Unexpectedly finding a broken window in your vehicle isn't just disheartening — it's downright inconvenient, frustrating, and for some people, anxiety-inducing. At Only 1 Auto Glass, we know dealing with a broken vehicle window can feel stressful and overwhelming, but don't panic. If you have comprehensive insurance, your policy can help cover the cost of auto glass replacement.


If your vehicle ever becomes a victim of vandalism or a break-in, here’s what you’ll need to do to safely handle the situation and get your damaged auto glass replaced.

Call the Police

If it’s obvious that someone broke into your vehicle, don’t clean up any broken glass until you’ve called the police and filed a report. Look through your vehicle to see if anything was stolen, so you can detail that information in your police report.


Even if it looks like a case of vandalism, you should still call the police because the incident could be just one in a broader string of crimes. Reporting your case could help the police identify and apprehend the guilty party eventually.


More importantly, if you want your insurance to help pay for the replacement window, your insurance company will need a police report to process your claim.

Document the Damage

In addition to filing a police report, you’ll also want to thoroughly document the damage yourself. Before you clean anything up, take several photos, as your insurance company will need them for your claim. 


If anything was stolen, make sure to document that too. While most auto insurance policies don’t reimburse for theft of property inside your vehicle, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may reimburse you for those losses, depending on the policy.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once you have a police report and proof of the damage, it’s time to file an insurance claim if you want your insurance to help pay for auto glass replacement. Most auto insurance companies allow you to file by phone or online, so do what works for you. If you want reimbursement for anything stolen from your vehicle, contact your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance company to see if you can get it.


When you file, your insurance company may suggest specific auto glass companies where they’d like you to get quotes. While you can certainly heed their suggestions, by law, you’re free to go to any shop of your choice. If you don’t already know, check out what to look for in a quality auto glass repair shop.


If you choose to get the damaged window replaced immediately and pay for it out of pocket, you can also submit a claim for reimbursement after the fact.  

Safely Remove Broken Glass

If your vehicle is parked in a parking lot, be sure to notify someone inside the nearest building who can clean up any broken glass on the pavement. You’ll also need to carefully remove any broken glass from your driver’s seat, so you can safely drive home or to a nearby auto glass repair shop.


If you have the option, consider contacting a mobile auto glass repair company. If they happen to have an opening in their schedule, a technician can meet you at the scene and take care of the broken window right away.


If a mobile repair isn’t in the cards, head home and use a high-powered vacuum to clean the interior of your vehicle. When you take your vehicle in for auto glass replacement, the technicians will likely vacuum it again to ensure every last shard of glass is gone. If you don’t have a shop vac and can’t do a super-thorough job, the pros will take care of the rest.  

Protect Your Window Opening

If you can’t get your auto glass replaced immediately, you’ll need to cover the window opening to protect yourself while driving. Here’s how to do that.

Remove Remaining Glass From the Frame

You’ll want to wear a pair of thick work gloves to protect your hands from stray glass shards. Even if you think you cleaned everything up, there may still be tiny shards you can’t see. If they lodge in your skin while you’re working, they can be painful and tough to get out.


After donning some heavy-duty gloves, carefully break away any glass shards still attached to the window frame and dispose of them safely. Then use a vacuum to remove any stray pieces of glass from the window frame and from within the window seal.

Clean and Prep the Window Frame

Use a damp cloth to clean around the window frame. Be sure to remove all dirt and dust so you can securely attach a plastic window covering. Tape won’t adhere to the frame of your vehicle if it’s dirty or oily.

Cover the Window With Plastic

Starting from the inside, cover the window opening with a transparent or translucent piece of plastic. Make sure to stretch the plastic taught before securing it to the window with several long pieces of masking tape. Avoid using other types of tape, as the adhesive can damage your vehicle’s paint. After securing plastic to the interior of the window, tape a second layer of plastic to the exterior, too.


Keep in mind that a plastic covering is meant to be a short-term solution only. You should never drive with plastic on your window for longer than a day or two as it’s a safety hazard and can prevent you from seeing what’s happening on the road around you.

Only 1 Auto Glass: Your Twin Cities Auto Glass Repair Specialists

At Only 1 Auto Glass, we know finding a broken car window is disheartening and incredibly inconvenient. That’s why we provide both mobile and in-shop service to make your auto glass repair or replacement experience as simple and painless as possible. And, with over 15 locations throughout the Twin Cities metro, no matter where you are, we’re just a short drive away.


To learn more about our auto glass repair services or to schedule your appointment, call our team at 651-789-1111, or feel free to message us on our contact page. You can also request a free estimate online, and we’ll get in touch promptly with more information.