What is windscreen cover?
Windscreen cover protects you in the unfortunate event that your windscreen gets damaged and needs repairing or replacing.
With most policies, you won’t have to pay for small chip repairs but with some you may have to pay a small excess fee.
If your windscreen needs a full replacement, you are likely to have to pay an excess, which can vary in cost across different providers.
Does car insurance cover broken windscreens?
Whether your windscreen is covered will depend on your insurance. Typically, most comprehensive policies will treat your windscreen, sunroof and other windows like they do any other part of your car. For third-party only and third party, fire and theft, you may be able to add it as an optional extra.
Your policy will cover your windscreen if it’s damaged from an event listed in your policy like fire, theft or storm. That means a third party, fire and theft policy will cover your glass if it’s damaged by fire or theft. A comprehensive policy has your back for those two scenarios plus a range of others like hailstorms, accidents, vandalism and more.
How do insurers replace broken glass?
Typically, insurers are able to choose whether they want to pay to repair or replace the glass as appropriate. Generally, this will be done based on the mechanic’s recommendation.
Car insurers will typically offer a lifetime guarantee on all repairs carried out by their approved providers, including glass repair and replacement, so it’s in everyone’s interests to make sure it’s fixed properly, whether that means repair or replacement.
Depending on the policy, you can claim these costs under car insurance but:
- You will need to pay your car insurance excess
- Your premiums might increase or you might lose a no claim bonus
Compare providers with windscreen replacement included as standard
What to do if you get a crack in your windscreen?
No matter where the crack is, you should get it attended to immediately. Cracks have a tendency to spread and multiply once formed, especially those near the edge of your windscreen, and could easily threaten the integrity of the entire glass if not treated at once.
- Any crack that penetrates more than a single layer of glass.
- Cracks of a certain size and shape within the area wiped by the windscreen wipers. For example, a bullseye crack larger than 16mm in diameter or a hairline crack longer than 150mm.
- Any other damage that can impair a driver’s vision including discolouring and scratches.
You can expect your comprehensive car insurance to cover the costs of damage to your windscreen, as well as glass on other parts of your car. As usual, though, you will have to pay an excess for the claim. Often, this excess will be greater than the cost of repairs, making a claim pointless. Once again, this is why an excess-free windscreen claim option is sometimes worth adding to your policy.
Are you covered if a rock flies up and cracks your windscreen?
When people ask about windscreen cover, they usually want to know about those infuriating little rocks that fly out of nowhere, crack your windscreen then fly off leaving the rest of your car untouched.
The good news is that most comprehensive car insurance policies will take care of you. You won’t be able to get away with anything less than that, as comprehensive is the only level of protection that covers you for accidental damage.
To make sure your claim is honoured, report the damage to your windscreen immediately to your insurer and use a licensed repairer, preferably one recommended by your insurer. Send in a photograph of the damage and your car’s surroundings, as well as a measurement of the crack.
Why get windscreen replacement as an optional extra?
If your car insurance policy doesn’t include windscreen cover as standard, it might be worth looking into adding windscreen cover as an optional extra. If you travel a lot, the risk of getting a chipped or broken windscreen is much higher. Plus, if you think you’d struggle to pay the cost of fixing or repairing a broken window or windscreen, then windscreen replacement may be worth that little extra.
This is because driving around with a broken or chipped window is unsafe, and can end up causing further damage to your car that won’t necessarily be covered by insurance.
- Windows and the windscreen contribute to a car’s structural integrity, so accident damage might be more severe.
- If the accident could be said to result from the broken glass, for example, if you were distracted by something fly in through the window, then an insurer might deny a claim and say that you shouldn’t have been driving the car.
- Water damage, electronics failures, rust and other deterioration generally isn’t covered by car insurance. You probably wouldn’t want to drive in the rain with a broken window.
Generally, you might want to make sure you’re in a position to get broken glass repaired as soon as possible, whether it’s out of pocket or through insurance.
The added cost of this extra will depend on your situation, and on how much it will typically cost to replace the windscreen in your vehicle.
Can you choose your own repairer?
Some policies allow you to choose your own repairer but it varies. Insurers may handle it one of a few ways:
- Your policy automatically requires you to use the repairer it chooses.
- Your policy automatically gives you the option to choose your own repairer.
- You can purchase an optional upgrade that gives you the option to choose your own repairer.
- Your insurer will consider a quote from your repairer, but it gets to choose whether you use its repairer or yours.
If you’re using insurance to make a windscreen-related claim, there’s not much downside to using a repairer in the insurer’s network. Repairing or replacing a windscreen is a relatively straightforward process and insurers usually offer a lifetime guarantee for in-network repairs.
The option to use your own repairer is handy for complicated repairs, but windscreen repairs are usually simple.
Is it worth it?
There are a few different ways to handle damaged glass, with or without car insurance.
- Paying out of pocket. You might decide to pay for it out of pocket, in order to avoid paying a car insurance excess, and so as not to risk affecting your insurance premium. If it’s just minor repairs, this might be the way to go.
- Claiming it on car insurance. You might decide to claim it on car insurance anyway. It might cost less to pay the excess. This might affect your car insurance premiums going forwards.
- Claiming it on car insurance with excess-free windscreen cover. Some insurers offer excess-free windscreen cover if you wanted to bolster your car insurance policy further. In this circumstance, it might be worth claiming. That’s why you have this extra after all. You will not need to pay the excess, but your premiums might still be affected going forward.
Frequently asked questions
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