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Window Tinting: Should You Get This Car Insurance Add On?
With a recent ruling by the Malaysian Transport Ministry on car window tinting regulations, you might expect cars on our roads to start looking a few shades darker than usual pretty soon.
The newly issued ruling, under the Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Certain Types of Glass), 1991, states that drivers can now tint their rear windscreens and rear passenger windows to any desired level – technically even 5% VLT, the lowest level possible, since no baseline percentage was given.
The previous legal limit for tinting rear windows and windshields was set to at least 30% visible light transmission (VLT).
Front windshields and front passenger window legal limits remain at 70% and 50% VLT respectively.
Should you wish to tint your front windows and front windscreen darker and below these VLT limits for security or safety reasons, you’ll need to submit an application which costs RM 50.
On top of that, if your application is approved, you’ll need to fork out a sum of RM 5000. This amount covers just two years of having darker tints, meaning upon expiry you’ll need to top up another RM 5000! (If you’re applying for health reasons, you’ll be exempt from this charge)
So before you run off to your workshop to get your new tints installed, let’s unpack the pros and cons of windscreen tinting and everything else you should know before you make your decision.
Benefits of window tinting
The decision for the government to adjust window tinting levels was not completely out of the blue. In fact, tinting actually brings many benefits. Here are some of the pros of window tinting:
Blocks out harmful UV rays
Harmful UV rays are becoming more and more of a concern with global warming. While you can’t get sunburned in your car due to UVB rays, UVA rays which are equally as harmful can still reach you indoors through glass or in your car.
Window tinting is an effective way of keeping out these harmful UV rays, preventing damage to our skin and serious skin conditions. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation in the US recommends it to prevent cancers such as melanoma.
Keeps heat out
This is probably the most common reason Malaysians consider tinting their car windows.
With regular heat waves and the amount of time we spend on our roads, it’s no wonder so many Malaysian drivers consider tinting to keep their cars cooler.
Getting windows tinted does help keep the temperature of cars considerably lower, which is especially important for drivers who regularly drive passengers who are older citizens or children.
It’s also helpful with preventing damage to car air conditioning systems due to overuse.
Glass becomes less fragile
Because window tinting essentially coats a windshield or window with a layer of film, this prevents glass from shattering as easily. In the case of an accident, this provides additional security for the driver as glass is less likely to crack immediately.
One of the major reasons for car theft or car damage is keeping valuable items in vehicles, making cars targets for thieves. With window tinting, the inability to see through rear windows and rear windscreens reduces the likelihood of your car or valuables being stolen.
If you’re prone to keeping your items in your car, window tinting may be a good idea (though we highly advise against keeping your valuables in your car regardless).
Hazards of window tinting
There are some important downsides to factor in with window tinting too. Since the new ruling has not provided a baseline percentage, drivers can in theory, tint their rear windows completely, to the lowest VLT level of 5%.
While there was initially some pushback from the local police authorities due to concerns tinting would affect their ability to carry out enforcement of certain offences, they have since accepted the ruling.
Less visibility of the road
Tinting your vehicle too dark can be a danger to you as well as other drivers, as it’s clearly going to be harder to see other vehicles coming up behind you on the road. Don’t forget, this gets even trickier with bad weather conditions like fogs or the rain as well as at night.
Harder to see into the car
While this can be seen as a benefit for drivers who want privacy and prevent theft of their belongings, police may have trouble profiling drivers who need to be stopped due to minor offences such as not wearing seat belts.
Does car insurance cover window tinting?
Let’s say you’ve decided the pros outweigh the cons of window tinting and think it’s right for you. After your car’s decked out with its new tints, you may consider getting some coverage for your windscreen with your car insurance policy.
After all, any damage to a windscreen means damage to the tinting as well.
All it takes is driving by a lawnmower shooting pebbles everywhere, or being caught in the middle of a heavy storm for some serious damage to be done to your windscreen.
Costs to replace or reinstall tinting can be steep, so you’d might as well select a policy which protects your full windscreen value, including the tinting and includes replacements should anything happen to your car windows or windscreens.
Be sure to check with your provider whether additional tinting is covered or whether replacement only includes a minimum VLT level of tinting.
Also do keep in mind that you may have to pay higher premiums depending on the value of your windscreen and window tints as they will increase your windscreen value.
Should I get windscreen protection?
It’s important to note that while it’s possible to make a claim for windscreen damage under your car insurance, you might lose out on your no-claims discount (NCD) if you don’t have a windscreen protection add-on.
Windscreen protection allows you to make a claim for any damages to your windscreen without affecting or losing your no-claims discount. And remember, your NCD can go up to 55% off your premiums for up to 5 years of no claims. So, it’s important to keep that discount going for as long as possible!
Things you need to know about windscreen protection
- Do note that windscreen protection is an add-on that you’ll need to purchase separately and isn’t always included in your basic car insurance policy
- Be sure to get any repairs or replacement for your windscreen done at a panel workshop listed under the policy you choose. If you mistakenly go to a workshop not listed under your policy, you won’t be eligible to make a claim
- Keep in mind that once you make a claim for windscreen damage under windscreen protection, you’ll need to immediately renew your windscreen coverage as it is often offered as a one-time only plan
While window and windscreen tinting does bring its share of benefits for drivers and passengers, it’s important to consider the dangers of tinting windows too dark.
Also, if you do decide to tint your car, make sure to get windscreen protection which covers the value of your windscreen. Don’t risk losing your NCD!
Get the best windscreen protection by comparing car insurance policies with Finder Malaysia.
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