Replacement Windshields on Leased Cars

Replacing a Windshield on a Leased Car — What You Should Know

If your car is leased, you may be in for a nasty surprise if you repair or replace your windshield. Leasing companies will not take back a car with some windshield repairs.

BMW Financial Services will only accept a windshield with a crack that is no more than ¼” and which is located outside of the wiper span. If you have an unacceptable crack or aftermarket windshield, your leasing company will replace the windshield with the manufacturer’s windshield when the car is returned and charge you the full retail replacement cost which could be as much as $800 – $2,500.

The answer seems simple.  Make an insurance claim under your glass coverage and get a “new” replacement windshield. There are two  problems, 1) your insurance company and your leasing company have different definitions of what is a new windshield; 2) the wrong replacement windshield can can result in diminished value, devaluing your car if you plan to resell it.

Your leasing company may require a dealer windshield which has the manufacturer’s name on it or may accept an OEM windshield which is made to the same specifications. But your insurance company will send you to a company such as Safelite, one of the main aftermarket auto glass manufacturers, which will give you an aftermarket windshield also known as an OEE or Original Equipment Equivalent windshield.

Leasing companies generally do not accept OEE windshields which are less expensive and manufactured to different specifications. If you return your leased car with an OEE windshield, when you submit your car for inspection, you will probably find yourself paying for another new windshield.

On a stone hit the windshield on my Mercedes and caused a small chip, I had it repaired by Safelite. The chip and repair was small enough that it would be accepted by Mercedes when I returned my car. Later, the windshield was hit again by a stone and this time it caused a large crack so the windshield had to be replaced.

How I Replaced the Windshield on My Leased Car

Safelite was going to replace the windshield with an original equipment equivalent windshield. I told them that I had to have an original Mercedes windshield. They told me that it would take a couple of days because they would have to order it. I told them I did not have a problem waiting. They obtained permission from my insurance company State Farm because the windshield was twice the price and two days later, they installed an original Mercedes windshield.

If you are filing a glass claim with your insurance company for new windshield, tell your insurance company that your car is leased and insist that they provide you with a dealer or OEM windshield accepted by your leasing company. If your insurance company gives you a problem, provide them with a copy of your lease and advise that if they do not give you an acceptable windshield you will file a complaint with the insurance department.

By Philip L. Franckel, Esq.