Several new systems that assist drivers like Auto dimmer and steer following headlights, Automatic rain sensing wipers, Heads up Displays, Shaded and night vision shields all add to the potential cost of a windshield repair.
The sensors giving a vehicle the ability to monitor for pedestrians, collision avoidance, auto braking and driver drowsiness as well as parking and proximity warning systems all add to the cost of repair for a vehicle.
The days of saying, "It was just a tap", and assuming a low cost of repair are pretty much behind us when it comes to newer vehicles. Shops are already on notice and have received additional equipment and training to replace windshields and perform other repairs to these systems.
Some manufacturers are now placing a patent on the parts which form the 'skin' of the vehicle. It used to be that you could obtain a replacement fender from an alternate manufacturer which conformed nicely to fit and finish and save money in the process. Whether the repair is paid by you or your insurer, eventually, higher costs come back to the consumer in the form of higher repairs and insurance premiums.
We regularly advise our clients to consider raising their limits of liability protection. It is very possible to cause a three car "tapping" accident at a stop sign and see expensive car repairs add up to nearly $100,000. With a state minimum liability limit of $25,000, many drivers are not adequately protected.
One can only imagine what the cost of repair or replacement of a fully automated self driving car might be. You may as well have hit a Cessna plane. Be careful out there.