High tech screens a kick in the glass for Ki­wis

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - FLEET MANAGEMENT -

The in­creas­ing cost of re­plac­ing the mod­ern tech­nol­ogy em­bed­ded in new car wind­screens will mean many con­sumers will no longer re­ceive free ve­hi­cle glass cover un­der their in­surance pol­icy, ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try ex­pert. Jo Ma­son CEO of Nzbro­kers, one of the coun­try’s largest in­surance bro­ker­age groups, says the change means own­ers of older ve­hi­cles will lose their free glass cover - even though the im­pact on in­sur­ers is due to the cost of re­pair­ing tech­nol­ogy only found in the new­est mod­els. “Some new ve­hi­cle wind­screens can con­tain a wide range of so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing cam­eras, radar, rain sen­sors, heat­ing el­e­ments, light sen­sors, UV pro­tec­tive cover and even acous­tic lam­i­na­tion - which can be ex­pen­sive to re­place. “We have seen one ex­am­ple of an in­surance claim for a new car re­place­ment wind­screen cost­ing up­wards of $15,000. “While we have seen ex­treme cases where wind­screen re­pair claims can reach this level, it is rare, as they are typ­i­cally in the very lat­est mod­els and ve­hi­cles re­tail­ing at more than $100,000. “Putting this in per­spec­tive, the av­er­age age of the four mil­lion ve­hi­cles in New Zealand’s fleet is over 14 years - you can pick up a stan­dard wind­screen for an older model for un­der $200,” Jo says. “Free glass cover has been a stan­dard fea­ture of most ve­hi­cle in­surance poli­cies in New Zealand for decades and we’ve al­ready had one in­surer say they will no longer pro­vide free glass cover as a re­sult of the higher cost of re­plac­ing wind­screens. “Our con­cern with this change is that for the vast ma­jor­ity of ve­hi­cles on the road, the cost to re­place their wind­screen is just a few hun­dred dol­lars, but the pol­icy change should not pe­nalise the own­ers of older ve­hi­cles who do not have the lat­est tech­nol­ogy. “Un­for­tu­nately, the change by one in­surer will mean that for all mo­torists – re­gard­less of the age of their ve­hi­cle – they are likely to lose the ben­e­fit of a re­place­ment wind­screen with no ex­cess at some stage in the fu­ture, if they haven’t al­ready,” Ma­son ex­plains. “Left unchecked, we be­lieve this trend could be­come com­mon­place among all in­sur­ers, which would be in­her­ently un­fair to most Ki­wis and could be bet­ter man­aged by pre­mium or ex­cess in­creases for just those cars with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy.” Ma­son says the change is likely to im­pact many mo­torists when they go to re­new their ve­hi­cle in­surance. “You should check with your in­surance bro­ker to en­sure you are ad­e­quately cov­ered in the event of ve­hi­cle glass re­place­ment. “While we haven’t seen this change im­ple­mented across all in­sur­ers yet, we be­lieve it is in­evitable that a maximum limit will be placed on the amount of wind­screen cover un­less con­sumer re­sponse to the po­ten­tial change sees them look for al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions. “Con­sumers need to make sure they speak to their bro­ker and read the pol­icy fine print when they next re­new their in­surance and con­sider shop­ping around for the best cov­er­age pack­age that suits them,” says Ma­son.

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