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Will car insurance cover a broken window?

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.

Replacing 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.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

Since car insurance policies are designed to put things right after an accident, most standard cover doesn’t protect against non-motoring criminal acts like vandalism. That said, many insurers can add vandalism cover to your policy if you’re worried about deliberate damage.

Although you may be covered to drive other cars as part of your insurance policy, this cover often specifically excludes rental vehicles. Instead, your rental car provider will have insurance built into the cost of the hire – with a few options that’ll let you reduce any excess you’ll pay in the event of an accident.

Comprehensive car insurance - often referred to as fully comprehensive (or ‘fully comp’) – includes cover for damage to your own car, whereas third party, fire and theft policies only cover damage to someone else’s vehicle and not your own.

In short, if you have comprehensive car insurance, it will pay for repairs under certain conditions.

In most cases, your car insurance will provide cover for the cost of minor engine damage as the result of an accident, but it may not cover damage due to wear and tear.

If the cause of water damage to your car is not your fault, a comprehensive insurance policy will provide cover, but a third party insurance policy is limited and does not normally include water damage.

Many comprehensive car insurance policies provide cover for a cracked windshield, but not all. When taking out car insurance, check that windshield cover is included, otherwise you may need to pay extra for this cover.

If you have a fully comprehensive policy, you’ll generally find that insurers will pay out for severe weather damage like that caused by hail. Be warned though, not all do – so if you’re concerned, it’s important to check your policy for any exclusions.

As long as you have fully comprehensive cover with no exclusions relating to flood or water damage, you should find that your car insurance covers water damage. Be warned though, if the damage was avoidable (if you drove into a large puddle for instance) you might find your insurer won’t payout.

If you’re involved in a hit and run accident, some car insurance policies will cover the cost of repairing your car, or pay you the current market price if it’s written-off.