Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Broken Windows?

The cost of repairing and replacing a broken window can be surprisingly high. Depending upon the amount of damage sustained by the window's glass, frame and surrounding structure, the total cost of a broken window can easily exceed $500. If the window shatters into the house, the cost of cleaning up the affected carpeting, floors and furniture could be even higher. Obviously, any injuries associated with the broken glass will magnify the broken window's costs by an order of magnitude. If one of the windows in your home has broken in the recent past, you'll need to ask several questions of yourself and your homeowner's insurance provider. The answers to these questions will determine whether your window's cleanup and repair costs will be covered by your policy.

For starters, the circumstances under which the window in question breaks are important. Virtually all homeowner's insurance policies cover certain "acts of God" like storm-related wind damage, flying debris and other unforeseeable occurrences. Most also cover random human-generated incidents: For instance, if an out-of-control vehicle drives through the first floor of your home and breaks your window, you won't have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket.

On the other hand, windows that break due to your own negligence probably won't be covered by your insurance policy. If you fail to cull a tree limb that strays too close to your window, you'll be held liable for the damage that it causes. Likewise, your provider will refuse to cover cleanup and repair costs on any window that's broken from the inside of your home.

Windows tend to break more often in neighborhoods that feature high concentrations of rental properties. This is because such neighborhoods are typically located near college campuses, nightlife destinations and other areas with relatively high rates of property crime. In fact, broken windows are often caused by drunken vandals or disputants who become violent or agitated.

If the window in the home that you rent has been broken under such circumstances, you'll need to speak with your landlord to determine the appropriate course of action. Since many rental-owner's insurance policies don't cover the cost of non-structural repairs, your landlord's insurance company could deny his or her claim on the property. If this happens, he or she may ask you to cover the cost of your broken window. If you deem this request to be unfair, you may need to bring a small-claims court case against your landlord or withhold rent payments until the situation has been resolved.

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