With summer traffic about to ramp up across the country, AA Insurance is preparing for more windscreen claims and the costs that come with them.
AA Insurance operations GM Simon Hobbs says they typically see a rise in windscreen claims when Kiwis are on their Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
“However, while we saw usual seasonal trends with windscreen claims increasing through December to the end of March 2021, this year it has not tapered off to the usual degree through May, June, and July.”
Over the 12 months ending June 30, 2021, AA Insurance handled more than 25,000 windscreen claims worth almost $10 million – a 20 per cent higher volume than in 2020 and 12 per cent higher than in 2019.
The average cost for a windscreen is currently between $430-470, while the average cost five years ago was around $350 says Simon.
“As we head towards the summer months, it is likely people will be travelling around the country – Covid protection framework permitting – and we will see more cars on the road.
“This generally means more windscreen claims and, with the technological enhancements in modern cars, an increase in the cost of the average glass claim.
“Although New Zealand has a comparatively aging fleet of vehicles, this is gradually being replaced by newer models, which means we’ve seen an increase in the number of windscreens claims with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems technology, from seven per cent of claims to 12 per cent in the 12 months to June 30, 2021.”
In the past, fixing a windscreen was a relatively straightforward procedure, and involved simply replacing the glass. In modern vehicles, the procedure often involves recalibrating cameras or sensors and ensuring they are aligned and functioning.
As a result, a windscreen replacement could now cost up to $4000.
While AA Insurance’s main glass suppliers are having no difficulty keeping up with demand, there are occasional exceptions where dealerships do not have windscreens available locally. The wait time can be between six and 16 weeks thanks to Covid-related supply chain issues.
In addition says Simon, many businesses close over the summer holidays or operate with a skeleton staff, so the sooner drivers get their windscreen sorted the better.
“If you’re planning to hit the road this summer, ensure your car is in tip top condition early, including seeing to any windscreen chips and scratches.
“It’s also worth checking your insurance policy before you leave. Increasing windscreen repair complexity and costs really highlight the benefit of having the right cover for your car, such as excess-free glass cover so you don’t end up paying more than you must.
“Forward planning could save you money and time, which could be better spent with family and friends.”