It’s fair to say Australia cops its share of wild weather. From searing heat to gale-force storms, our country sees a wide spectrum of weather-related damage. When it comes to your vehicle, what protection are you entitled to under your car insurance for such incidents?
Outside of motor vehicle accidents, hailstorms are one of the costliest sources of damage to motor vehicles in Australia. In storm-prone regions along the east coast of Australia, hailstones can be as large as tennis balls, which create a range of problems for car owners. In fact the November 2019 hail storm in Queensland saw 22,000 claims lodged and a claims bill of in excess of $166 million. Shortly after in January 2020, another hail storm hit the ACT, Victoria and New South Wales resulting in 69,850 claims being lodged with a damage bill of $638 million.
Does my car insurance cover hail damage?
Typically, comprehensive car insurance policies cover you for hail damage, however there are a number of benefits and add-ons to your Comprehensive Insurance cover that may be worth considering. Questions to ask your insurer include:
- Will I be covered for emergency accommodation and additional travel expenses if I’m a long way from home?
- Am I covered for emergency repairs to get me mobile again after the hail storm?
- If my car can’t be driven after being damaged in a hail storm will my policy cover the cost of getting me and my family home?
- If the hail and associated rain causes damage to personal effects in my car will they be covered?
One thing you can be sure of after a hail storm is there will be a huge demand for repair services, that’s if your vehicle is even repairable. Some things you can consider to mitigate the impact of a hail storm on your daily life include:
- Does my car insurer offer me optional Hire Car cover? It may take some time to get your vehicle back after a hail claim.
- Does my policy cover New For Old replacement if the vehicle is a total loss?
Whilst many may feel it will never happen, tens of thousands of Australians find out each year that it can.
Can I buy car insurance if my vehicle is already damaged by hail?
Some insurers will not provide cover for hail damaged vehicles that have not been repaired. So be aware that the bargain runabout that you purchased in a post hail event sale, may not be able to be insured, regardless of what it cost you. You will still need to disclose any existing hail-related damage to your insurer before taking out a new policy,
Protecting yourself and your car in a hail storm
If you are ever unfortunate enough to be caught in a hail storm whilst driving, pull over. It’s not worth risking your life and the lives of others in treacherous driving conditions. It may be too late to look for undercover parking when you are in the midst of the storm.
If you have undercover parking, use it. If you don’t and you know that a hail storm may be developing, consider parking your car in undercover parking such as shopping centers or paid multi storey car parks. It may just save you all the inconvenience and expense of having your car damaged.
Always remember to keep your car insurance up-to-date, so when something as unpredictable as the weather hits, you know you’re covered.
Australian Unity offers cover on your vehicle for weather and storm damage including hail. Find out more about our Car Insurance.
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