Windscreen cover insurance

Windscreen cover insurance

How many times have we seen it in movies - a tiny rock hits glass and makes the smallest of cracks in the surface, and then it splinters, and splinters until the damage is spiderwebbed all across the glass?

Movie effects tend to start with reality, and there is a shred of truth in that movie magic - small cracks in your windscreen can end up causing larger issues and greater damage to your window or windscreens…and who likes driving around in a car with a cracked screen? Plus, it is illegal - but more on that later.

Standard Car Insurance in the UK doesn’t always cover windscreen repairs or replacement, so that’s where Windscreen Cover insurance comes in. So, does fully comprehensive insurance cover windscreen replacement? It can depend on several different factors, let’s take a look.

How can a windscreen be damaged?

It’s one of those things you may not even realise happens until you get home and see a crack in your windscreen when the light hits the right way. So it’s worth being aware of when damage is most likely to happen - some of the more common times a windscreen may get damaged include:

  • Road debris: If you’re driving through road works or are on a lorry-heavy route, try to be extra mindful of your surroundings, as random stuff hitting your windscreen is definitely a possibility here. Debris can also sometimes get kicked up during heavy storms which may cause damage to your car like it can to your home. Potholes can also be a common and nasty offender here.
  • Bad weather: Weather can pick up all kinds of things and throw them about, wreaking havoc, and likely causing a bit of anxiety for everyone. If you’re able to get your car under shelter that’s ideal, otherwise try to get it out from under trees.
  • Accidents and collisions: By its very nature a crash causes damage. Of course, this can include damage to your windscreen.
  • Extreme temperature changes: The natural solution to cold seems like it’s heat, but extreme temperature changes (think pouring a boiling kettle on a frozen-over windscreen) can cause damage due to contraction of the glass, so probably best to avoid this speedy solution to defrosting. Extreme heat can also cause warping or fractures, so find shade where you can in warmer months.

While you may be tempted to ignore the tiny chip in your peripheral vision, the longer you let it go unfixed the more likely it is to continue to spread and cause enough damage that you need to get the whole windscreen replaced, rather than the small repair job it may have been at the start.

Beyond the immediate cost and inconvenience of repair, there are larger considerations with the state of your windscreen that could land you in a bit more serious trouble, so let’s help keep you out of those situations and arm you with a bit more info.

Can I drive legally with a damaged windscreen?

No, you can’t. We mentioned earlier that it is illegal, although it does depend on where and how large the damage is.

There are 2 main zones for determining how much damage is still driveable:

  • Zone A: “vertical area 290mm wide, centred on the steering wheel and contained within the swept area of the windscreen” as defined by the Department for Transport. Basically, it’s the screen straight in front of your face if you were driving (or directly in your rear vision).
  • Zone B: everything else.

Zone A can legally have only up to 10mm of damage - about the same size as a pencil end. Zone B is a slightly more generous 40mm of damage.

If you have this kind of damage at your MOT, the inspector will fail you, as damage greater than either 10mm or 40mm will likely be classed as a major or dangerous fault to your windscreen.

As well as failing your MOT, if caught on the road with this damage, the officer could fine you up to £2,500 and give you 3 penalty points.

Not a fun time - so, what’s this about windscreen cover?

How does windscreen cover work?

As with any insurance policy, it’s best to contact your insurance provider as soon as you can in order to kick off the claims process, document what happened, and work with your insurer to arrange a repair or replacement, ideally by one of their approved repairers.

Does windscreen replacement count as a claim? Does a claim affect no claims?

Windscreen replacements will count as a claim, and yes, sometimes it can affect your no claims history. If your comprehensive Car Insurance doesn’t have windscreen cover as a part of its policy, then yes, it would likely affect your no claims history and bonus (if there is one). And you’ll probably also have to pay a bigger excess compared to if windscreen cover were included too.

If, on the other hand, you have windscreen cover, either as a part of comprehensive Car Insurance or as an add-on to a standard policy, you may not end up paying any excess at all. Particularly if you go with one of the insurer’s preferred repairers.

If you have windscreen cover, some insurance providers may have  exceptions for windscreen damage, which means it wouldn’t count  against your no claims history.

When doing your research on windscreen cover, sometimes you may end up saving money by getting windscreen cover as an optional extra rather than as a part of comprehensive Car Insurance. This is because comprehensive cover may lead to a higher premium when compared to windscreen cover as a separate add-on.
For so many of us, our cars can be our homes-on-the-go, a second home, and carry us to and from some of our most important moments in life. So why wouldn’t we want to make sure it’s safe and secure? Windscreen cover could help save you money and remove any worry if your car windscreen were to be chipped or cracked.

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.