2021 has been a year of drastic change around the world, but one piece of good news is that with the ebb and flow of government-mandated lockdowns in the UK, furloughs, and work-from-home becoming the norm for many Brits, fewer cars are on the road and thus fewer collisions are happening.
The Association of British Insurers announced in the second quarter of 2021 that the average cost of comprehensive car insurance has fallen to £430 per year (£851 for motorists under 25). That may be good news for some, but there are still plenty of reasons to discern amongst car insurance providers.
A quick note on insurance providers’ preferred repairers
It’s important to note that you don’t have to use the preferred repairer listed on your insurance company’s policy. Under legislation in the UK called the Block Exemption Regulation, motorists have a legal right to file an insurance claim with whomsoever they choose, but in return, the insurance provider has a right to charge higher excess fees (and they almost always do).
Is it worth it to choose a non-preferred repairer? In many cases, the answer is a definite yes. The preferred providers are big, nationally recognised companies but they tend to charge quite a bit more than what independent local auto glaziers charge. For example, some national automotive glass companies charge £189.44 (including VAT) for windscreen chip repair, but a local glazier can often complete this repair professionally for a quarter of the price.
Even with the higher excess charged for choosing a non-preferred repairer, the cost tends to be far lower and the quality is about the same (or in many cases, better) than you’d expect from the big brands.
With that out of the way, below are our top five picks for automotive insurance in the UK for the year 2022:
Consistently well-rated by customers, Aviva offers a wide variety of car insurance cover to meet the needs of motorists. As a well-established company with a high 98.8% claims settlement rate in 2020 and over 45,000 repaired vehicles, Aviva is amongst the most reliable in the industry.
- Claims made for automotive glass repair and replacement with non-approved repairers costs £0 for Aviva Plus Premium policyholders.
- Claims made to Aviva for motor glazing services will not count towards your No Claim Discount.
- Automotive glass repair and replacement services are only available under the comprehensive package, not under Third Party, Fire and Theft cover.
- Aviva limits the amount contributed whenever you choose a non-approved repairer.
- Choosing to use a non-approved repairer is not possible unless their location is closer than the nearest approved repairer’s garage, unless you want to pay a higher excess for repairs. The excess depends on your policy: Aviva Plus Regular / Aviva Motor Insurance cost £200, Aviva Online policy costs £250, Aviva Plus Basic policy costs £350.
As one of the UK’s first direct car insurers, Churchill has shown itself to be a real bulldog in the car insurance market since its founding in 1989. Customers consistently rate them between 3.8 to 4.4 stars out of five, touting their rock-solid prices and great discounts for using their black box technology.
- Superb benefits and coverage for young motorists aged 17-25 under their telematics cover, called DriveSure.
- Guaranteed discounts on the first year of coverage with black box installation.
- Windscreen claims can be filed online through their online portal, 24 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Committed to a vandalism promise for Comprehensive package customers whereby vandalised car insurance claims do not count against your No Claim Discount (excess must still be paid).
- There is no 24/7 claims line
- Their preferred provider handles all 24/7 windscreen and glass claims. Using a different glazier, Churchill will only pay up to £40 for repairs or up to £125 for windscreen replacement. Churchill will pay the market value for repair and replacement services so long as you choose an approved windscreen supplier.
3. Direct Line
Direct Line is amongst the best car insurance companies in the UK for customer service, but they also offer fantastic flexibility in the specific instance of windscreen repair and replacement services that no other insurer listed here can compare to.
- Excess for using a non-approved repairer are only £10 for repairs and £75 for windscreen replacement under their Comprehensive package.
- Courtesy cars are available for Comprehensive Plus customers that choose non-preferred repairers for up to 21 days.
- Just like with Churchill, Direct Line only pays up to £40 for repairs and up to £115 for windscreen replacement when using a non-approved repairer.
- They have a preferred repairer, so your choices are limited to either using their preferred repairer or paying more in excess and receiving less contribution by choosing anyone else.
Originally branded as Liverpool Victoria, LV= is amongst the UK’s largest insurance providers with extensive coverage options for motorists. Their basic third-party coverage package tends to be quite affordable, with some motorists paying only £195 per year.
- Highly competitive rates for motorists in the UK
- All work with their preferred provider is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Awarded the prestigious Defaqto 5 Star Rating
- Motorists can choose to work with LV=’s preferred automotive glazier, but must pay a £200 excess for non-preferred automotive glaziers, which is quite high and thus limits your options. Moreover, courtesy cars will not be provided nor will the warranty be paid on repairs effected by non-preferred glaziers.
- Third-party coverage alone does not cover windscreen or glass repair or replacement. Motorists must instead opt for the costlier comprehensive package.
A longstanding car insurer since 1993 here in the UK, Admiral excels at multi-car insurance policies but also provides various policies to meet different needs. Their prices start at £265 per annum or £239 for multi-car policies.
- Comprehensive car insurance policy automatically comes with windscreen cover, but their third-party and third-party, fire and theft policies can add in windscreen cover as an option.
- Compared to competitors, their excess of £115 for windscreen replacement services and £25 for windscreen repair services is amongst the lowest.
- They too have a preferred repairer, so any repairs or windscreen replacements performed by non-preferred repairers will only grant a maximum payout of £50.
- Their claims line is not available 24/7.
Find reputable auto glaziers near you via myWindscreen
You can get in touch with local, independent auto glaziers that provide same-day windscreen repair and replacement services right here on myWindscreen. Simply click on the ‘GET QUOTES’ tab above; enter your postcode; and we will connect you with approved, reputable, and affordable automotive glaziers near you.