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Will car insurance cover a cracked windshield?

Will car insurance cover a cracked windshield if it’s third party only?

Third party insurance policies do not include windscreen cover, but cover can usually be added for an extra premium.

What is covered?

Windshield cover means that you can claim for the cost of repairing or replacing a windscreen.

Although called windshield or windscreen cover, most policies also cover all other car windows and sometimes sunroofs. Even if the chip or crack is very small, it should not be neglected, as cracks tend to spread and could make the windscreen unrepairable.

Small cracks or chips of up to 10mm directly in front of the driver, or cracks of less than 45mm around the edges of the windscreen, will probably be repairable. Larger cracks usually mean that the whole windscreen needs replacing.

If you continue driving with a small chip in the windshield and it spreads, the insurer may invalidate any claims as they can argue that if the windscreen had been repaired promptly, it would be a cheaper repair than replacing the windscreen because of a large crack.

Excess charges

The insurance company will pay for the windscreen replacement minus any excess. Excess charges typically range from £10 to £150 depending on the policy conditions. Excess charges for repair jobs range from zero to £50.

A full replacement windshield can cost several hundred pounds, so even if you pay an excess, it’s probably worth making a claim for a cracked windshield.

What to do if the windshield is cracked

The most common cause of a damaged windshield is loose stones that are catapulted into the windscreen by the tyres of a vehicle in front of you. This can happen without warning, and even the smallest chip should be seen to as soon as possible. Driving with a damaged windshield can be classed as driving a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition and can result in a fine. The law says that you should have a full view of the road ahead, and no part of your vision should be obscured.

If you drive with a cracked window and lack of a clear view contributes to an accident, you could be charged with a serious motoring offence. 

A very small chip at the edge of the windshield may be OK, but it is not recommended that the car be driven far before getting it seen to at a windscreen repair company. A small chip may be repaired yourself using specialised adhesive, but if this does not solve the problem and a crack forms, you will need professional help.

Windscreens and windows can also crack if boiling water is poured on frozen glass to get rid of ice, so remember to de-ice your car using a scraper, de-icing spray or luke warm water, rather than a freshly boiled kettle-full of water.

Making a claim

If you use one of the major car windscreen repairers such as Autoglass, you do not need to inform your insurance company before having the windshield replaced or repaired. Major car glass replacement companies will start the insurance claim process for you.

Depending on your particular policy, a claim for a damaged windshield may not affect your no claims bonus.

Most insurance companies insist that you use an approved repairer. If you cannot find the names of approved repairers in your car insurance documents, check with the insurance company before booking your car in for windshield repairs.

If your insurance doesn’t cover windscreen damage, you will unfortunately have to pay for repairs or replacement yourself.

Other related FAQs

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

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.

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.

Most comprehensive car insurance policies will cover repair for damage caused by potholes on public roads. Alternatively, you can claim directly from the authority responsible for the road.

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.

If your car insurance covers windscreen damage, it will probably also include cover for all other broken car windows, and some policies extend cover to glass sunroofs.

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.

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.

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.

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.