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Does your vehicle insurer risk your safety for profit?

Long gone are the days when the main purpose of a windscreen was to stop the wind or rain from ruining your hair-do, or prevent bugs flying into your face!  In today’s vehicles most automotive safety experts rank the windscreen as the third most important safety component after seatbelts and airbags. This suggests windscreen integrity may be a crucial factor in crash survivability. 

Here in New Zealand, approximately 80% of windscreen replacements are covered by insurance.With windscreens being such an important safety feature of modern vehicles, you would think that insurers would be focused on the importance of safe windscreen handling and installation.

- GIRL-IN-CAR.jpgNOT NECESSARILY … Unfortunately, some vehicle insurers in New Zealand have preferred repairer contracts with windscreen installers ultimately based on the cheapest price.  One well known domestic insurer has even removed the driver’s right to choose their own repairer and will insist that their clients use a repair company with a contracted maximum payout so low it would appear that safety has not been considered a priority at all.

These low fixed-price preferred repairer contracts could increase the risk that the repairer may cut corners in an attempt to maximise profits – perhaps they switch to a cheap urethane sealant or ignore glass preparation procedures. This could have disastrous consequences if the vehicle owner is unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.

A correctly installed windscreen will stay bonded to the vehicle during an accident. An incorrectly fitted windscreen could release on impact with potentially fatal consequences:

Without a windscreen in place:

  • your passenger airbags are useless;
  • the pillars by themselves cannot support the weight of the vehicle in a rollover, resulting in the roof crushing down on the vehicle occupants;
  • you are not kept inside the vehicle (most important if you choose not to wear a seatbelt)

How can you minimise the risk of having your windscreen installed incorrectly?

  1. If your vehicle has a factory fitted windscreen, do everything you can to keep it that way.  Get stone-chip damage repaired immediately.  Always choose a quality, repair focused company for your repairs, that way you can be assured you are not having your windscreen replaced unnecessarily.
  2. Do not rely on your insurer to provide the best referral.  Some insurers are focused on price and profit rather than quality and safety.  Always exercise your right to choose your own repairer so you can make an independent, informed decision on who services your vehicle.  (You do pay the premiums after all!)
  3. Always ask the installer who is fitting your replacement windscreen whether they consistently adhere to industry recommended safe handling and installation procedures.  These include:
    • preparing the glass and the body of the vehicle correctly before installation;
    • wearing protective gloves to ensure there is no contamination of the glass which could prevent the urethane curing properly;
    • using a top quality urethane sealant and making sure the client is aware of safe drive-away times.
  4. Call Supreme Screens - Our experienced technicians promise to repair your damaged windscreen if at all possible.  If a replacement is the only option, we will not cut corners or compromise safety for profit – EVER.  We use top of the line urethane sealants – exclusively – and all services are backed by a full, written guarantee.  We can take care of all insurance claims, saving you the hassle, and our mobile service is free.