Windscreen cover insurance

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

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 10 February 2023  | 5 min read

What’s windscreen cover insurance?

It’s a part of car insurance that covers the cost of replacement or repairs if your windscreen is cracked or damaged.

Serious impacts will need a complete windscreen replacement, but even small stone chips and cracks can develop into bigger problems if they're not dealt with quickly. If left unfixed, they could grow into longer fissures that spread over the whole windscreen.

Your insurance provider will usually have a recommended windscreen provider available 24/7 to deal with windscreen repairs or 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 having to pay the full excess and without impacting your no-claims bonus
  • Deal with damaged glass promptly before it becomes a more serious problem
  • If you claim, use approved repairers or you could end up paying an additional excess

Are windscreens covered by car insurance?

It’s important not to assume that your policy will cover you for windscreen damage.

Some providers will offer it as standard on comprehensive policies, others may present it as an optional extra for an additional fee, while some 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 included, so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

What does windscreen insurance cover you for?

Depending on the policy, windscreen insurance can include:

  • Repair or replacement of a broken windscreen
  • Damage to the windscreen which would be sufficient to cause your vehicle to fail its MOT
  • Repair or replacement of all broken glass in the car, including rear and side windows, plus the sunroof
  • Repairs to the body and paintwork of your vehicle if it’s damaged or scratched as a result of your windscreen breaking
  • Recalibration of your advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) after the windscreen is repaired

What’s not covered?

Policies generally won’t cover things like:

  • Lights and reflectors or the vehicle’s interior glass
  • Deliberate damage done to the windscreen by you or a member of your household
  • Any circumstances where you haven’t taken adequate precautions to protect the windscreen from accidental damage - such as driving over the speed limit on a road with loose chippings
  • Any damage done if you use the car on a racetrack or circuit
  • Wear and tear and gradual deterioration of the windscreen
  • Damage caused by cleaning the windscreen incorrectly

Is windscreen cover insurance worth it?

It depends on whether you’d be happy to foot the bill for repair or replacement of your windscreen should it become damaged.

If you don’t want to take that risk, then it can be valuable cover for peace of mind. It’s also worth checking whether it’s already included if you’re opting for comprehensive car insurance.

How much does it cost to repair or replace a windscreen?

Sophisticated vehicle technology can make windscreen repair and replacement costs expensive. Screens may have micro-cameras for autonomous emergency braking (AEB), 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.”

It’s easier and cheaper to get a windscreen repaired, rather than replaced. So, if you do notice a chip on your windscreen, try to get it sorted sooner rather than later. It’s more likely to require a full windscreen replacement the longer it’s left - which will cost a lot more.

Windscreens can usually be repaired, rather than replaced, in the following circumstances:

  • The chip or crack is no wider than 28mm
  • The damage isn't within 7cm of the edge of the windscreen
  • If within the driver’s field of view, the chip or crack is no larger than 10mm in diameter

If you have windscreen cover included in your car insurance, you’ll only have to pay the excess to get your windscreen repaired or replaced.

Usually, this is a lot cheaper than the excess for other types of car insurance claims, and some policies even offer free repair of windscreens, with no excess to pay.

Does windscreen insurance cover all glass in my car?

Many policies extend windscreen cover to include all glass in the car, like the side and back windows and glass sunroofs.

Defaqto stats show 215 out of 328 comprehensive car insurance policies include cover for side windows and 205 policies cover sunroofs..[1]

Does it cover windscreen calibration?

Many modern cars have ADAS where cameras and sensors are built into windscreens.

Examples of ADAS include safety technologies like AEB, lane keep assist and parking assist.

If you have an ADAS fitted, then you’ll need to have it recalibrated after a windscreen repair to correctly align cameras and sensors.

Not all insurance policies will cover the cost of recalibration.

According to Defaqto, 127 out of 328 comprehensive car insurance policies include cover for windscreen calibration costs..[1]

How does claiming for windscreen damage affect insurance?

It’s unlikely that a windscreen claim will affect your no-claims discount. Check your policy to be on the safe side.

However, as is the case when making any claim on your car insurance, your future premium could increase.

Will I have to pay an excess if I claim?

It depends on your insurer. In some cases, your insurer may repair your windscreen without charging you an excess.

Defaqto statistics show that 129 out of 328 comprehensive car insurance policies have no excess for windscreen repair.

Figures also show that 105 of the policies have an excess of £20 to £49.

Excesses for windscreen replacement tend to be more expensive because of the higher costs involved – 265 of the comprehensive car insurance policies reviewed have a replacement excess of £75 or more..[1]

You may need to pay an additional excess if you don’t use one of your insurer’s recommended repairers.

Can I drive with a damaged windscreen?

If you do get a chip or crack, it may be 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.

It’s illegal to drive with a badly damaged screen, which can lead to three points on your licence.

Cracks in your eyeline may obscure your vision, which can be dangerous. If you have an accident, you could be held liable if your screen’s damaged and charged with serious penalties.

Damage of more than 10mm directly in front of the driver or 40mm anywhere on the windscreen will result in an MOT failure.

What causes windscreen chips and cracks?

There are several common causes, including:

  • Stones, chippings, pebbles and grit on road surfaces can be thrown up at speed by cars around you. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front when there’s debris on the road.
  • Poor weather. Hailstones, falling branches and debris in high winds can cause damage.
  • Sudden temperature extremes. Pouring hot water onto an icy screen or leaving your car in direct heat can make the glass contract or expand, causing a pre-existing chip or crack to spread.

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. Check your windscreen wipers for any build-up of dirt and debris which can cause scratches on your screen and replace them when they show signs of wear and tear.

  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

    If your windscreen already has a chip in it, driving over potholes or speed bumps, and even slamming a door can cause the chip to become a more serious crack.

  4. Protect your screen from extreme weather

    Use a windscreen cover on frosty evenings to protect the glass from freezing over. In hot weather, park in the shade.

  5. Avoid rapid temperature changes

    When de-icing your screen, don’t use boiling water. Sudden temperature changes can cause the glass to crack.

  6. Treat it with TLC

    If your windscreen is covered with ice, use a good quality windscreen scraper or de-icer. Don’t use a credit card as the sharp edges can damage your windscreen.

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Page reviewed by: Jasmine Hembury

[1]Last checked 3 January 2023