Spend on windshield insurance instead of a better car alarm system

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Crime Scene
Crime Scene

Recently our car was broken into, despite being parked in what I thought was a relatively safe place. While getting the broken window replaced, I learned that a key consideration when designing car windows is that they shatter safely, so as not to injure passengers. Car windows are not primarily designed to keep the crooks out; in fact the police officer who inspected our car was surprised that the burglars apparently needed to hit our window more than once in order to break it.

A corollary is that car windows are easy to replace. If you design something to break, you might as well make it easy to swap. Many car windows are apparently held in place by just two little hinges (as is ours) and the entire replacement process takes 15 minutes.

What this means is that you are probably better off paying for optional “glass insurance” than you are for a better car alarm system. If someone wants to break into your car, the alarm is not going to stop them. It might even lead them to damage the door or other parts of the car that are more expensive to repair than the window 😉

In Australia, even “comprehensive” insurance packages do not usually cover damage to windows or windshields. In our case this is an optional extra that costs around $60/year. It turns out that each window costs around $200 to replace (the deductible is typically around $500). So at least to me, this seems a worthwhile extra to pay for.

3 Responses to "Spend on windshield insurance instead of a better car alarm system"
  1. How many car windows have you had broken in all your history or car ownership? I owned cars for over 10 years and never had to replace a window, and though I did have windshield cover automatically under my policy, you wouldn’t find me paying $60 extra for that kind of cover. That would have equated to (keeping the math simple) $600 spent over 10 years. I’d rather take the risk of paying $200 periodically.

  2. Hi Nicola, yes. As with other insurance decisions, whether to spend on it depends upon each person’s risk profile (car type, driving habits, safety in your neighborhood, number of teenagers in the family, etc…). These shape the chance that an undesired event happens. It may be that in your case the additional cost is not worth the expected benefit of being insured.

    In our case, it has been worthwhile: a few years ago we had a situation where our windshield was cracked by a pebble that shot up from another vehicle driving in front of us. Windshields cost quite a bit more to replace than windows, and $200 covers only one window.

    The point I was trying to make is that conditional on there being an accident or burglary, it is better to have spent on glass insurance than on “better” car security. If anything were to happen to a car, the chance of glass breakage seems higher than I had earlier thought. Yet while browsing around the web I noticed a lot of talk about spending on rather expensive security systems.

  3. My policy is that insurance is designed to make a profit, so it is not in my interest to buy it unless it is for something that I cannot afford to replace. So house and contents yes, but no extras for fridge etc. Comprehensive car insurance, but not glass.

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