Windscreen Replacement Insurance
Windscreen Replacement Insurance takes your excess back down to zero so you're not out of pocket if you need your windscreen repaired.
Replacing your windscreen can cost anywhere between $250 and $1,000 - even if it's a tiny chip! That's why windscreen replacement insurance just makes sense.
You can cover yourself for windscreen replacement by taking out a comprehensive car insurance policy. But standard excesses mean that it's sometimes not cost effective to claim. To combat this, insurers offer excess-free windscreen glass replacement. This means that you pay a little extra and in return don't have to pay a huge $600 excess come claim time.
Consider adding excess-free windscreen replacement to one of these policies
Does car insurance cover broken windscreens?
Most policies will treat your windscreen, sunroof and other windows like they do any other part of your car. Your policy will cover them if they're 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 simply 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 claims bonus
This is where the excess-free glass replacement car insurance extra comes in.
How does the windscreen replacement extra work?
This extra-cost option raises your premiums, but lets you make claims for broken glass only without needing to pay the excess. Where applicable, it may also let you keep your no claims bonus.
This typically covers broken sunroofs, windows and windscreens, but not mirrors, dashboard screens or similar.
It’s generally not unlimited though. In many cases you will only be able to exercise this option once every 12 months.
Typically it will not affect your cover in any way except in that it lets you make broken glass claims without paying an excess or losing applicable bonuses.
Can you drive with a cracked windscreen?
Each state has its own laws regarding how much windscreen damage you can legally drive with, but it's generally illegal to drive with major cracks or cracks that impair your vision.
- 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.
Most of these examples represent fairly severe windscreen damage. Whether it's illegal or not, you should try to get your windscreen repaired as quickly as possible if it's already at that point.
Are you covered if a rock flys 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 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.
Why get excess-free windscreen replacement?
If you think there’s a reasonable likelihood of needing to replace a window or your windscreen it might be worth it. If you’re comfortable with the extra cost of this option, but would struggle to pay the cost of fixing or repairing a broken window or windscreen, then you may want to consider it.
This is because driving around with a broken 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 extra cost of this extra will depend on your situation, and on how much it will typically cost to replace the windscreens in your vehicle.
How much does a windscreen cost to replace?
The cost of a replacement windscreen can vary widely. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $400 for common cars like a Holden Commodore or Toyota Corolla. There are plenty of aftermarket windscreens for those models on the market and the labour is pretty straightforward.
However, windscreens for some models are harder to come by or are equipped with specialised sensors. This means you'll end up paying up to $1,000 or more. For example, some newer cars have automatic rain sensors that activate your wipers when they sense rain.
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 premiums. If it’s just minor repairs, this might be the way to go.
- Claiming it on car insurance without the excess-free glass option: 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 the excess-free glass option: 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.
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