“If your car is three years old or more, we may decide to repair it with recycled parts, or with parts which have not been made by the car’s manufacturer, but are of a similar standard.”
Interesting use of the word, ‘may’ which suggests it could be subject to discretion. The reality is, they will not allow an OE windscreen replacement. Technically, the claim settlement does not include any ‘in conjunction with’ parts, such as clips, mouldings or trims. The installer has to absorb that cost.
Go to the Damage to Your Car section of the same set of documents and the wording is quite different:
“We will only repair your car with parts made by the vehicles manufacturer. If any parts are no longer available, we will only pay the cost shown in the manufacturer’s latest price guide together with reasonable fitting costs. “
It’s not just in the wording. Here is a new tailgate fitted to a 2008 Peugeot 207 in for a crash repair at an Admiral-approved bodyshop:
Why should windscreens – and glass – be any different? Surely the same principle should apply in both claims? Why the disparity? If an 11 year-old car can have genuine body panels fitted as part of a claim, why then does the indemnity not extend to a four year-old car for a windscreen?
If you haven’t passed a shop with a chalkboard displaying the message you might have seen it splashed across a viral message being passed around on social media:
When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third holiday home.
You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, Mums & Dads put food on the table.
Thanks for shopping local.
Supporting and empowering small businesses is very much up my strasse. It’s why I am in business, fitting and repairing windscreens. The idea of buying local in the shadow of the dominance of larger corporations is central to what I believe in as a professional, and what I do every day. Therefore I should agree with the sentiment; and I do, but not in the way that it is pitched on these posts. Every time I see someone share something like the quote above and picture below (asking us to LIKE and SHARE) my heart pumps purple piss.
What about the the thousands of employees of those large corporations? Each individual – employed by that CEO’s business – relies on the wage that the corporation provides; they too may have daughters in dance lessons, or a son pining for a football shirt. That employee too is working to put food on the table. Let’s swerve the big business and put those people on the dole! Yay.
What happens if we all cave in to the sentiments on the ‘shared’ post and only buy from small shops? Small shops which will as a result get bigger and will then need to employ more staff, move to bigger premises, etc. When do we stop buying from THEM? The question is relevant because will will have to, as the CEO of this once small shop will be doing much better now that everyone is avoiding the big companies. Tesco started out as a small, local business.
The message also implies that by supporting a big business you are supporting greed, or that success should be limited, or even punishable.
It also suggests a sense of entitlement, ‘buy from us because we’re small’ and not because we’re any good. Buy from us because you should support us. One could argue, that buying your weekly shop from one of the leading supermarkets you are helping significantly more people than buying from your local corner shop.
Whilst the ‘buy local’ message isn’t hateful, it conveys the wrong sentiments. It portrays the politics of envy. The CEO has done well therefore must be bad and therefore needs to be punished. We used to look up to the people who did well for themselves, but now we should not like them? The focal point for the CEO’s success of that ‘third holiday home’ is also unrealistic. Nobody has to be a CEO to have or even want a holiday home. A few of my friends have a holiday home either in the UK (by the coast) or abroad. This might be timeshare; a comfy little apartment in a development or even a secluded house with its own pool. Isn’t this what many of us strive for? Why should the success of a CEO become the subject of such scrutiny?
Again, this message or supporting local businesses ‘because it helps the economy’ isn’t hateful but it distracts from reality. Money into the economy is money into the economy, but the message in pink chalk above doesn’t reflect that. It could however, promote benefits or reasons to buy from a small local business. The most important benefit is for its longevity and survival. Support your local pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops and they stay around, which means they pay business rates as well as making it a better place to live, which in turn makes your house worth a bit more.
When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance because they’re on their way to becoming a success; success that will hopefully enable them to live a more comfortable life…
Your reason to buy local or from a large corporation should be based on much more than just who benefits from your business. There’s a very strong argument to be had on why in some cases it is better to buy from a larger business.
When you buy from the one-man-band, you’re buying into that person who, hopefully, is pitching a business which shows exactly why they’re in business. Talk to a wide range of small business owners and you’ll undoubtedly hear varying reasons why they started on their own, “I was sick and tired of feathering someone else’s nest” or “my boss wasn’t paying me enough”. Very few, in fact it’s rare to hear of someone’s passion to deliver what they couldn’t whilst working within the confines of employment. “I wanted to offer a service which went beyond creating the conditions of a sale” etc.
Please don’t buy based on such lazy marketing or these meaningless and thoughtless messages which do not actually give a clear – and good – reason why you should buy from that business.
Comments and questions are always welcome. Please use the comments box below or email me directly.
Whether it’s a remedial (rust) repair, full body repaint or crash repair there is one small detail that many bodyshops – even windscreen installers – are overlooking.
If there are remnants of the old Polyurethane adhesive they must either be masked before painting or removed completely. Painting over cured urethane is not recommended as paint – or primer – does not adhere to it. From the moment fresh PUR is applied to it, it becomes a floating bit of paint ‘skin’ and will not form a strong bond once it cures. Urethane however, will stick to cured paint (provided it has been allowed a minimum of 24 hours after bake).
Before bonding to a freshly painted surface the ‘painted over urethane’ needs to be cut back to provide a suitable substrate. Any bare metal exposed must also be touched in with an adhesion promoter. For new, painted surfaces (ie where there is no old PUR) a line of primer is recommended by most manufacturers however it is more a belt-and-braces approach in a fast-fit environment for primer-less systems.
It is also important to allow enough time for the paint itself to cure. If the painting has been done in an oven, at least 24 hours is required after bake (to cool down). The longer it is left, the better.
You buy a car – a used car – and take it home. At some point you may have noticed a chip on the windscreen. The car seller may already have had it repaired, or will offer to have someone look at it, since there are great services from sites like hamiltonglassexperts.com that can help with this.
Take this a step further. If the car you bought has (or had) a chip in the windscreen which later developed into a crack, whose responsibility should that be? Should it be covered under the warranty terms? If the seller is deeming the repair good enough to sell the car with it there, what happens if that repair subsequently fails or worsens? A seller might say that glass repairs are not guaranteed (then why sell you the car with one?). In the event that the chip developed into a crack, the dealer might suggest you claim on your insurance or to fully replace it. The question then is about the damage being preexisting and therefore technically speaking not insured under the current policy as the loss would have occurred before inception, even more if you use a financial service such as 2nd chance auto sales to be able to pay for the car.
Would you accept the car seller’s offer to pay your excess? Showing you the money masks the issue as a) the damage isn’t really your insurer’s problem; b) your insurance will register a glass claim on your history and c) your insurer’s nominated repairer will probably want to chuck in a ‘copy’ glass and not a like-for-like replacement, ie, a genuine ‘OE’ part, you can find original used replacements at Westview Glass.
In most cases the insurer – your insurer – ends up taking one for the team because it’s an arrangement open for everyone to abuse. The underwriters however aren’t exactly rolling over for you. Their numbers allow for a percentage of glass claims which, compared to collision claims, is a minor loss. They have bigger fish to fry and by making such an allowance they’re simply letting you get on with it. There really is no onus; it’s just your conscience or moral compass guiding you.
A system which is easy to abuse just makes it easier for parties to shirk responsibility and let someone else put their hand in their own pocket. The wider implication of this means that more claims means higher premiums for everyone shopping for motor insurance.
When your insurer denies your request for a genuine ‘OE’ windscreen replacement, and insists that you might have to pay the difference between what they are prepared to pay for and what you want, ask them why they appear to be okay about paying for dealer parts if the car is in for accident repairs.
A chap had his windscreen replaced after it cracked. He followed his insurer’s instructions and their nominated repairer arrived to fulfill their obligation. The car is registered 2017, so fairly new and very much under warranty. The make and model is irrelevant; academic, as a claim is a claim regardless of the cost. This is the windscreen they fitted:
As you can see, it’s a Shatterprufe windscreen (a South African company) which is merely a copy of the original (and not manufactured in accordance with the blueprint which the car manufacturer owns). It is much cheaper than the original (a fraction of it, in fact) and it allows the nominated repairer to service their agreement by volume of work on the basis of exclusivity. The process, from the car owner’s point of view, was easy and as straight forward as he could hope for; he paid his excess and everyone lived happily ever after.
Some time after the event, the same chap in the same car had an episode with another driver on the road, and the car had to be taken into a crash repair centre. Just like when his windscreen was replaced, he was instructed to take the car to his insurance company’s nominated repairer. Again, all fairly easy and the car was returned to him after the repair work was completed. There was however, something a bit different in this process. All replacement parts were original equipment, i.e., genuine ‘main dealer’ parts. They were the same as what the car manufacturer used when the car was assembled. One of those replacement parts was the windscreen. This is what the same insurance company agreed to pay for and authorised the fitting of:
Glass cover and accident insurance are two components of the same indemnity, so why the disparity? Why apply dissimilar conditions to the same product which results in the use of premium products in one scenario and cheaper, inferior products in the other?
This is a stranglehold you are placed in by your insurer who do not make this clear before policy inception. Try removing glass cover from the proposal: “the computer says no”. Try to ascertain what will happen in the event of a claim scenario and it’s not really that clear. In fact, it’s confusing but you have to find where it states what the outcome would be in the event of a claim, and when you do – if you do – it’s difficult to understand.
“A firm must take reasonable steps to ensure a customer is given appropriate information about a policy in good time and in a comprehensible form so that the customer can make an informed decision about the arrangements proposed”.
In failing to define the outcome of initiating a claim by not stating that they will steer policyholders into using their nominated repairer (who in turn will use cheap and inferior parts) they are not presenting an important fact – or salient point – of the proposal. This should take place before policy inception, or, before you click on the ‘I accept the terms and conditions’ button. Conversely, the ‘proceed to payment’ button is harder to miss.
Whilst shaving the excess cured resin during this repair, the solar reflective coating became visible under the light in the workshop.
This particular windscreen is heated (embedded within the sandwich construction of the windscreen is a mesh of very thin heating wires which you will see in the image if you look closely; another more modern version of this is heated chemically via a silver/zinc oxide coated film within the glass).
Also within this windscreen’s layers is a ‘solar reflective’ coating (also known as solar reflective or athermic). Solar glass will allow sunlight to pass through it while radiating and reflecting away a large degree of the sun’s heat. This windscreen is also a HUD variant meaning it has a ‘wedge piece’ integrated within the PVB interlayer, This effectively is the surface onto which the image is projected. It also negates the ghosting effect you get on normal glass.
That chip you’ve had there for weeks or even months will not ‘turn into a crack’ because it’s cold outside. Fast forward to the summer and the same windscreen repair ‘experts’ will be urging you to ‘get that chip repaired’ because of the hot weather.
We may conclude from this that there is never a good time to have a chipped windscreen. In essence, this is correct however try telling that to the chap who has had a chip on his windscreen for three years (he doesn’t really care too much about the scaremongering because his car has passed its MOT three times since the chip appeared and it’s not in the wiper sweep zone).
Making one small change can potentially help towards preventing your windscreen from cracking.
Once your windscreen has cleared of condensation – or ice – channel the heat away from the windscreen (but keep the cabin warm). It’s not quite as simple, but essentially this is the basis: do not overheat your windscreen.
Direct heat to the inside of the glass will cause the inner layer to expand. While this is going on, the vinyl inter-layer will also soften. Meanwhile, the outer layer (the one with the chip on it) is exposed to a much colder temperature; the heat and movement behind it (plus the torsional forces working through the car’s chassis) could cause the chip to crack. Once the crack extends, it will continue to move until it (eventually) reaches an edge on the windscreen. The same principle works in the summer when you have a much cooler temperature inside the cabin and heat outside the car.
Redirect the blowers AWAY from the windscreen. It’s easy to forget the heater is on and channeling most of the generated heat to the windscreen. In the summer months, leaving the A/C on is great to keep the car cool but be mindful that the windscreen demist/defog is not directing all the cool air directly to the windscreen.
This is not an exact science as there are variables in the type of chip; its position on the windscreen; ambient temperature; temperature changes; the speed of temperature change; terrain (upon which the car is driven) and possibly even style of driving.
Not all insurance companies are bad, but the ones I have dealt with recently represent the industry.
I’ve insured my van with the same insurer (broker and underwriter) for the last four years. No claims, no convictions and not even an enquiry which could be classed as an unclaimed loss, yet the premium went from £580 (approx) in year one, to £660 in YR2; £820 in YR3 and year four made me a £999.00 fool for being a loyal customer. I’ve been struggling with my finances so I decided to try the eis scheme. This year they wanted more or less the same so I had a moan about the whole thing whilst reminding them that the SAME vehicle is now worth considerably less now than when they first insured it.
At first I got the expected, ‘insurance premium tax’ patter. I resisted and was subsequently offered the ‘fraudulent claims’ explanation; the chap – Iain – concurred that us honest types are getting shafted for the pleasure. Furthermore, insurance companies shafting each other when they can made for quite a depressing conversation which ended with me giving my now former insurer the elbow as I head for all that I could find on the internet. I found a few attractive quotes; the best one was less than half of what I was paying (or was invited to pay if I remained a loyal customer).
I opted to go with the cheapest option simply because I was familiar with the underwriter having had direct experience with them dealing with windscreen claims for customers, and also the issuing broker is well known in motoring circles. However, as I navigated my way through the questions I gathered a few of my own along the way:
1. The proposal included a replacement vehicle in the event of being without mine while it was being repaired. But when I got to the checkout stage to pay, a list of bolt-ons appeared on the same page, such as: cover for tools; breakdown recovery; key care; mis-fuel cover and… replacement vehicle cover. I clicked on the ‘more’ link and this additional product offered exactly what the policy included as standard. How many people would have clicked on this and “for just an additional £17.00” added the extra cover which is included in the proposal?
2. Throughout the whole proposal stage, I couldn’t find anything which told me more about the policy itself. In fact, I had to go through quite a bit of jargon to (eventually) find who the underwriter was in this instance. There was, however, no mention of who the approved repairer(s) was/were; no mention of what would happen in the event of a windscreen claim other than the words: you are covered (the point being, if there are restrictions on what parts will be used; who you can – or cannot – use to have them fitted or if there was a capping on the settlement if I basically didn’t adhere to the agreement (which I was struggling to understand).
3. After (reluctantly) accepting the terms I was sent a confirmation of policy inception. However no documents could be sent until a couple of points had been verified. The first was my occupation. I selected ‘windscreen fitter’ from the available categories and stated that I am employed by a company which I am also Director of. 24 hours into this new cover, a conversation with the insurance representative took place so that she could clear up some confusion over this. The other was that she had the vehicle down as a 4Motion. There may be a (very slim) chance that I entered this information incorrectly but I am 99.9% certain I didn’t (it was indexed from the VRN as a Highline T5 so flux knows where they got the 4 Motion bit from). The result of this meant that because of “these ammendments to the policy” there is a supplement to pay. A demand for and additional £46.00 is to be paid in the next SEVEN DAYS if cover is to continue.
question of an old SP30 came up (out of nowhere as I didn’t mention it
at any stage; a spent conviction dated 2012) and I said it shouldn’t be
considered. She said they will take my word for it. The issue here is,
if there is a doubt now, it might be a factor in the event of a claim,
so if we are about to enter into an agreement why not put it beyond
doubt? Hire companies do it before you rent a car from them (chuck ’em
you NI number and they’ll run a check) so why be so flippant about it?
Yes, the onus is on me to disclose but I didn’t mention it anywhere at
any stage (on the basis that I am not required to after seven years
although I’m sure it is ‘spent’ after four/five).
Half of me says I got a good quote to begin with so just let them have the 46-quid. The other half is saying no, b*ll*cks.
How the flux can tweaking my occupation AND/OR confirming the van as a slightly lesser spec than they thought initially result in a higher premium?
What’s tipped me over the edge with all this is that I received not one but TWO calls about the SAME proposal 12 hours into the cover stating that I had qualified for an INTRODUCTORY DISCOUNT if I gave them the business.
Will someone get hold of the insurance industry and give it a good shake, please?
Time and time again the caveat or disclaimer is added to a windscreen-needs-to-be-removed scenario is that it ‘might break’ on removal. Some will even go as far as saying that it actually will break when you try to remove it from the car. Bollocks.
These are the same people who jump onto a social media platform and bang their drum to celebrate their triumph as if they even surprised themselves: “Removed this windscreen INTACT”. What do they want, a medal for doing what windscreen fitters should be doing with their eyes shut?
Of course there is a risk of breakage – it’s glass, and we’re all not infallible – but it’s rare; less than 1%. With the benefit of experience most trained eyes will be able to identify a danger area where they might be faced with a tight spot, but then that same experience will guide them through it, under or around the problem.
Experience is knowing the pitfalls of your trade and more importantly, how to get around them.
The next time the person or company you’re trying to engage to remove a windscreen tries to wash their hands of any blame, ask them to explain how or why windscreens break on removal.
Aluminum windscreens. Yes, you read that correctly, ‘But aluminum is a metal, and a windscreen is made of glass?’ I hear you ask.
To help make this information easier to process, aluminum glass is actually, technically, transparent aluminum. A sample of transparent aluminum say, a tube, looks like a tube made of glass but it’s actually aluminum. Well, an asterisked aluminum; this is not elemental aluminum but rather a material made from it as the core ingredient.
Transparent Aluminum tube
Despite clearly not being a metal (and not a glass either; glasses are amorphous solids while ceramics are crystalline) transparent ceramics demonstrate impressive properties. Transparent aluminum is produced by a process called sintering. Powdered ingredients are poured into a mould, compacted under tremendous pressure, and cooked at high temperatures over long periods. The resulting translucent material is then ground and polished to transparency ready for use.
Aluminium Oxynitride ( “ALON” ) is a ceramic composed of aluminium, oxygen and nitrogen. .
Aside from being optically transparent (≥80%) in the near-ultraviolet, visible and midwave-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, ALON is four times harder than fused silica glass; 85% as hard as sapphire, and nearly 15% harder than magnesium aluminate spinel. Since it has a cubic spinel structure, it can be fabricated to produce transparent windows, plates, domes, rods, tubes and other forms using conventional ceramic powder processing techniques. Tests show that a laminated pane of ALON 1.6″ thick can stop a 50 caliber rifle round, something even 3.7″ of traditional “bullet-proof” glass can’t do. ALON also has better optical properties than regular glass in the infrared wavelengths; where most glasses absorb IR, ALON is essentially transparent to it. That makes ALON a great choice for the windows on heat seeking missiles and other IR applications.
ALON also demonstrates superior scratch resistance.
SHUT UP and TAKE MY MONEY!
While the technology exists, there is currently no demand for automotive windscreens. Unbreakable and damage-resistant glass is undoubtedly a game-changer which could spell trouble for many AGRR businesses. However, in applications such as mobile phones, the increased demand for such a material will drive costs down, but windscreens might take a while longer.
An ‘aluminum windscreen’ presently could cost in the region of £30,000-40,000, a price tag which even Monty Brewster might balk at.