It doesn’t matter how conscientious a driver you are, you might still get a chip or crack in your windscreen. This could be caused by everything from small stones in the road hitting your windscreen, extreme hot and cold temperatures, direct impact, stormy weather or a structural weakness.
What should I do if I have a chip or crack?
Chips and cracks must be put right as soon as possible, or they can expand. They can distract you when you’re behind the wheel and obscure your view. If you’re stopped by the police and have a chip or crack, you could receive a fixed penalty notice as well as three points on your licence.
Your car will fail its MOT if you have a 10mm-sized crack directly in your line of vision, in what’s referred to as Zone A, or a 40mm-sized crack elsewhere.
If you’re in an accident, having a cracked windscreen could leave you more vulnerable as the whole windscreen could fail. This could put your life and those of your passengers in danger by preventing the airbags from deploying correctly.
You can often get a windscreen chip repaired for free or at a very low cost. This could help avoid a windscreen replacement, where you will always have to pay at least an excess.
Will I have to pay?
If you have comprehensive car insurance, your policy will usually include cover for windscreen repair and replacement. If you have third party, or third party fire and theft cover, you’ll need to foot the bill yourself. How much you’ll be required to pay will depend on the damage, whether your whole windscreen needs to be replaced and which company you use, but be aware that a new windscreen can cost hundreds of pounds.
If you use a windscreen specialist, they will usually handle the insurance claim for you and arrange payment from your insurer, if you have windscreen cover included in your policy. If you’re not covered, you’ll need to be able to pay for the repair or replacement yourself.
Will I lose my no claims discount?
If you have comprehensive insurance and windscreen cover is included in your policy, you won’t usually lose your no claims discount if you need your windscreen repaired. It will usually be paid for in full by your insurance company, so you won’t need to pay your excess.
If your entire windscreen needs replacing, this shouldn’t affect your no claims discount either, but you will usually be required to pay your excess. To confirm if this is the case with your policy, please check directly with your insurer.
Due to renew soon?
If you currently have third party or third party, fire and theft cover, you may want to see if comprehensive insurance could be cheaper – as it often is. You’d also receive more protection if you went with this type of insurance, as both you and your car would be covered, not just other cars, property and people.