Whether gravel, rolling grit or gravel – even a small stone on the road can pose a significant safety risk on the road. Especially when a rock falls into the windshield while driving a car. But not every stone chip immediately causes visible or major damage. We tell you what to do in an emergency, how to repair the damage, and who pays for the costs.
What is a rockfall and how does it happen??
A rock chip is a crack or fissure in car glazing, usually caused by the whirling up of small stones from motor vehicles ahead. The risk of stone chip damage is particularly high on the highway or country road, where increased speeds prevail. Stone chips in the car glass can also quickly cause damage on unpaved roads, such as gravelled sections of road or gravel paths.
For the most part, a stone chip only damages the top layer of glass in the windshield. However, this can crack inconveniently due to further vibrations. Usually when the interlayer or inner layer of the car windshield has also suffered damage. In most cases, a larger hole or a longer crack then develops in the glass, restricting the driver's field of vision and reducing the stability of the windshield.
Good to know: The windshield is usually made of laminated safety glass, which is composed of two layers. Between these layers is a transparent plastic film that prevents the window from breaking in the event of an accident or rockfall. Instead of the glass breaking completely, the glass fragments stick to the plastic film, causing shattering to occur.
These are the most common types of stone chip damage
If a stone hits the car windshield, a stone chip can result. But not all rock chips are the same. We tell you what types of damage there are.
- Bee wings: This type of stone chip is elongated and slightly curved damage to the windshield, which can vary in width.
- Cow's eye: This type of damage resembles circular glass damage with a small funnel-shaped depression – a so-called spall.
- Star breakage: In star breakage, fine, star-shaped cracks form around the stone chip, moving evenly from the inside to the outside of the windshield.
- Debris fracture: If circular and irregularly arranged cracks and spalling have formed around the impact, this is a debris fracture.
Tip: To detect stone chips or other damage to the windshield immediately, it is important to clean the car windows regularly. We reveal how to get dirty windows clean again quickly.
First aid measures in case of a stone chip in the car window
A stone chip in the vehicle windshield is not always immediately noticeable, as it may lie outside the field of vision. Increasingly, drivers do not take such damage seriously enough. However, if you have discovered stone chip damage in your windshield, you should act immediately to protect yourself and other road users. Even a small shock from a pothole can cause the entire windshield to shatter if there is an existing rockfall. Find out below what you need to do as first aid in case of emergency to prevent the cracking of the stone chip from progressing and making repair impossible.
Carefully clean the damaged area with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Then dry the place thoroughly.
To prevent the ingress of dirt or water, you can apply a transparent adhesive tape to the stone chip.
Make an appointment at the car repair shop as soon as possible to have the stone chip damage assessed and repaired.
If a stone chip is a problem at the TuV?
In short: Yes. Even a small stone chip can be classified as a significant safety defect during the main inspection (HU). If so, the glass damage is noted on the deficiency notice. If you do not fix the stone chip promptly, the vehicle will not pass the MOT. So take care of the stone chip repair in advance to avoid unnecessary costs.
Who pays for stone chips?
Who bears the costs for stone chip repair or windshield replacement always depends on the insurance coverage in question. If glass breakage is caused by a stone chip, the costs can in most cases be settled via the partial cover insurance policy. Only the deductible agreed in the insurance policy is then borne by yourself. Before you go to a repair shop, you must report the damage to the insurance company. Documentation of the stone chip is also mandatory for claims settlement.
Motor vehicle liability only applies if the driver in front of you negligently caused the stone chip on your vehicle. If this is the case, the liability insurance of the driver in front will cover the damage to your car. However, only if you can prove the guilt of the car driver.
What to do in the event of stone chip damage to the leased vehicle?
If you discover a stone chip on your leased car, you must report it to the lessor immediately. Depending on the provisions in your lease agreement, it will dictate how to proceed. In most cases you will need to have the stone chip damage repaired at an independent or authorized garage. The repair costs are then settled via your partial cover insurance, where you only have to pay the deductible (SB) specified in your insurance contract. This is mostly with a self-service charge in the amount of 150 euros.
However, if the stone chip damage was caused intentionally by a driver in front, the motor vehicle liability insurance of the culprit is also liable in this case. As the owner of your leased vehicle, the lessor makes the damage claim in this case. However, such a case is very rare, as the facts are difficult to prove.
Replace or repair windshield? Opportunities, costs& Co.
Whether a repair of the car window or even a complete replacement is necessary always depends on the size and location of the stone chip.
Stone chip repair
In contrast to a stone chip in the car paint, repairing the windshield is much more costly. If the windshield of the car was only superficially damaged by the stone chip, a specialized enterprise can repair the damage in most cases quite simply. In the case of minor stone chips, the damage can even be repaired using the Smart Repair method. This repair technique can be done much faster and less expensively compared to traditional car repairs. With the Smart Repair technique, the damaged area is simply repaired without having to replace certain components on the vehicle.
To repair the stone chip, the affected area is first cleaned by a specialist in the car repair shop and possible remnants of glass splinters are removed. Then place a vacuum pump over the impact and fill it with a special resin. The special resin is then cured by means of UV light. Within only 30 minutes the process is done.
Tip: The windshield is considered a load-bearing part of the vehicle, which ensures the safety and protection of the occupants in the event of a vehicle accident. If the stone damage is not properly repaired, it can be dangerous for you and all passengers. Therefore, in any case, have the stone chip repair carried out by an expert with the appropriate tools and do without a home repair kit.
For the professional repair in a car workshop you can expect costs between 30 and 100 euros. Depending on the insurance contract, even the entire repair costs are covered by the partial coverage insurance.
Windshield replacement in the event of a rock chip
However, repairing stone chip damage is not possible in all cases. If the damage is within the field of vision or too close to the edge of the windshield, the replacement of the car window is inevitable. Even with stone chip damage larger than a 2-euro coin, the windshield must be replaced.
By the way: Even in the case of damaged side and rear windows, usually only a replacement comes into question.
Replacing the windshield is much more expensive than repairing a stone chip. Depending on the vehicle model, this involves costs of 500 to 1.200 Euro to calculate. In addition, there are the expenses for the installation and calibration of assistance systems, which are installed in the area of the windshield, especially in modern car models.
Attention: If a stone chip is in the driver's field of vision, this will be assessed as a poor vehicle operating condition during a police check and punished with a fine of 90 euros and a point in Flensburg.
With a car subscription from LeasingMarkt.de fully covered
Even a small stone on the road can cause damage to the windshield of the car with a bit of bad luck. Therefore, always keep enough distance from vehicles ahead, which can kick up pebbles and other small stones. By the way, if stone chip damage does occur, you are covered with a car subscription from LeasingMarkt.de best secured. Because the rate for the car subscription always includes insurance that also covers stone chips. Compare attractive offers for all-inclusive rental now and benefit from short contract terms, high flexibility and an all-round carefree package that includes almost all ancillary vehicle costs!