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FAQs on coverage for Windscreen, Sun-roof, Soft-top & other Accessories
Q: What is windscreen coverage?
A: Basically, a comprehensive motor insurance policy would cover any part of the vehicle that is factory-fitted, including the windscreen, from accidental damage. For any claim made, the excess would apply and the NCD reduced accordingly.
However, there are some parts, eg the windscreen that are more prone to breakage or accident damage. Vehicle owners want to have a coverage without affecting the NCD and paying the excess.
Thus, the insurers came up with a separate coverage for windscreen and normally package this into the comprehensive policy. You may look at it as a mini-policy attached to the main policy. This covers the windscreen only. If you make a claim under this mini-policy, the main policy excess is not applicable*. The NCD is also NOT affected. Once such a claim is made, there is no more coverage for the remaining part of the main policy unless the owner pays a reinstatement premium to the insurer to have another mini-policy incepted.
* most windscreen policies have NO excess but do refer to the exact policy conditions for individual cases.
Q: What is reinstatement charge for windscreen policy? How does it work?
A: Supposed Mr TAN bought a comprehensive insurance coverage for 1 year: 1 Jan 2005 to 31 Dec 2005. On 10 Mar 2005, his windscreen was damaged and he claimed under the mini-policy. The insurer pays the claim and the mini policy lapses, ie from 11 Mar 2005 to 31 Dec 2005 (the remaining period of the policy) there is no additional coverage for windscreen. Thus, if during this period, eg on 15 July 2005, the windscreen is damaged again. If Mr TAN wants to claim, he would need to claim under his main policy, ie his NCD would be reduced and the main policy excess would apply.
To be able to enjoy this mini-policy coverage, Mr TAN would have to pay a reinstatement charge, which can range from $60 to $100, depending on his vehicle’s make & model. If he paid this reinstatement charge, he would have the mini-policy to cover him again, ie from 11 Mar 2005 to 31 Dec 2005 (the remaining period of the policy), he can claim for any windscreen damage without affecting his NCD or paying the main policy excess.
Q: Is there any limit on the windscreen claim?
A: That depends on what is specified in the policy. For most policies, the coverage is on market value or full value basis. The means the insurer is obligated to pay whatever is the market value of the cost of replacement.
However, in some cases, the insurer may specify a limit, eg $1,000. This means that any claim should NOT exceed $1,000. If the cost of repair of the windscreen is $1,300, the insurer would pay to its limit of $1,000. The insured would have to foot the rest.
Q: When should I choose to pay reinstatement for coverage?
A: If the remaining period of the policy is short (using the above example, if the windscreen damage occurred on 1 Dec 2005), you may just wish to save on the reinstatement charge but do note that if any windscreen damage does occur during this period, there is no mini-policy to cover you. Usually, when the main policy is renewed, you get the windscreen coverage again!
Q: What about the coverage for sun-roof?
A: In the case of your sun-roof, you may opt to buy additional coverage if you want to also cover it in a similar way, ie the mini-policy concept. By default**, the policy does not have such a additional coverage for your sun-roof so you are covered only by the main policy, where the excess is applicable and the NCD shall be reduced upon a claim.
** not all vehicles come fitted with sun-roof, unlike windscreen, so insurers do not factor this in a typical policy.
Normally, the vehicle owner would need to specify the sum insured, eg you can choose to cover the sun-roof for say $1,000. The insurer would then compute a premium for this coverage. With this coverage, the vehicle owner would be able to claim up to $1,000 to replace the sun-roof should the sun-roof be damaged. The NCD will NOT be affected and the main policy excess also will NOT apply.
After a claim, the mini-policy, once again, lapses, as in the case of windscreen described earlier. To have this mini-policy coverage again, the insured would need to pay a reinstatement charge, which is similar to that of the windscreen case.
Q: What about the coverage for moon-roof & soft-top, hard-top etc?
A: Refer to our answer for sun-roof.
Q: What about other accessories, eg hi-fi system or sports rims? Do I need to buy such coverage?
A: As long as the accessory is factory-fitted, the main policy shall cover, subject to excess and NCD reduction upon a claim.
However, if the accessory is NOT factory-fitted, then you cannot claim under the main policy. Eg the vehicle comes factory-fitted with standard rims that costs $400 and you upgraded to an expensive set of sports rims costing $1,500. In the event of damage, the insurer would be liable to pay up to $400, the value for the standard rims.
If the accessory is NOT even a standard item, ie body kit or spoiler, then the insurer would NOT be responsible to pay.
In the above cases, the vehicle owner would need purchase the additional coverage, normally by specifying a sum insured, to have these accessories covered. Upon a claim, a reinstatement charge applies, like the case of the windscreen.
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