How to repair a chipped windscreen (and what it means for your insurance)

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Chipped windscreen
Top tips
What are the rules?
Windscreen insurance
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Chipped windscreen

A small chip in your windscreen might not seem like a big deal – but it could end up creating a big dent in your pocket if you decide to ignore it.

That’s because small chips often end up as big cracks. And while a small chip can be easily fixed, a crack can’t be. The only option is to replace the entire windscreen, and that isn’t cheap.

The good news is that fixing your windscreen probably won’t affect your no claims bonus. And it’s quick, easy, and cheap to do – if the damage is small and you catch it early.

A chipped windscreen could land you an MOT fail - or even a fine. You can repair it cheaply, though, and it (normally) won’t hurt your NCB.

Tips to avoid a chipped windscreen

Most chipped windscreens are caused by bad luck, not bad driving. And it doesn’t take much to do it. Just a tiny stone flicked up by the wheels of another car can cause a surprising amount of damage.

There are a few things you can do to lower your risk of a chip or crack, like keeping a good following distance from the car in front of you.

Other things that help include:

  • Taking care with extreme temperatures. Never pour boiling water on a frosted windscreen – the sudden change in temperature can make it crack. Less common, but still risky, is blasting the air con to fridge-like temperatures inside the car when it’s extremely hot outside.
  • Keeping your windscreen wipers in good shape. The advice is to change your wipers once a year. Little bits of dust and gravel can scratch and damage your windscreen over time, especially if the wipers are worn and not working properly.
  • Filling up your fluids. Make sure to keep your wiper fluid and anti-freeze topped up at all times.
  • Driving carefully on untarred roads. If you take a corner too quickly or drive too fast on a gravel road you run the risk of kicking up little stones. The same goes for badly kept roads full of potholes.
  • Watching where you park. It’s always a good idea to move your car to a safer spot if someone is mowing the lawn or doing roadworks or building work near where you’ve left your car.
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What are the rules?

Can I drive with a chipped windscreen?

It is against the law to drive with a cracked windscreen. If you get stopped by the police, you could be fined and get three points on your licence.

You might get away without a fine, or just a warning, if you have a very small chip that isn’t blocking your view of the road – but that’s not a risk worth taking.

Even small chips and cracks can be dangerous for driving. They can create a distracting glare that makes it difficult to see or concentrate on the road. Accidents happen in a split second, so a good, clear view of the road is important at all times.

Will a chipped windscreen fail an MOT?

Yes and no. It all depends on how big the chip is and where it is on your screen:

  • If you have a chip that’s bigger than 40mm anywhere on your windscreen, that’s an instant MOT fail.
  • If the chip is smaller than 40mm, but outside of the driver’s main viewing area – called ‘Zone A’ in MOT jargon – you can still pass an MOT.
  • If you have a chip bigger that 10mm inside Zone A – the area roughly covered by the driver’s wiper blade – that’s an instant MOT fail too.

Even if you pass your MOT with a chipped screen, you can still get fined and issued points by the police. An up-to-date MOT is not enough to get you out of trouble with the law – another reason to get those chips seen to right away.

Nothing ruins your day like a chipped windscreen
Nothing ruins your day like a chipped windscreen

Windscreen insurance

Will insurance cover my windscreen claim?

If you have comprehensive insurance, there’s a good chance you’ll have windscreen cover included with it – either in the main policy or as an add-on.

When you claim for a chip repair or a windscreen replacement, you’ll have to pay an excess to your insurer (this is the amount you pay towards the cost of any claim). It will obviously be higher for a windscreen replacement than for a chip repair.

If windscreen cover is not included with your insurance, you will have to claim for any windscreen damage on your main policy, which may have a higher excess and could affect the price of your insurance.

Sometimes, it’s cheaper to pay out of your own pocket to have a chip fixed. Depending on the size of the chip, this can cost from as little as £40.

Will a chipped windscreen impact my no claims bonus?

Luckily, most windscreen claims won’t impact your no claims bonus, especially if you have windscreen cover as an add on to your main policy. But every insurer is different, so always make sure before you make a claim.

If you have made a windscreen claim in the last five years, you need to tell your current insurance company about it. Again, it probably won’t affect your insurance costs, or your no claims bonus – but there’s no guarantee.

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Even if your windscreen is perfect, you need insurance to drive on the roads.

At Cuvva we have a policy for everyone, with our temporary car insurance policies lasting from 1 hour to 28 days.

Whatever you fancy, it only takes a few minutes to get a quote.

Updated on 3rd April 2023