The flexural strength of reinforced concrete (RC) beams can be effectively increased using either externally bonded (EB) or near-surface mounted (NSM) fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement. A likely failure mode of such FRP-strengthened RC beams is the plate-end cover separation failure mode which involves debonding of the bonded FRP reinforcement and the cover concrete along the level of the steel tension reinforcement. Despite many existing studies on this failure mode, the accurate prediction of this failure mode using the finite element (FE) method has remained a great challenge. This paper presents a novel FE smeared-crack approach for accurate prediction of plate-end cover separation in which the radial stresses generated by the steel tension reinforcement are taken into account for the first time. The capability and validity of the proposed FE model are verified using existing experimental results.