Blogpost: Windscreens Going High Tech

Considering Advancements in Windscreens & Adequacy of Cover

10th March 2021: Windscreens Going High-Tech & Gaps in Cover: 

You never thought about your windscreen cover before, but you should now!

In recent years we have been observing the huge advancements in motoring technology and the high-tech features of newer cars that exist to improve safety, and are steps on a long road to autonomous vehicles. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (or ADAS) are deployed with series of cameras, radars and sensors fitted around your car and sometimes calibrated with the windscreen.  It occurred to me recently that the motor insurance market is not quite catching up in terms of protecting motorists fully in relation to windscreen cover & the complexities of replacing the windscreen that these systems bring.

As insurance premiums have increased in recent years, consumers have become more price-orientated and pay less attention to the cover they are getting. Some insurers provide slimmed down policy options as a way to reduce premiums in a highly competitive motor market. This is fine if the customer is clear about the gaps, and is why it is so important as a broker that we explain to our clients the benefits, claims record, insurer quality, cover characteristics and not just the premium. This cost-versus-benefit question can really strike home when it comes to Windscreens.

One of our clients recently cracked the windscreen of their brand-new car. Our client had purchased comprehensive cover but was really upset to find out they were not fully covered for their windscreen replacement. How did this happen?

When it comes to windscreen cover, not all policies are created equally and windscreen is a separate element of your policy that does not fall under Comprehensive or Third-Party Fire & Theft. There is a limit to windscreen cover, well, usually two limits, one with an approved repairer and another smaller limit if you choose your own “unapproved” repairer.

Where is the Gap?

The cost to replace and recalibrate the windscreen was over €1,200 through their dealership. Whilst they wanted to go to their own dealership and have it fixed; their policy gave windscreen cover up to €500 with an approved repairer but with an unapproved repairer it was limited to €150. They were left with 2 options; use their own dealer and pay €1050 out of own pocket; use an approved repairer and pay around €200 out of own pocket.

This is less than ideal and regardless, the cover was not sufficient for the client’s needs.

We need to think about making sure cars are properly covered and the policies we sell give adequate protection!
From 2022 all new cars will have ADAS systems.

Estimate Windscreen Replacement Costs 

  • Land Rover Discovery (2018) €830
  • BMW 5 Series (2021) €704
  • Ford Fiesta (2018)  €505
  • BMW 730 D (2006) €502
  • Peugeot 3008 (2019) €480
  • Audi Q3 (2013) €334
  • Mercedes C class (2016) 
  • Volkswagen Passat (2015) €261

Common Windscreen Cover Levels with Irish Insurers

All insurance policies can differ in ways but we’ve reviewed the market and found the following trends:

  • Some insurers offer unlimited cover with an approved repairer or a smaller limit with an unapproved repairer of €250-€300
  • Some limit cover to €400 to €500 with a max of 2 claims per year
  • One insurer gives €400 via approved, or €250 unapproved.
  • Some will apply an excess of €30!
  • Some elite / high value car policies will give unlimited cover and no excess

What are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?

The high tech advancements in cars recently are collectively called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS. ADAS can warn drivers of potential dangers, improve safety by reducing both the severity and overall number of motor vehicle accidents. Road safety statistics have shown that ADAS is making a big impact on safety with 40% of cars on the road having these systems. Features such as Cruise Control, Rear Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Side Collision warning, blind spot protection & parking assist are all common ADAS features. When you replace a windscreen, even with an approved repairer, you must make sure the sensors are recalibrated as they’re often behind the rear-view mirror. Common windscreen technologies are acoustic glass, water sensors, anti-solar glare features. Even millimetres of misalignment could mean meters of miscalculation when in use! Recalibrating can cost from €200 -€400 depending on the features and may or may not be a service provided by the approved repairer.

What is the solution?

While clients might be tempted to go for the cheapest option, it is vital to check the wording and get advice from your insurance broker. Additionally, it is important you are using genuine parts and repairers who are qualified and have the specialist tools to handle ADAS technology and sensors.

Drivers should take the time to check their cover and it is important to remember our cars are getting more tech-savvy and ideally require full insurance protection. Clients with high value cars need to give this even more consideration.

Always talk to your broker for best advice in finding the right insurance product for you.

Brady Insurance are a motor insurance specialist since 1959 and can help secure the right motor insurance for you.

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