Is it reasonable to charge £840 to replace a punctured aircon condenser on my Jaguar XF?

The aircon on my 30-month-old (23,000 mile) Jaguar XF suddenly stopped working recently when on the M11. My local dealer (from whom I bought the car) tells me the aircon unit has become punctured, possibly by a stone thrown up by another vehicle. The replacement cost will be £840: approximately £540 in parts, £160 in labour and VAT. It's not a warranty job and they doubt I'll get any joy from Jaguar Customer Services. £840 seems quite steep for this. Do you think it's reasonable? Also, should I look to recover this through insurance? I'm with Direct Line. There's no proof of what may have caused the puncture, but I can't see how I might have avoided it.

Asked on 19 October 2013 by TB, Warlingham

Answered by Honest John
This has become a very common problem because carmakers situate a/c condensers where they are vulnerable to this, possibly to generate income from damage repairs. Someone needs to get into business fabricating a/c condenser shields. If you make an insurance claim, whether successful or not, it will go down on your insurance record.
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