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How much does it cost to replace a windscreen?

This article gives you the lowdown on windscreen repairs, replacements and how you may be able to cover the cost of it through your insurance.
Hail Damage Car cracked windscreen

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Your windscreen. You don’t really think too much about it; generally you just look straight through it.

Of course, sometimes it might need a wash, but it does a good job keeping you dry, and protected from the elements. It actually does a whole lot more. It also plays an important part in the structural strength of your car, and has a vital role in the safety of your vehicle.

So it’s crucial that you look after it. If it’s chipped or shattered, you’re going to need to replace it or repair it for roadworthy purposes.

How much does it cost to replace a windscreen?

It’s probably more than you think. These days, our windscreen is a lot more than a plain old piece of glass. They’re highly specified and often must be specially calibrated to work with a lot of the technology we find in many modern cars. Things like cameras and safety sensors for braking, and advanced steering systems, all depend on the windscreen. It’s a highly technical and important piece of the car, so when it comes to replacing it, it’s not typically a quick, cheap fix.

This means prices vary, but it could easily be over the $1,000 mark to have a high-tech windscreen replaced and correctly calibrated to work with the car’s technology. This varies with the age, make and model of your car, of course, and a cheaper windscreen replacement might come in at around $300. So it could be worth knowing what your windscreen would cost to replace when weighing up the benefits of paying the extra insurance premium to have it covered.

Does Car Insurance cover the cost of windscreen replacement?

It depends on your level of cover. If you have a Comprehensive insurance policy, then generally the cost of replacing a windscreen is included in the accidental damage part of your cover. If you have an excess on your policy, then this will probably apply to the cost of windscreen repair, as it does to any other repairs. Windscreen claims vary with different insurers, so check the terms carefully with your provider.

The other option is adding windscreen cover as an extra to your policy, and can come with a reduced or no excess. There are sometimes conditions on how many times per year you can claim for windscreen damage, so it’s important to check your policy to know where you stand.

If you have a newer car, it will also be worth checking just how much you’re covered for, as we said earlier a high-tech modern car windscreen needs a lot more insurance than older versions. Your insurer may just cover the cost of replacing an average priced windscreen. You don’t want to be left without cover...or a windscreen.

To replace or repair? That is the question.

Generally, the cost to repair a windscreen with a chip or small crack is typically cheaper than going for a full replacement. It’s important, though, that you know just how damaged the windscreen is. Failing to have your windscreen correctly repaired can have very serious consequences for your safety because it could compromise the airbag operation and result in serious wounds from broken glass. So it’s crucial that any repairs are carried in compliance with strict international standards.

What causes most windscreen breakages?

The main culprits for windscreen breakages are:

  • Stones and debris: We’ve all driven over newly-gravelled roads and experienced those flying chips of stones thrown up by other cars that can easily damage your windscreen. It’s normally the car in front that causes the problem, so keeping a bigger distance on a loose surface could save you the grief.
  • The weather: Hail, dust storms, extreme wind blowing tree branches down. These things are not windscreen friendly. If you can, keep your car undercover, especially if the weather forecast looks grim.
  • Extreme heat changes: We do live in Australia and sometimes our windscreen heats up in the sun and cracks if we suddenly hit it with freezing air con. Or, for those in the southern states, applying extremely hot water to defrost your windscreen in the morning can have the same negative result, a broken windscreen.
  • Crashing: Of course it won’t necessarily just be your windscreen that bears the brunt of a crash, but it could be an additional cost, and an out of pocket one, if you’re not insured.

Other factors like the quality of the glass in your existing windscreen, and whether it was correctly fitted, will also affect the longevity of your glass, as will maintenance. A previously chipped windscreen can easily turn into a shattered one unless it’s correctly repaired in time.

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Last updated: 08/02/2022

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