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Car Windscreen Costs: Repair vs Replacement

Car windscreen

Even if a chip in your car windscreen seems small and insignificant, or isn’t in your line of sight, you might want to consider getting it fixed. A damaged car windscreen can present a safety issue on the road – but there are steps you can take to get it rectified, and it might even be covered by your car insurance.1  

According to the Auto Glass Association (AGA), an Australian peak body, your car windscreen provides up to 30% of your car’s structural strength, and can even help to hold airbags in the correct position when they’re activated.2 

Still not convinced that little chip needs some attention? A small chip could become a bigger problem if it’s not repaired, and can lead to larger cracks that might require a full car windscreen replacement. 

So how do you know when to replace or repair your car windscreen, and how much might it cost? In this article, we’ll break down the differences between repairing and replacing your car windscreen, how much you might be expected to pay, and the ​​types of insurance that might help cover the cost of replacement. 

How do I know if my car windscreen can be repaired? 

The good news is, not all windscreen damage will necessarily require a full car windscreen replacement.  

Glass specialist O’Brien advises it may be possible to repair a chip if it’s located at least five centimetres from the edge of the windscreen, and is smaller than a five-cent coin if facing the driver, or smaller than a one-dollar coin if it’s in front of the passenger.3 

“Over time, small chips can crack, which can be very dangerous and might lead to the entire windscreen having to be replaced,” says Nick Street, Commercial Director at O’Brien. 

“The easiest thing drivers can do to avoid having to replace their entire windscreen is to repair the chip as soon as it occurs – no matter how small it seems.” 

What factors can affect the cost of a car windscreen replacement? 

If you do need a car windscreen replacement, there are a number of factors that could determine the cost, including your car’s make and model and certain technological features your car might have. 

It used to be the case that a windscreen technician could come to you and replace your windscreen glass quickly and easily, but advances in vehicle technology now mean a car windscreen replacement can be a more complicated, time-consuming and costly process. 

“Car windscreens and glass in vehicles more generally have really evolved, especially in the past five to six years. This is thanks to the advent of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which are essentially a range of sensors – normally cameras – that are involved in interpreting the environment around the vehicle,” explains Street. 

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), examples of ADAS technologies found in some new cars include:4 

  • Blind spot monitoring 
  • Adaptive cruise control 
  • Following distance warning 
  • Lane keep assist 
  • Lane departure warning 
  • Self-parking 
  • Adaptive headlights 
  • Fatigue warning 
  • Traffic-jam assist4 

Street says these technologies can make windscreen replacement more complicated than when a car windscreen was just a piece of laminated glass. 

“These days when we’re replacing a windscreen, the cameras that are used as part of the ADAS need to be recalibrated to maintain the integrity of the system post-replacement,” he says. 

“The process can differ slightly depending on the model of the car, but the entire replacement can take upwards of two hours to complete.” 

Other technologies can also affect the cost. 

“The cost to replace a car windscreen has increased over the years due to the advancements in windscreen technology, ranging from rain sensors and heated glass to light sensors and shaded glass,” explains Marni Jackson, Youi Head of Product – Vehicle. 

How much is a car windscreen replacement? 

The cost of replacing your car windscreen will typically depend on the make and model of your car but, according to AutoGuru, you might be expected to pay $300 in some cases, while in other situations, car windscreen replacement can cost upwards of $1,000.5 

Street says not only can the glass itself be more expensive for vehicles with ADAS technology, but the subsequent recalibration may also require specialist conditions, which can add to costs. 

“It used to be that a windscreen replacement could happen in your driveway, but the static recalibration of ADAS cameras requires a controlled environment which now means you’ll likely need to visit a store,” he advises. 

How much is a car windscreen repair? 

Not only can repairing a chip help maintain the integrity of your car windscreen, it’s also generally a less costly process than replacing the entire windscreen. 

“Repairing your existing windscreen or window instead of replacing it with a new one is usually cheaper and easier, but it always depends on the extent of the problem,” according to the AGA.6 

The good news for those who own cars with ADAS technology, Street says, is that unless the chip or crack is obstructing the view of the ADAS cameras, a repair can often be a simple process. 

Street adds that a repair with O’Brien could normally cost around $150, depending on the size of the chip or crack.  

“When you consider the time and materials involved for both processes, a chip repair makes more sense when it comes to minimising costs, inconvenience and impact on the environment,” he says. 

Does car insurance cover car windscreen replacement costs? 

If you have ​comprehensive car insurance, your policy might include coverage for car windscreen replacement, although you may have to pay an excess. 

At Youi, Jackson says windscreen replacement is covered by your Comprehensive car insurance if the damage is caused by an insured event.1 

“We may also offer you the option to bring down your basic excess for claims that solely involve your car windscreen, window glass or sunroof glass to only $50,” she says.7  

“Adding this option will increase your premium. However it’s worth highlighting that we don’t limit that to one claim per year. It’s simply a reduced basic excess for windscreen claims.”7 



1 Available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft car insurance policies. Exclusions, limits and additional fees may apply. For more details see the T&Cs and Car PDS
2 Source: Auto Glass Association – Consumer Safety 
3 Source: O’Brien – Windscreen Chip Repair  
4 Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems 
​​5 Source: AutoGuru – Windscreen Replacement  
6 Source: Auto Glass Association – Frequently Asked Questions 
7 An additional cost applies and is available with Comprehensive policies. The excess that will apply to windscreen claims will be shown on your policy schedule. For more details see the T&Cs and Car PDS