The cost of replacing a broken window
As a motorist there aren’t many things more annoying than a cracked windscreen. Especially as most of the time it isn't your fault.
You're happily driving along the motorway when a lorry kicks up a tiny stone which hits your windscreen. You may then watch in dismay as the tiny chip begins to widen; and as it expands you're totting up the cost.
Unfortunately, it isn't just a cracked windscreen which can ruin a motorist’s day. Theft and vandalism can result in broken windows.
Bringing it all home
Of course, it isn't just motorists who end up paying for new glass.
Research from Confused.com reveals that accidental damage is the number one reason for claiming on buildings insurance policies. For example, kids kicking a ball and breaking a window.
The second most popular claim was weather damage, when a window could be easily broken by a fallen tree or debris whipped up by a storm.
Whether a broken window happens at home or in the car it’s going to cost to get the window replaced. Who pays for this depends on blame, insurance (or lack of) and cost.
You could end up having to claim on household or car insurance, raiding the piggy bank for cash or you may consider an emergency loan.
Let's consider all the scenarios.
A broken window at home
If you are a homeowner it is usually black or white. You are either covered by insurance or you aren't. If not, you will have to pay out for a replacement window.
If you are insured you need to check your policy.
There are three main types of home insurance: contents only, buildings or a combined policy.
Contents insurance pays out for damage to, or loss of, your personal possessions so will not apply to a broken window.
However, buildings insurance covers the structure of the building including windows. Unsurprisingly, a combined policy will cover both structure and contents.
Even though you have buildings insurance you should still check your policy carefully but most should provide cover for a broken window.
However, there may be some restrictions depending on how the damage occurred. Whether the damage was caused accidentally or by vandalism for instance.
Accidental damage is often an insurance policy add-on, so it’s worthwhile to read the small print of your policy to check you’re covered.
Costing anything from £20 to £100, adding accidental damage cover could increase your annual premium by 20% but it is something definitely worth considering.
If you’re renting
If you are a tenant renting from a private landlord the situation is a little less clear cut. Landlords may insert clauses in the lease which state the tenant is responsible for the cost of repairing a broken window. But this may not be enforceable.
The landlord is responsible for damage to a window if it was broken because of structural problems or storms for example. But, the landlord is not responsible if the damage was caused by the tenant. If you have a family and a child kicked a football against the window and broke it, you would be responsible for the repair.
If you are a council tenant you can get the replacement window paid for under the 'right to repair scheme.' However, just like tenants in privately rented accommodation, if you are responsible for the damage you will have to foot the bill.
Whoever was responsible for the damage, and whether you or the landlord will be paying for the repair, you must immediately inform the landlord about the damage by phone and may need to follow up in writing.
Regardless of who is paying for the broken window, what do you do when you find the damage?
What to do when a property window breaks
- If you have home emergency cover, you should immediately contact your insurance company. Request an operative be sent so the broken window can be secured before the replacement pane of glass is installed. Tenants should contact their landlord.
- If you need to clear away the broken glass yourself, make sure to wear thick, protective gloves. Start by carefully collecting the biggest pieces of glass and disposing them where they can cause no harm. Then, sweep up the smaller shards of glass and empty them into a paper, not plastic, bag. If necessary, vacuum to collect any final errant shards. Needless to say, children and pets should be kept well away from the area while the clean-up is taking place.
- If a replacement window cannot be fitted immediately or there is no-one you can contact to secure the property. Temporarily board up the window using scrap wood. Ideally, this should be done with nails or screws from the inside to deter any trespassers.
- Once the area has been secured, all you can do is wait for the professionals to arrive and fit your new window. While you wait keep internal doors closed to keep draughts to a minimum.
Dealing with a broken car window or windscreen
This is a little more straightforward than dealing with a broken house window as we all have car insurance though of course all policies differ. Some will fully cover the cost of a repair or replacement though this is determined by the level of your cover.
- Third party insurance will only cover claims made by third parties in the event of an accident
- Third party fire and theft insurance will usually only pay out if the window was broken as a result of criminal damage. It won't cover accidental damage
- Comprehensive cover will usually cover accidental or deliberate damage
The tricky question of excess
If you can claim for the cost of replacing a broken window or windscreen you need to consider the question of excess.
Some policies will include a replacement windscreen at no cost to you and without affecting the excess. However, most will not so you need to carefully weigh the cost against the consequences of making a claim against your insurance.
If the costs are less, or only a little more than your excess, it won't be worthwhile losing your no-claims bonus.
However, if the cost is substantially more, or if you don't have the cash, and you decide to make a claim check your policy carefully. Your insurer may require you to use their approved repair specialist. They may not may pay out if you go to another garage.
If you are a member of a motoring organisation such as the AA your contract may include replacement broken windows and windscreen repair for free. If this is the case you have no need to contact your insurance company.
What to do when a car window breaks
- If your policy covers claims for broken windows, call your insurance company for instructions on using their approved repair centre
- Check if your breakdown cover will attend to your broken window if you’re on the road or at home
- If your insurance doesn’t cover you for the broken window, take your car (if drivable) to a reputable garage. Alternatively you could pay a fee for your car to be collected
If you don’t have insurance
If you don’t have household insurance or you don’t want to pay the excess on your car insurance, you are obviously left with the problem of finding the cash needed to cover the costs of a replacement window or windscreen.
If your savings are a little depleted you may wish to consider a short term loan to get over the emergency. A short term loan is ideal for covering one-off costs and, with Satsuma, you can apply online and have the cash in your bank account within an hour.
You can also choose to repay the loan over a time period which is best for you and schedule your repayments at either monthly or even weekly intervals.
With a Satsuma loan you also have the peace of mind which comes from knowing you won't be charged any fees, at any time. You just pay back the interest and the total amount you agree to when you take out the loan.
Applying is a straightforward process and we simply need to know whether you can afford to repay the loan. You can apply here.
Representative example: £480 loan repayable over 9 months. 9 monthly repayments of £106.56. Rate of interest 133.1% p.a. fixed. Representative 535% APR. Total amount payable is £959.04