4 Things You Should Do When You Have A Broken Window

Posted on: 19 June 2015

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A broken residential or vehicle window can prove unsightly, uncomfortable and insecure, so it's important that you respond to this situation quickly and correctly. Here are four steps you need to embark on as soon as you see that damaged glass.

1. Clear Away the Debris

Glass shattered by a hailstone or baseball may have gone flying all over the room, so approach the scene of the accident with caution. Always wear shoes and heavy gloves when cleaning up shattered vehicle or residential glass. Sweep larger shards up with a broom, then go over the surface again with a vacuum cleaner to remove invisibly tiny shards. Test a cracked pane of glass by pressing on it lightly. If it doesn't give way easily, don't force the issue -- simply leave it in place and patch it up.

2. Patch with Care

While duck tape has a magical reputation for being the perfect tape for every application, it's not ideal for patching a window. This is especially true of vehicle windows because the adhesive can be devilishly hard to remove, and it may pull up your paint job in the process. Apply clear mailing tape for patching both residential glass and vehicle glass, applying the tape both the inside and outside surfaces of a crack. On vehicles, outline the frame with a layer of masking tape before applying the mailing tape. 

If your window is completely shattered, you may need to patch a large gaping hole instead of a small gap. The most secure way to do this is by creating an entire temporary window out of clear mailing tape, applying the tape in overlapping layers until you have a tough, solid, semi-translucent barrier. If you're in a hurry to get that hole covered, you can cut a large plastic trash bag to fit the frame and tape it along the edges for a quick fix.

3. Contact Your Insurance Company (but Not Necessarily to File a Claim)

Filing a home insurance claim for your shattered glass may seem like a no-brainer. Keep in mind, however, that your premiums may go up significantly depending on what state you're in. Texans experience no rate hike at all, while Minnesota premiums may jump by as much as 21 percent. Always ask your insurance company how a claim will affect your premium payments before you actually file. You may find that smaller claims aren't worth the bother, especially if they pay little or nothing above your deductible. 

Auto insurance coverage for a broken RV windshield or car window is subject to certain limitations. Glass breakage generally falls under comprehensive coverage, which only pays if the damage was caused by vandalism, fire/storm damage, or vehicle-animal collisions. Again, the amount you receive from your insurance company may be insignificant depending on your deductible amount.

4. Select the Right Window Glass Replacement

You'll probably find that you have a wide range of window glass replacement options to choose from. When confronted with these various alternatives, it's all too tempting to either purchase the cheapest product available or the exact same glass you had before -- but these choices aren't necessarily the wisest ones. That's why you have to understand and appreciate the differences between these products before you spend your money on them.

If you're replacing residential glass, take a moment to determine whether you have a single-pane or double-pane window. Single-pane windows cost less because they only have half the amount of glass in them, and because the overall structure is less complex. Double-pane windows contain an inner layer of inert gas that adds a significant amount of thermal insulation. This might be a good time to switch from a single-pane window to a double-pane window if you've been troubled by high energy bills or an uncomfortably warm room.

Individuals buying a new car or RV windshield must decide between dealer glass, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) glass, or aftermarket glass. Dealer glass is the exact same glass that came with the vehicle, but it's only available from the dealership. The OEM glass sold by auto glass shops generally boasts the same quality as dealer glass. Aftermarket glass is a low-cost alternative, but it may not fit perfectly or withstand impacts all that well. If your car is a rare, custom or antique model, you may have to go with aftermarket glass as the only available option.

Fixing a broken window or windshield quickly and cost effectively isn't difficult once you know how to go about it. Follow the proper procedures, acting on quotes from insurers and repair shops, and your home or vehicle will soon be as good as new -- or even better! Click this link for more information.