De-mist-ifying Windscreens

The windscreen is an important safety feature on your vehicle. Unfortunately, the questionable state of some of our roads can result in frequent chipping and cracking of windscreens. While chip repair is inexpensive, replacement can be a very costly exercise. 

Windscreen Chips vs. Windscreen Replacements 

Windscreen Chips

A flying stone can cause a small chip in your windscreen, which if left unattended, can start to run, eventually forming a nasty crack. Chips typically take the form of a star which can easily be repaired, should they be smaller than a 50c piece. Anything larger will need to be assessed by a windscreen technician to ascertain if it can be a repaired or if the windscreen needs to be replaced.

Left unrepaired, chips will soon start to run and then the windscreen will have to be fully replaced. Windscreen chip repair is fully covered under comprehensive vehicle insurance with no excess applicable. 

Windscreen Replacements

Replacements are necessary when a crack has formed through the windscreen, compromising the structural integrity of the windscreen. If the crack is in direct line of sight of the driver or close to the edge of the windscreen, the windscreen must be replaced immediately.

Cracks also form from a chip that has been left unattended. Windscreens are also prone to cracking when the temperature of the glass changes dramatically. This can happen when rain follows a hot afternoon or when the rear demister is accidentally left on.

The replacement of a windscreen usually takes around 45 minutes to complete. Thereafter, the vehicle needs to stand on a flat surface for roughly two hours before being driven, to allow the polyurethane seal to cure or set.  

Original (OEM) Windscreens vs. Generic Windscreens

Let’s look at the essential difference between an Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) windscreen and a generic windscreen.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Windscreens

An OEM windscreen is designed by the vehicle manufacturer, but not necessarily manufactured by them. These windscreens tend to be very expensive and usually carry an excess, which is payable to the repairer upon fitment of the windscreen.

A “Shatterprufe” windscreen is considered original equipment and is therefore more expensive than a generic and also carries the same excess as the OEM windscreen. The excess is usually around 20% to 25% of the cost of replacement. 

Generic Windscreens

Also known as alternative windscreens, these windscreens are manufactured using the same manufacture techniques and to the same standards as the OEM or “Shatterprufe” versions. They are SABS Approved and meet European NCAP safety standards.

Mostly manufactured in China, they carry a much lower price tag and for this reason, most insurance companies will waive the windscreen excess when fitting a generic as a replacement.

It is important to mention that generic windscreens are not available for all makes of vehicles and many vehicle warranties do not permit the use of generic windscreens.

So, when the time comes for you to submit a windscreen claim, we will advise you whether a generic is available for your vehicle and what the difference in cost to you will be. The choice whether to go with OEM or Generic will be ultimately be yours.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)

Hamish Hardres-Williams
Claims Consultant
FPM Short Term Insurance Brokers
011 778 9300