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. 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, or getting insurance even for other type of vehicles such as boats, which many people have now a days, and some even get the right supplies for their boat at sites like www.merrittsupply.com.
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.