If you’ve got a broken window on your home, you’re going to want it to be fixed quickly and affordably. The first place to turn for help might be your home insurance company. But does insurance cover broken windows?
The answer is: sometimes. A home insurance policy may cover broken windows, but when your coverage kicks in depends largely on what caused the damage. If your broken window was the result of a falling tree or a hailstorm, then you likely have coverage. But if your window breaks simply because it’s old or poorly maintained, then your home insurance most likely won’t help you pay for repairs.
When does insurance cover broken windows?
Broken windows can be caused by a variety of problems, from severe weather to simple wear and tear. The cause of your broken window is the biggest clue as to when and how your damage may be covered. As a rule of thumb, home insurance covers sudden, accidental damage while regular maintenance issues are not.
The biggest factor determining when insurance covers a broken window is how the window was damaged. The dwelling coverage in your home insurance policy protects your home’s structure from a variety of perils, or causes of loss.
So if your window is broken by a peril that’s covered by your home insurance, then your insurance company would most likely help pay for the necessary repairs.
You should note that what perils are covered isn’t the same on every policy. Home insurance can be written on either a named-peril or open-peril basis. A named-peril policy offers narrower protection because it lists specific perils that it covers. If your window breaks because of a peril listed in the policy, it’s covered.
Every policy is different, but most named-perils policies cover damage from the following causes of loss:
Fire and smoke
Windstorms and hail
Vandalism or malicious mischief
Damage from an aircraft or vehicle
Weight of ice, snow, or sleet; or water damage due to ice, snow, or sleet
Accidental water overflow or steam
Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of certain household systems
Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current
Other homeowners policies are written with open-perils coverage. Also called all-risk policies, they protect against any peril so long as it’s not specifically excluded. Standard exclusions can vary, but most all-risk policies don’t cover damage caused by perils like flood, war, intentional acts, earthquakes, and more.
Policies in some states – and sometimes in specific areas within a state – explicitly exclude windstorm damage from coverage as well. In other cases, wind damage might be covered but subject to either a hurricane deductible or a wind / hail deductible.
When doesn’t home insurance cover broken windows?
Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover all instances of sudden, accidental damage. For example, most policies don’t cover accidental breakage you cause to your own house. So if your child throws a ball through your home's window or you accidentally crack a window pane, you’re probably going to pay for that out of your own pocket.
What’s more, keep in mind that homeowners insurance doesn’t cover routine maintenance issues or wear and tear on your windows. It’s best to keep your windows in good shape to avoid any problems because if a window breaks because of poor maintenance, you’ll be paying to repair or replace it on your own.
How does home insurance cover broken windows?
Homeowners insurance policies typically include certain categories of coverage. Coverage for broken windows could fall under several coverage types, depending on how or where the damage occurs.
The first we’ve already discussed: your dwelling coverage. This kicks in for damage to windows that are part of your primary residence’s structure. However, if you have window damage on your garage or a shed, that claim falls under your other structures coverage.
But what happens if someone in your household accidentally breaks your neighbor’s window? In that case, you could be responsible for paying for the damage, and your homeowners liability coverage may help you with the costs.
How do deductibles work for broken windows?
Before any coverage for broken windows kicks in, you will likely have to pay a deductible.The deductible is the amount that you must pay toward a covered claim before your insurance company picks up the rest of the bill. You usually get to choose your deductible amount when you purchase a homeowners policy.
Keep in mind that if the cost of the window repair is less than your deductible, you won’t receive any reimbursement from your insurance company.
Your policy’s applicable coverage limits also apply. This means that your policy only pays for repairs up to the limit outlined in the policy for a particular type of loss.
Does a home warranty cover windows?
A home warranty is different from homeowners insurance. It offers some protection from unexpected expenses when a big-ticket item unexpectedly malfunctions or needs to be replaced.
Home warranties often cover service, repair, or replacement of major home systems (e.g., electrical, heating, and plumbing) and appliances (e.g., air conditioners, dishwashers, and refrigerators). They typically do not offer any type of coverage for structural parts of your home, like the windows.
Does home insurance cover broken window seals?
Broken window seals are usually caused by normal wear and tear or poor maintenance, not by some kind of accidental or unexpected event like hail or vandalism. That’s why homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover broken window seals.
Does insurance cover window replacement?
Homeowners often undertake window replacement projects to update older windows for energy efficiency, appearance, or both. Again, unless a window needs to be swapped out because it’s broken by a covered peril, home insurance does not cover window replacement.
Avoid problems by maintaining your windows
The best way to avoid costly window problems that are not covered by homeowners insurance is to properly maintain your windows. According to Angi.com, you can extend the life of your windows with these tips:
Regularly clean and lubricate the window tracks
Regularly clean window panes on the inside and out
Quickly repaint chipping wood frames
Regularly dust vinyl windows to maintain the finish
Clean window screens annually
Caulk and weatherstrip your windows to fill any holes or seams that emerge
Repair any damage as soon as it’s spotted
Take the experts’ advice. Regular window care can go a long way toward saving you big money in the future. Check out our ultimate guide to home maintenance for more ideas.