Direct Line magazine

Repairing or replacing your windscreen

Updated on: 14 September 2023

a cracked windscreen obscures the view from within a car

Windscreens can chip for a whole manner of reasons, but often it’s down to changes in the weather.

Rain and wind can lead to more debris on the roads, which can easily flick up from other vehicles. Changing temperatures and wet weather can cause your windscreens to contract and expand, leading to chips and cracks.  

So, it’s safe to say autumn brings the perfect (if you can call it that) conditions for chips to happen.

We know having a chipped windscreen can be scary, particularly if it turns into a crack. So, if you notice a chip or crack in your windscreen, act fast. The quicker you do something, the more likely it can be repaired instead of replaced.

Here’s what to do if you spot a chip in your windscreen.

Dig out your paperwork

First of all, you need to check your car insurance documents.

How insurers treat windscreens can vary from company to company, but most cover replacement windscreens or repairs. Most insurers have preferred companies they use to repair damaged windscreens for their customers. For example, Direct Line uses Autoglass.

The Devil is in the detail

Some insurers don’t charge any excess (the amount of money you pay towards the claim) as long as you use their preferred windscreen company. Some will charge excess for replacements but not repairs. Others will make you pay the excess whoever you go to and whatever you've done.

Of course, the excess varies from company to company. With some insurers, the excess can be so high that it’s cheaper to pay from your own pocket. This is why it’s important to check your insurance policy before you contact any windscreen companies directly.

Windscreen cover is a good thing

While autumn may increase the risk of windscreen chips, they can happen all year round. As you can’t literally put a cover on your windscreen to protect it all the time, having it covered by your insurance is the next best thing. 

Windscreen repair companies are used to dealing with insurers, and it’s in their interest for you to use their services. So, they’re on your side and will usually help to smooth the process.

If your insurance doesn’t cover windscreen repair or replacement, you may be pleasantly surprised at how affordable a small repair can be. But if your car has features such as rain-sensing windscreen wipers or a heated or panoramic windscreen, the cost of a replacement can be high.

Will windscreen repair affect your insurance price or No Claim Discount?

It’s worth mentioning if you’ve made a windscreen claim when an insurer asks if you’ve used your insurance, because technically you have.

How they then use that information depends entirely on individual insurers. Some will take a year off your No Claim Discount if you’ve made a windscreen claim. Some might increase your next premium. Others won’t be interested whatsoever. 

Repairing cracked windscreen

Do you need to have a stone chip repaired?

No matter how small a chip in a windscreen is, it will need repairing. This is because any imperfection is a weakness in the windscreen’s surface.

According to Autoglass, the windscreen provides up to 30% of a car’s structural strength. A chip can develop into a crack at any point as a lot of force goes through it, particularly over rough roads.

While chips can be repaired, cracks can’t – so it’s potentially much cheaper to have windscreen damage assessed and fixed promptly before it deteriorates.

Our advice? Get that chip looked at as soon as you spot it.

How do windscreen repair services work?

To repair a chipped windscreen, a technician will clean the area and then fill it with a clear resin with a similar optical property to glass. This will prevent dirt or moisture from getting in and stop vibrations affecting it, which should stop a chip from turning into a crack.

If you have car insurance with Direct Line and need to repair or make a claim for your damaged windscreen, our partners at Autoglass will handle it all for you.

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