Getting a chipped or damaged car windscreen is a hassle every driver would rather avoid. 

It typically happens when stones or gravel are thrown up by the tyres of other vehicles.

Unfortunately, a chip can quickly turn into a crack, which can be very dangerous to drive with and - depending on the size and location of the crack - could mean you are breaking the law if you continue to drive your car. It could also mean you fail your MOT.

So what can you do minimise the chances of getting a chipped windscreen? And if it does happen, what should you do? 

What to do if you get a chipped windscreen

However carefully you drive, sometimes it can be impossible to avoid getting a chipped windscreen. 

A chip could develop into a crack at any time - and often when you least expect it. That's why it's important to repair a windscreen chip as soon as you spot it.

So, what should you do? Your options are to either have your windscreen repaired or replaced entirely. But it makes much more sense to go for a repair. A repair ensures that your windscreen is brought back to its appropriate structural strength and, according to Autoglass®, and is usually much cheaper than a replacement. 

It’s the much greener option too. Autoglass'® ‘repair first’ approach reduces the amount of waste and impact on the environment, as repairing your windscreen actually generates 10 times less CO2 emissions than a replacement, reducing the amount of pollution released into the environment. Additionally, as part of their environmental responsibility, Autoglass® recycle 100% of glass waste^.

How to avoid a chip becoming a crack

If you opt to have your windscreen repaired, then in the meantime, there are some things you can do to help prevent your chip turning into a crack.

  • Increase your air conditioning or heating gradually to avoid any sudden temperature changes
  • If you have a chip in your windscreen in the winter, avoid using hot water to defrost your windscreen. This is never a good idea!
  • In the summer, avoid parking in direct sunlight.
  • Avoid slamming car doors, as this could make the glass crack.

Remember to avoid those potholes too. 

While you should try and have your windscreen repaired if you can, sometimes the type, size and position of the chip on your window will mean it can’t be done and a replacement is a must. The same is true if your windscreen is cracked.

Watch this short video from Autoglass® to help you understand whether you need a damaged windscreen replaced or repaired. 

Can I claim for a windscreen replacement on my insurance?

If your windscreen can’t be repaired and needs replacing, then you may be able to claim on your motor insurance policy. But this varies between policies. 

If your motor insurance does include cover for glass damage, then you’ll usually need to pay your excess, which is the amount you pay towards a claim.

Windscreen repairs* are included for Ageas Car Insurance customers

Get it repaired rather than replaced - if you use our approved provider and a windscreen or window can be repaired instead of being replaced, you save paying a £60 policy excess. For more details about our windscreen and window cover see Section B of the policy book. View more details

How to avoid chips

While it’s impossible to totally prevent your windscreen from getting chipped or cracked, there are a few steps you can take to help reduce the chances of it happening. 

  • Keep your distance from the vehicle in front

Windscreen damage is often a result of chips being kicked up by the vehicle in front of you.

So, always try to keep some extra distance. Lorries and other large vehicles are particularly bad culprits because they have large wheels - and often lots of them - that kick up more bits of road debris, which then travels further. 

Keeping a safe distance is a good driving habit anyway, as it gives you time to react and stop if you need to.

  • Steer clear of roadworks

Staying away from roadworks is easier said than done. But given digging and drilling can create grit and debris, try to avoid them if at all possible.

  • Slow down

Driving too quickly over uneven surfaces can increase the chances of stones or debris getting flicked up.

  • Avoid potholes

Here’s another good reason to avoid potholes: if your windscreen already has a small crack or chip, then hitting a pothole can send vibrations throughout your car and make the problem worse.

Other causes of damaged windscreens include using boiling water to defrost your windscreen on a freezing day, or leaving your car sitting in direct sunlight on a very hot day.  

Check out the Solved car hub for tips for drivers and staying safe on the roads.

 *These benefits are not available under our Essentials Car Insurance. Please see our policy documents for more information. 

^Operating a ‘Repair First’ approach avoiding over 2.5k tonnes of waste (2021)"