What may seem like a humble piece of glass, your car’s windscreen actually has a number of important features.
However, these can be compromised – along with the integrity of the whole windscreen, by chips and cracks. Even small nicks caused by rocks or debris may or can quickly grow. What starts as a simple (and cheap) repair can rapidly turn into a full windscreen replacement. Here’s all you need to know about windscreens and windscreen cover:
How does a chip or crack affect my windscreen?
As soon as a chip appears on your windscreen, it will begin to affect the windscreen’s structural integrity. If a chip or crack is larger than 25mm (the size of a $2 coin), your car will fail its WOF.
The windscreen is classified as a safety device – it doesn’t just keep the wind off our faces and bugs out of our mouths. In a car accident, the windscreen acts as both a structural element of the car (keeping the roof from collapsing) and as a kind of “backboard” for the passenger side airbag.
If a car has a crack in the windscreen and has an accident, the windscreen is more likely to fail – resulting in crushed roofs and less effective airbags. A windscreen also acts as a barrier to keep occupants or objects in a car if seatbelts fail.
Novus General manager John Love says chips and cracks attract dirt and grime, which can contaminate the plastic interlayer. "The longer damage is left, the more likely it is to increase in size through physical movement and thermal changes, making it less likely to be repairable."
Repairing versus replacing
There are a number of reasons why it's better to get a chip or crack repaired quickly before it becomes a full glass replacement. For a simple repair, a glass technician can often come to your home or work, and will take around 20 or 30 minutes to complete the fix. A windscreen replacement has to be done at the repairer's workshop and can take around 3 - 4 hours - or more if the glass needed is not in stock.
"There are also environmental benefits of repairing vs replacing. Every windscreen replaced is 12kg of glass that needs to be recycled and a number of by-products that have to be disposed of in landfills" says Love.
Stats from Smith & Smith say that the waste from 40 windscreen repairs fits into the palm of your hand, while the waste from 40 windscreen replacements fits into a dump truck, and that 90% of windscreen damage starts as chips - so think about how many dump truck loads could be saved if damage is repaired as soon as it appears!
Is my windscreen covered?
If you have AMI Comprehensive Car insurance, you’re covered for damage to your windscreen. If you have Third Party, Fire and Theft insurance, you can add glass breakage cover for broken windows, windscreens and sunroofs.
Will a windscreen claim affect my No Claims Bonus?
If you have glass excess buy-out, glass breakage cover or Freebmax (conditions apply), your No Claims Bonus won’t be affected if you make a claim on your windscreen.
Will I have to pay an excess?
If you have glass excess buy-out added to your policy, you won’t have to pay an excess if you claim for your windscreen.
Get your windscreen fixed before it’s too late or becomes a bigger problem. Contact AMI today to find out more, or add our great windscreen extras to your policy.