It’s important to note that there will usually be an excess charge, which varies between policies from around £10 to £150. If the window can be repaired, the excess can be up to £50 - or zero on some policies.
In any case, don't assume that your insurance covers windows. If you are not sure whether all windows are covered, check your insurance documents. If your policy does not include car window insurance, you may be able to select this as an optional add-on.
How windows get broken
The most common reason that windows get damaged is by loose stones or other road debris striking the glass. Typically, stones that hit the windscreen will cause a crack or chip on the window. If this happens, it is advisable to get the window repaired as soon as possible.
Vandalism is also responsible for window damage. Someone may maliciously smash a window, or throw an object off a bridge that cracks the window.
A collision, even a minor one, can also break windows, and sudden temperature changes can even cause the glass to crack. Examples of this include pouring boiling water on icy windows.
A small crack will usually get bigger over time, so it is important to get even minor damage checked. Very minor windscreen damage can be repaired, otherwise the window will need replacing. In most cases, side and rear windows are replaced, not repaired. The company responsible for the work will first remove the shattered glass from inside the vehicle and behind the door panel if the window has been broken. After the window is replaced, it will be checked to make sure that it opens and closes smoothly.
Most car windows are electrically operated. If there is electrical damage, this may also have to be fixed.
Windscreens and rear windows can be replaced. If the rear window has heating elements, they will be replaced too.
If you repair a minor chip yourself with resin formulated for this, but a crack develops afterwards, you may have an insurance claim rejected on the grounds that you should have had the window seen to by a professional car window replacement service soon after it was damaged.
How to make a claim
If the windscreen has been damaged to the extent that you cannot clearly see out of the window, it is an offence to drive it and you could be charged with driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition. If the side windows are broken, the car can be driven.
Before booking your car to be repaired, check with your insurance company. They may insist on you using one of their approved repairers. If you cannot drive the car because of a broken windscreen, the insurance company may give approval for you to call a roadside windscreen replacement service so that you can continue on your journey.
Your insurer should pay for the cost of window repairs minus any excess. A claim may affect your no claims bonus, but some insurers will not reduce the claims discount for window repair claims.
Replacing a side window can cost between one hundred and several hundred pounds depending on the car model. The average cost of replacing a windscreen is about £235. It makes sense to have car window insurance so that you do not have to pay out for costly window replacements.
As you can see, the answer to ‘will car insurance cover a broken window?’ isn’t cut and dry, so read and choose your policy with care.