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A Rock Hits My Windshield – So Who Pays For the Repair?

By May 3, 2017May 21st, 2020Insurance

Rock hit your windshield

When you’re driving down the road and a vehicle in front of you kicks up a rock or other debris, do they have to pay for the damage to your vehicle?

Rocks and other types of road debris break windshields, damage vehicles and injure people every day. An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports over a period of four years road debris caused over 200,000 accidents resulting in 500 deaths and 39,000 injuries, with 2/3 of the accidents caused by debris falling off vehicles and 1/3 of accidents caused by debris kicked up from the road.

  • When another vehicle kicks up debris, the driver isn’t at fault – for example, if the truck in front of you drives over a rock and it hits your windshield, they’re not responsible for the damage.
  • When another vehicle drops debris (gravel, trash, tools etc.) it’s transporting the other driver is at fault – for example, if a contractor drops a ladder off their truck they’re responsible for the damage.

Since road debris and falling objects cause so many accidents, as precaution you should:

  • Follow other vehicles at a safe distance
  • Avoid vehicles with unsafe loads
  • If you can’t safely avoid road debris slow down to reduce impact – that may be safer than suddenly changing lanes at high speed and hitting something bigger while going faster
  • If your vehicle is damaged by road debris you don’t want to be in the position where you’re trying to chase down the responsible vehicle to get their plate number or company name so you can try to get them to pay for the damage. Not only is chasing after a vehicle dangerous, it’s difficult to prove the other vehicle caused the damage and therefore difficult to get them or their insurance company to pay for the damage.

​To reduce your financial loss from debris hitting your vehicle, purchase Comprehensive coverage (physical damage other than from a collision). Comprehensive coverage includes glass coverage, and in many States you have the option for no or a lower deductible for glass damage.