Windscreen insurance

If windscreen repair and replace cover is part of your car insurance, you’re usually covered for cracks and chips

Alice Lloyd

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What’s windscreen insurance?

Your car insurance will usually cover the cost of replacement or repairs if your windscreen’s cracked or damaged.

Even small stone chips and cracks can develop into bigger problems if they're not dealt with, while more serious impacts may need a complete windscreen replacement.

Key points

  • Windscreen cover comes as standard on car insurance, as an optional extra, or your policy may not offer it at all
  • Policies differ, but look for ones that repair or replace your vehicle's glass without making you pay full excess and without impacting your no claims bonus
  • Deal with damaged glass promptly
  • If you claim, use approved repairers

What does it cover?

Windscreen insurance allows you to recover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle's windscreen, side windows, or rear window if they get broken or cracked.

If you do get a chip or crack, it’s better to get it treated as soon as possible before it spreads and makes a quick repair impossible.

Insurers will often provide an emergency repair number to call and depending on your policy you will also be covered for repairs on bodywork that's damaged or scratched by broken glass.

Is windscreen cover standard on car insurance?

Don’t assume your policy will cover you for windscreen damage. Some providers will offer windscreen cover as standard, others may present it as an optional extra for an additional fee, while some policies won’t offer it at all.

We're here to help you find the right cover. Our car insurance results will show whether windscreen insurance is part of the cover, and you can filter the results to see policies with windscreen repair and replacement.

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Windscreen repair costs

If you have windscreen cover, you’ll only have to pay the excess to get your windscreen repaired or replaced. Excesses vary from one policy to another - check your policy documents to find out how much it is.

Sophisticated vehicle technology, like sensors in windscreens, mean repair costs can be high. Screens may also have micro-cameras for automatic emergency braking, rain sensors for wipers, heating, and panoramic vision.

Graeme Trudgill, executive director of the British Insurance Brokers Association says, “Bear in mind that windscreens are a serious item. They’re part of the structure and the strength of the car and you'd be surprised at how expensive they are.

“They can cost over £1,000 so it’s very important you check if you’re covered and what the excess is.”

Windscreens can usually be repaired, rather than replaced, if:

  • The chip or crack is no wider than 28mm
  • The damage isn't within 6cm of the edge
  • If within the driver's field of view, the chip or crack is no larger than 10mm in length

Does it count as a claim?

Although all policies will differ, windscreen damage is a common claim, and the good news is that if you have windscreen cover on your policy and you do have to claim it usually won’t affect your no claims bonus.

If you don't have windscreen cover your policy will still cover windscreen damage in the same way it covers the rest of your car, but you’ll have to pay the full excess if you make a claim and will risk losing your no claims bonus.

Can I drive with a cracked windscreen?

If you do get a chip or crack, it’s tempting to ignore it, especially if it’s not in your eye-line. But even small stone chips and cracks can develop into bigger problems if they're not dealt with.

Delaying could invalidate any claim that you eventually make. It can also be illegal, leading to a police stop on the road and three points on your licence.

If you have an accident, you could be held liable if your screen’s damaged, and charged with a more serious offence, while damage of more than 40mm anywhere on the windscreen will result in an MOT failure.

Tips to avoid windscreen damage

There are several common causes of cracked windscreens, from temperature changes to potholes. Knowing how to protect your windscreen will help save you money on expensive bills or insurance claims.

  1. Check regularly

    Inspect your windscreen routinely for any small chips that could cause trouble and check your windscreen wipers once a year for a build-up of dirt and debris.

  2. Keep your distance

    Chips often happen when driving on loose stones or tailgating, so go cautiously and keep your distance.

  3. Beware of potholes

    Cracks can be brought on by potholes or speed bumps and even slamming a door - especially if even a tiny crack is there already.

  4. Avoid rapid temperature changes

    When de-icing your screen, don’t use boiling water. Avoid sudden temperature changes, and in hot weather, park in the shade and clean your screen gently.

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