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  • Insurers and fleets warned to brace themselves for increased claims as worst winter in 25 years wreaks havoc on UK roads


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    • Insurers and fleets warned to brace themselves for increased claims as worst winter in 25 years wreaks havoc on UK roads

26 January 2010

Insurers and fleets warned to brace themselves for increased claims as worst winter in 25 years wreaks havoc on UK roads

Insurers and fleet managers are being warned to brace themselves for a hike in windscreen claims in the aftermath of the worst winter for more than 25 years. Bitter weather conditions have left Britain’s roads in tatters, with the number of potholes increasing by the day.

Autoglass has reported record numbers of calls, as a direct result of windscreens cracking because of the pressure they’re being put under by appalling road surfaces, and loose tarmac chipping screens, and the company is advising insurance and fleet companies to be prepared for a huge upsurge in claims for the damage.

Nigel Doggett, Managing Director of Autoglass explained: “Britain’s roads are in the worst state they have been for years because of freezing snow and ice taking its toll. At the last count, following the big freeze in February 2009, there were 1.5 million pot holes on Britain’s roads. According to the Met Office, this winter has been the worst for more than 25 years, which means we’re potentially looking at thousands more pot holes, and ever-deteriorating road conditions. 

“During the past week, we’ve taken thousands of calls reporting damaged windscreens as a result of the poor road surfaces, and ultimately, it’s going to be fleets and insurance companies who pay the price for the roads’ poor condition.

“Potholes are exacerbated by cold weather as water expands and freezes to form ice, putting additional pressure on the cracks in the surface. Once a pothole has formed, it continues to grow through further chunks and chippings being worked free by traffic – and that culminates in damage to windscreens, both as a result of those loose chippings leaving the road surface and hitting windscreens forming a chip, and when existing chips in windscreens are put under excessive pressure due to sustained and repeated travel over uneven surfaces. That, over time, will cause a chip to crack.

“We’ve advised motorists to be extra vigilant and slow down if they spot potholes on the roads, but the upsurge in calls we’ve experienced suggests that fleets and insurance firms face a fairly hefty payout as a result of 2010’s big freeze,” he said.

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