Windscreen replacement

Will car insurance cover my windscreen repairs or replacement?

All it takes is a pebble to chip a car windscreen. And then one day you’ll drive over a bump in the road, experience extremes in changing temperatures or get hit with a second pebble and it will suddenly spiderweb into a cracked windscreen.

Or maybe you’re one of the thousands of people who’s woken up to a smashed car window and something missing from the inside of your vehicle.

The glass is one of the most at-risk parts of the car, which is exactly why car insurance policies will often offer excess-free windscreen glass replacement as an optional extra, at extra cost.

Find out why it's worth it.

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Optional - If your car is written off in the first 3 years
No
No
No
Optional - Up to $50 a day until your claim is settled
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Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
Buy online and save 15%.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off or stolen in the first 2 years
No
Yes
Yes
Yes - Reasonable costs (Max 14 days)
Emergency roadside assistance included in Comprehensive policies.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
No
Optional
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
Save up to 10% when you buy online.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
Save 15% when purchasing online. Eligible customers can earn 5,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer Points when purchasing a new policy by 31 Dec 2018. Excludes NT. T&CS apply.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
No
No
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
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Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
Yes
No
Yes - Up to $100 per day (Max 30 days)
Buy online and save up to 10% on your policy.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first year or is under 20,000 km
No
No
Optional
Optional - Up to $60 per day (Max 14 days)
Save up to 20% on car insurance when you purchase cover online.

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Does car insurance cover broken glass?

Different insurers may have their own conditions, but generally you can expect car insurance to cover damage to windows and windscreens, as it does other part of the car.

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.

Is my car roadworthy with a cracked windscreen?

Your car can still get a roadworthy “pink slip” with a less-than-perfect windscreen, as long as the damage isn’t too severe.

Rules may vary by state, but generally your car will not pass if:

  • A windscreen crack impairs the driver’s vision.
  • A chip or crack extends through the entire thickness of the windscreen.
  • A chip or crack that does not penetrate the entire thickness of the windscreen is more than 16mm in diameter (about the size of a 5c coin).
  • A crack is 15cm or longer.

All of these represent fairly severe windscreen damage. Car windscreens are multi-layered, laminated and fairly durable, so these types of things will generally only result from either a serious incident, or unrepaired damage over time.

That’s why it’s typically worth getting damaged glass repaired before it turns into broken glass.

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 it cost to replace car windows and windscreens?

The cost can vary widely. According to AutoGuru, a windscreen replacement in Australia typically costs from around $250 to over $1,000. It depends on factors like:

  • The size of the window needing replacement
  • The type of glass used in that car model
  • The cost of labour and equipment used to carry out repairs

In most situations, it will typically cost more to pay for repairs out of pocket than it would to claim it on car insurance.

Can I choose my own repairer?

You will often be able to choose your own repairer for broken glass, in line with your usual policy terms.

However, if you’re only going for repairs rather than a replacement it might be more worth going for one of the insurer’s repairers, to take advantage of the widely available “lifetime repairs guarantee” options.

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.

Picture: Shutterstock


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Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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