If your car had a crack in the windscreen, would you know what to do? Our guide will take you through how to make a claim, how repairing it works and how to protect your windscreen from cracking in the first place.
Cracked windscreens can be a common occurrence in vehicles. It doesn’t matter what precautions you take, chips are often unavoidable. All it can take is a small bit of debris or some grit to hit your window and a small crack can form. The weather can cause issues with your windows too which, unfortunately, is uncontrollable. Severe changes in temperature are prone to creating cracks, particularly if the heating is turned up to the max while it’s cold outside. The condition of the roads can also cause windscreen damage; AA stated in 2013 that the extreme amount of potholes on UK roads have contributed to a 30% jump in windscreen damage.
When the chips are small they may not appear to be much of an issue, particularly if they are barely visible. However, they could quickly develop into large cracks, which can end up costing you quite a bit of money if you’re not covered, so it is advisable that they are fixed as soon as possible. Mending the issue as soon as it arises to avoid any further damage can also help to prevent it from damaging the car’s value.
If your motor insurance covers glass damage, some places, like Halfords or Autoglass, will fix a tiny chip for free before they develop into a crack. However, if it is left untreated the chip can quickly grow and become a bigger job to fix. Car windscreen cover can either offer expenses for the cost of the repairs of the window or even fully replace the window depending on the damage.
It may come as a surprise that windscreen cover doesn’t necessarily just cover broken windscreens, it can cover all windows and sometimes the sunroof too.
Windscreen cover can be additional protection that you take out, or sometimes your car insurance could already include this in their policy. Comprehensive cover often has this already included in their policy. If you have third party only, or third party, fire and theft policy, then extra cover, like car windscreen cover, isn’t a standard protection in their policy and can cost an additional £30 to include.
Like any other claim, an excess will need to be paid when claiming for a damaged windscreen. Depending on the policy, this excess can range from £10 to £150, while the cost to repair a chipped window could be much less. Therefore, it could be worth comparing prices to see if it is even worth making a claim.
However, a window replacement will often cost much more, often a few hundred pounds so it could be worthwhile claiming on your insurance if the damage is excessive.
If your car has a crack in the windscreen, it is not illegal to continue to drive it. However, you could still be committing a motoring offence as the car can be perceived to be in a dangerous condition, and you could be charged with a fixed penalty if you are caught. It is particularly dangerous if the crack is directly in front of the driver, impairing visibility. Cracks can also gradually grow, becoming worse and worse if left untreated, which can then make the broken window even more dangerous. Therefore, even though legally, you can drive with a cracked windscreen, it is not advisable and can be worthwhile to have it repaired as soon as possible.
Most windscreen replacement companies work by dividing the windscreens into zones depending on where and how severe the crack is. Which zone your repair falls into will determine whether your vehicle is due a repair or a window replacement.
For example, the glass directly in front of the driver is zone A and if the chip is larger than 10mm then it is too large to be repaired and will require a replacement instead.
Zone D refers to the edge around the glass and the cracks here can reach up to 45mm before the window needs to be replaced rather than repaired.
Cracks in your windscreen may be unavoidable, but there are a few things you can do to help prevent any unwanted chips.
De-icing the car fully before you set off can help prevent cracks forming due to the change in temperature. Once the car is moving the heating will increase quicker, and the ice on the window can cause cracks. Therefore, using a de-icer and a scraper to make sure all of the ice is removed before you start your journey is a good way to prevent any cracks.
Another tip is to replace your windscreen wipers as soon as they fail to do the job properly. As soon as they start to make a noise as they wipe, leave marks or generally not clear the window properly it’s time to replace them. You can preserve your wipers by removing any leaves or other debris that has landed on your car while it has been parked with wipes or a scraper before you set off instead of using your windscreen wipers.
Final tip, if there is debris on the road, make sure you drive at slower yet safe pace, with plenty of distance from the vehicle in front to prevent any gravel, stones or other debris from flying up and hitting your window.