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What You Need to Know About Commercial Glass Insurance

By Darragh Timlin on July 31st, 2022

All UK retail shop business owners know how important it is to have the proper insurance to protect their business premises, stock, staff and customers. However, there is still some confusion over glass insurance and if the business owner needs to ensure their shop windows separately or if glass damage is covered under buildings or contents insurance.

Your shop window glass will be expensive to repair or replace in the event of an accident, but are these damages covered by your property insurance, or do you need extra cover for your glass?

This guide is here to help explain glass insurance for retailers with a brick-and-mortar shops and what they need to consider when buying insurance for their shop.

Why Is Commercial Glass Insurance So Important?

When you run a retail business, your shop-front is a crucial element to the success of your business. It is not only the place where you advertise your brand and showcase your products, but it is also your first line of defence against criminal activity, such as burglary and vandalism. This is why it makes sense to invest in shop window display insurance to suit your needs.

If you get a broken window, you shouldn’t wait around to fix it. Not only is a broken window a health and safety hazard to you, your staff and customers, but delaying the repairs or replacement isn’t very good for your image. It makes you look like you don’t care for your business, which reflects poorly on you as a trusted retailer and employer.

There can be many risks posed to your shop windows, so you should carefully check the small print of any commercial property insurance policy before accepting it to see if you are covered for events such as:

  • Fires
  • Hail, storm damage and severe weather events
  • High winds
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

What Kinds of Glass Is Covered By Commercial Glass Insurance?

Shop windows are one of the most critical elements of retail premises. Windows provide a thermal barrier, let in natural daylight, control sound levels, keep out the weather, act as a means of natural air ventilation, and add significantly to the property’s aesthetics.

They have moved from small panes of glass set in lead strip latticework to vast sheets of polished plate glass and, more recently, to laminated glass and double-glazed windows. In most cases, your commercial glass insurance for your shop-front will include cover for:

  • Shop Windows: Single-glazed windows made of a traditional wood framed glass panels, sheet glass or laminated glass windows.
  • Double Glazing: Replacement double glazing that could include single panel sealed units or a complete replacement of window panels and frames if they have become damaged beyond repair. It can be more costly to repair double-glazed shop windows than single-glazed windows, so you may want to consider double-glazing insurance as an option for your business.

Depending on the age and historical status of your building, you may need to replace any broken or damaged windows with a like-for-like substitute. For example, suppose your shop is a listed building. In that case, you won’t be able to replace the original windows with modern double-glazed or laminated glass alternatives as that wouldn’t be in keeping with the building regulations that apply to listed properties.

In this case, it would make sense to take out extra cover for your period windows as replacing them would be less straightforward than for a shop with modern windows.

Are Glass Products Covered By Commercial Glass Insurance or Product Liability?

If you sell glass products, then you should cover them with product liability insurance. This covers consumer goods, including those you sell made from glass. Should anyone get injured or suffer damage or loss of private property due to your product, the customer can sue you for damages.

Even if you don’t manufacture the glass products yourself, you can still face compensation

claims for offering unsafe products for sale. Product liability insurance does not cover your services but covers the products you manufacture yourself or sell through your retail business.

Commercial glass insurance specifically provides cover for shop windows and doors rather than glass products sold on the premises.

If I Rent Commercial Space, Am I Responsible For Insuring Glass Windows?

It is best to check the fine print of the lease agreement to see who is responsible for ensuring the glass windows before accepting it. In most cases, the glass shop-front will be considered part of the building and, therefore, should be covered by buildings insurance that the landlord is responsible for paying.

However, it is not uncommon for commercial property owners to make the tenant responsible for its replacement in case of breakage. The property may have been fitted with windows unsuitable for a tenant’s needs, so the tenant may wish to replace the windows with a more decorative or attractive alternative that allows for better displays and shop front signage. In this case, the leaseholder will be responsible for insuring the glass windows.

If you are both the property owner and occupier, you must include glass insurance as part of your commercial building insurance policy.

Are High-Street Shop Windows Expensive to Insure?

Replacing your shop windows may be the furthest thing from your mind while you are busy setting up your retail business. However, it can only take a heavy storm, an accident, criminal activity or vandalism to leave you with an enormous repair or replacement bill for a new shop-front window.

The price of your shop-front glass insurance will depend on how much you need to cover the costs of repairing or replacing your windows.

How much it will cost to replace your shop windows will depend on the size and style of your windows and the type of glass needed to make repairs or replacements.

You will need to factor in the costs of hiring a professional to carry out the work and the costs of the materials required. This can vary from a single pane of glass to all the glass, frames and even the door if it is an integral part of your shop front, such as a laminated glass door that fits seamlessly into a floor-to-ceiling glass shop frontage.

You may be willing and able to purchase the materials needed and do the work yourself if you have a cracked windowpane or the windows only need minor repairs. In this case, you may only need enough insurance to cover the materials’ costs will lower your policy premiums.

How Much Should I Expect to Pay For Commercial Glass Insurance?

If the thought of having to replace all of the glass and frames in your shop front after experiencing severe damage is too much for you, then it makes sense to have comprehensive commercial glass insurance to cover your needs.

It is almost impossible to know exactly how much you will pay for your commercial glass insurance policy because no two retail shop businesses are identical. You will need shop window coverage according to the type, size and design of your shop front and how straightforward the process of repairs or replacement will be.

You can quickly get a quote for your shop window insurance with Brisco Business Insurance, or you can chat with our friendly team of business insurance specialists to work out how much cover you need to protect your shop windows.


Glass insurance is often considered part of the property owner’s insurance. Still, you must read the terms of your lease to clarify who is responsible for ensuring the shop-front windows and doors.

Many retail business owners choose to take out glass breakage insurance for extra reassurance that they can afford to repair or replace the damaged glass that makes up the face of their business.

If your commercial retail insurance is coming up for renewal and you want to add glass insurance to your new policy, compare quotes online. We are specialist business insurance brokers and work with leading UK insurance companies to help find you the best possible insurance deals to suit your needs.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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