but they might also extend that protection to any car that you rent. That also includes any windshield insurance coverage that you have chosen to include in the policy.

If that’s the case for you, then your personal auto insurance provider is responsible for the windshield crack on your rental car.

Again, all of this depends on the terms of the insurance policy that you’ve agreed to with the insurance provider.

Read: Why Won’t My Windshield Washer Fluid Come Out?

4. Your Credit Card Company

Believe it or not, there’s also a possibility that your credit card company might be responsible for the windshield crack on your rental car.

Credit card companies offer their customers plenty of perks to encourage them to use their credit facilities. Some also provide insurance coverage for rental cars paid for with the card they’ve given you.

If that’s the case, you can swipe that card to pay for repairs to the windscreen. Then, the credit card company will reimburse you for that expense.

Not all credit cards provide this benefit, so you might want to see if yours does. Even if it doesn’t, that perk is worth knowing for when you choose your next credit card, especially if you plan on renting a car in the future.

Read: Why Car Windows Fog Up?

5. You Have To Pay Out Of Pocket

Unfortunately, if you do not have any of the protections detailed above in numbers 1-4 above, then you are the person ultimately responsible for the windshield crack on your rental car.

That means you’ll have to get it repaired at your own cost or pay a fee to the rental company so they can get it fixed.

What Do You Do If Your Rental Car’s Windshield Is Cracked?

Suppose you’re driving, and a rock comes flying at your rental car’s windshield. Or, perhaps it was damaged in some other way.

Whatever the case might be, here’s what you must do:

  • Firstly, document the damage. Take pictures of the damage and make note of the circumstances that caused that damage to happen.
  • Secondly, contact the car rental company straight away. As tempting as it might be sometimes, do not delay informing the rental car company.
  • Lastly, have a clear and open discussion with the car rental company. They’ll advise you on what to do next (e.g. take the car to one of their offices to be assessed or fixed). Plus, you can also ask questions to clarify the terms of your rental car agreement and determine who’s responsible for the cracked windshield.

As you can see, the most important part of your response is clear and honest communication with the rental car company. That way, you and the rental car company can come to an agreement on how to solve the issue best.

Read: How Much Is an Inspection for a Car?

What To Check When You First Get Your Rental Car?

One of the most important parts of renting a car is when you go to collect it from the company. When you go to collect the vehicle, don’t be in a rush just to drive off immediately.

Instead, start by reviewing the terms of the rental agreement. That includes asking as many questions as you need to clarify those terms, so you understand them clearly.

Next, inspect the rental car for any existing damage. After all, you don’t want to be blamed for windshield cracks that were already there before you picked the car up.

Lastly, let the company know of any damage you find. They should replace the vehicle or acknowledge the damage in black and white, so you don’t get blamed for it later.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s important to remember that cracked windshields and other kinds of damage are always possible. That’s especially true if you’re driving a rental car in an unfamiliar city away from your hometown.

As such, you should always ensure that your rental car has some sort of protection. When it comes to a possible cracked windshield, you can transfer that risk to several other parties. 

That includes the rental company itself (by paying for that protection), a third-party car rental insurance company, or your personal auto insurance provider.

Also, don’t forget to check the terms of your credit card. It’s possible they’ve offered you the same protection all along, but you weren’t aware of it.

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