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Heater for car windscreen insurance

Windscreen cover

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Including an element of windscreen cover on your car insurance could help with windscreen cracks, stone chips and replacements.

Key points

  • Specific windscreen cover may come as standard on car insurance, it may be 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 full excess liability and without impacting no claims bonuses
  • Deal with damaged glass promptly
  • If you claim, use approved repairers

It's all too common to be the victim of windscreen damage on today's busy roads and streets, and replacement can be costly.

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

Windscreen claims are amongst the most common things dealt with by car insurance firms, with many drivers simply assuming that their policy will cover them for such incidents.

But this isn't necessarily the case, even on comprehensive policies.

Whilst all policies will cover the windscreen in the way they cover the rest of the vehicle, if you don't have specific windscreen cover you'll be liable to pay the full excess in the event of a claim and will risk losing your no claims bonus.

Some providers will offer specific windscreen cover as standard, others may present it as an optional extra for which you'll have to pay an additional fee, some policies may offer no windscreen insurance at all.

If you search for a policy through Gocompare.com, our results table will clearly show whether windscreen insurance is included and you'll also have the chance to filter the table so that it only shows options with such cover.

Did you know...?

  • Side windows and rear windows may also be covered
  • Some policies will pay for bodywork damaged by broken glass and offer an emergency number

Remember, though, that even those policies offering windscreen protection will differ significantly in terms of the level of cover they offer and exclusions and other terms they may impose.

It's important to read your documentation with care before buying.

What is windscreen insurance?

Windscreen cover 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.

It's possible that you'll get an emergency repair number to call, and some policies may also pay to repair bodywork that's damaged or scratched by broken glass.

The excess you'll have to pay if you make this type of claim tends to be lower than the standard excess, and claiming for windscreen damage won't usually impact on your no claims bonus.

Although all policies will differ, it may be typical not to charge an excess to repair chips or cracks, but to levy a windscreen replacement excess if this larger job is needed.Under

The amount may vary if you don't use an approved repairer, so contact your insurer for their approved repairer list.

If you do get a chip or crack, it may pay to get it sorted out as soon as possible before it spreads and makes a repair impossible.

If you fail to get such a repair in a timely manner it's possible that you'll invalidate the possibility of claiming for it on your insurance.

What's more, you should remember that driving with a windscreen with extensive damage is dangerous, could see your vehicle fail its MOT, and could be judged to be illegal.

How do I know if I have windscreen cover?

When you're taking out a car insurance policy, make sure you read the documents carefully without making assumptions about the level of cover you have.

Did you know...?

  • Pouring hot water onto a frosty windscreen could weaken the glass and cause it to crack
  • Winter driving guide

"It's essential that drivers know exactly what is and isn't included in their cover," said Gocompare.com's Matt Oliver.

If you drive a van, the same applies. Windscreen cover is included as standard in many fully comprehensive van insurance policies but not all, so read your documents or ask your insurer.

How do windscreens get damaged?

There are any number of ways for your windscreen to get damaged.

Windscreen chips can occur when vehicles drive over loose stones, while a combination of cold windscreens and warm heaters can crack or weaken glass.

There are even so-called 'motorway missiles', stones or other objects thrown from bridges at passing cars.Hanover

This can be extremely dangerous and frightening, and if it happens to you it's advisable to pull over safely as soon as you can and call the police.

When can windscreens be repaired?

Many repairers adhere to a standard defined under BSAU242a 1998. A typical checklist followed by reputable repairers would check that:

  • The problem is not within 6cm of any edge of the glass
  • The damage is at no point wider than 28mm
  • If windscreen damage is within the 30cm wide vertical band in front of the driver then the problem area should not be bigger than 10mm

See also:

  • Beginners' guide to car insurance

By Sean Davies

 

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Car windows & windscreen cover

A tiny chip on your windscreen might seem a minor issue, but ignore it at your peril. If left untreated, over time the crack may widen and leave you needing to repair or replace the whole windscreen. And if your insurance policy doesn't include windscreen cover, you could find yourself facing a hefty bill.

Windscreen cracks are one of the most common types of car damage, and a major source of insurance claims. Often it doesn't matter what precautionary measures you take — chips and cracks are unavoidable. Luckily the expense isn't though. That's why it's always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected by ensuring you have additional windscreen cover.

The most common causes of windscreen chips and cracks include:

  • Road debris: On roads where there is a lot of debris (such as gravel roads, roads under construction and motorways), loose stones and small rocks can get dislodged by vehicles and bounce off your windscreen, causing chips and cracks. The faster you're driving, the greater the risk, as speed increases impact.
  • Direct impact: Even the most minor of road collisions can cause damage to your car windows or windscreen. And it's not uncommon for kamikaze birds to fly into the glass, either.
  • Temperature changes: The transition between hot and cold forces the glass to expand and contract, which over time can create small cracks in the length of the windscreen. Having the heating turned up to max when it's cold outside can increase the risk of temperature-induced cracks.
  • Weather: Severe weather, such as gales and thunderstorms, can dislodge debris from the road and blow it against your windows, while heavy hail pelting the windscreen, or ice falling on it, can also cause damage. Meanwhile extreme hot weather can warp the windscreen glass, causing cracks (luckily not something we have to worry about too often here in the UK).

When can a windscreen be repaired?

Sometimes it's possible for your windscreen to be repaired instead of replaced, depending on the size and location of the chip or crack. A windscreen repair can be carried out when:

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

If the damage is more severe than this, the windscreen will need to be replaced. Don't be tempted to ignore it — your car won't pass its MOT if the crack is deemed to affect your safety.

How to care for your windscreen

While chips and cracks are often unavoidable, there's still plenty you can do to keep your windscreen in an excellent condition. Here are some tips on caring for your windscreen:

De-icing

When it's frosty outdoors, make sure you clear all ice and snow from your windscreen before you set off. Use a de-icer in a trigger bottle rather than an aerosol can, as they're more wind-resistant. Make sure you spray the de-icer from the distance recommended on the bottle and wait a few moments for the chemicals to work before using the scraper. Never use an improvised scraper (such as a bank card or driving licence) as sharp plastic edges can scratch the glass. And, of course, never pour boiling water onto the glass.

Wiper blades

Car wiper blades have a tough job, particularly in poor weather conditions. Generally you'll need to replace them at least once a year, or whenever they start making a noise, leaving smudges and streaks, or warping so they no longer make proper contact with the surface of the glass.

If there's a build-up of debris (such as leaves or twigs) on your windscreen, clear it off with wipes or your scraper, rather than relying on the wipers. This will help preserve the quality of the blades. During the colder months, lift the wiper arms up to prevent the build-up of ice — this will also stop them from sticking to your windscreen.

Keep your car's screenwash topped up at all times. Using a good quality screen wash will help to keep your windscreen clear all year round and can prevent ice from forming during the winter months.

Driving and parking your car

If you find yourself driving on a road where there is lots of debris, make sure you keep your distance from other vehicles to avoid stones flicking up onto your windscreen. Be wary of construction lorries that carry dirt and gravel and give them a wide berth when overtaking. Similarly, if any vehicles overtake you, slow down to let them pass.

Whenever possible, park your car under shelter and in the shade, as this will help protect it from bad weather, falling debris and direct sunlight.

Do you have windscreen cover?

Many drivers assume that windscreen cover is included as standard in their policy, but this isn't always the case. In fact, even some comprehensive policies don't feature windscreen cover.

If your windscreen needs to be repaired or replaced but you don't have adequate cover, you'll be expected to pay the full excess if claiming on your insurance and you could also lose your no claims discount.

Car window and windscreen cover comes as standard on our Hastings Direct and Hastings Premier comprehensive policies. There's no cover for windscreen repairs or replacement if you have third party or third party, fire & theft insurance or under our Hastings Essential policy.

Get a car insurance quote

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A chip in your windscreen might seem like no big deal, but it can cause your car to fail its MOT and, left unattended, can quickly get worse.

Here’s a rundown on what you need to know about windscreen cover.

What is windscreen cover?

Windscreen cover means you are insured if your windscreen gets chipped or cracked and needs repairing or replacing.

With most policies you won’t have to pay for chip repairs, though with some you may have to pay a small excess charge.

If your windscreen needs replacing, you are likely to have to pay an excess, which can vary with different insurers.

Why do I need windscreen cover?

It’s sensible to have windscreen cover because even the most careful drivers can get a chip in their windscreen, through no fault of their own.

Depending on their size, chips can usually be fixed, but without insurance this can cost £60 or more.

Driving with a chip in your windscreen can be distracting, affecting your vision and making dazzle from the sun worse. And, if they are not repaired quickly, small chips can grow and crack until your entire windscreen needs replacing, which can cost hundreds of pounds in most cases.

Do I already have windscreen cover?

The good news is that comprehensive car insurance policies usually include windscreen cover as standard and will pay for a chip to be repaired with no excess charge. If you have comprehensive car insurance but are not sure if your policy includes windscreen cover, contact your insurer to check.

A third party, fire and theft policy is unlikely to include windscreen cover, so you are likely to have to take out separate windscreen cover, or upgrade your cover to comprehensive to be covered in the future.

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