You’re driving down a particularly busy street and another car accidentally kicks up dirt that chips your windscreen. You're faced with a difficult decision - pay out of pocket for the repairs yourself, or contact your insurer and risk losing your no claims. Stand-alone windscreen cover can make that decision easier, allowing you to claim for minor repairs without affecting your main policy. But is it worth it?
In This Guide:
- What is windscreen cover?
- What are the most common causes of windscreen chips and cracks?
- Can I drive with a cracked windscreen?
What is windscreen cover?
It’s common practice for insurers to offer separate windscreen cover as part of a comprehensive car insurance policy. However, this standard cover will mean you’ll have to pay the full excess even if you only have a tiny chip (excess being the contribution you need to pay towards that claim).
It can be better value to take out windscreen cover as an optional extra, like you would with breakdown cover if it's not included on your main policy. You will simply pay the excess for each claim making it a considerably cheaper option. It should also not affect your no claims bonus (how many years you haven’t made a claim on your car). Whereas if you don’t have the separate cover, you’ll have to pay the full excess and possibly lose your no claims bonus.
Windscreen damage is a regular claim as the tiniest of chips could eventually cause more significant damage. It’s important to not assume windscreen cover is included in your standard policy. It’s worth double-checking your policy and considering purchasing separate windscreen cover if you are buying a new car insurance policy.
What are the most common causes of windscreen chips and cracks?
Accidents can happen, below are some of the typical ways in which your windscreen could end up damaged. But whatever happens, as soon as you notice a chip it’s best to get it fixed straight away so it doesn’t expand or get worse and you end up having to shell out more money then you needed to.
In icy conditions, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the best thing to do to ensure visibility out of your windscreen would be to use hot water to de-ice the glass. However, this could risk severe damage to your windscreen. If the inside of your car is colder than the outside temperature, the glass could contract causing the glass to chip or crack.
Debris coming off the road
One of the most common ways in which a windscreen cracks or chips is from stones or debris flying up from the road and hitting your car (particularly if the road has a lot of loose stone or there are road works going on). The best way to avoid this unwanted problem is to drive slowly where the road conditions aren’t great or when you’re driving past large vehicles like lorries that can pick up debris easily.
In scorching weather, your windscreen can fracture or distort. To prevent this from happening, always try to park in the shade or use a sunshade inside of your car.
Can I drive with a cracked windscreen?
If you get caught driving with a cracked windscreen, this could be considered a motoring offence, and you could be given three points on your licence and a fine. Additionally, if you drove with a cracked windscreen and you have an accident, you could be charged with a more serious motoring offence. With this in mind, a damaged windscreen and the appropriate insurance cover should be taken very seriously.