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Whether it’s tiny pieces of ice or giant cricket ball-sized stones, hail can be a car owner’s worst nightmare. That’s why insurance that protects you against storm damage can be so valuable.
Let’s start with the basics. Only Comprehensive Car Insurance covers drivers for repair costs if their car is damaged by hail, floods or storms—but this also depends on the insurer. In some cases, hail damage may come with its own set of conditions. For example, there may be a waiting period before it comes into effect after you take out a new policy.
If you have a lower level of cover, such as Third Party Fire and Theft, hail damage is unlikely to be insured. Still, no matter what kind of insurance you have, it’s a good idea to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for your policy. This document will outline what kind of things your policy will or won’t cover.
This is another thing that will depend on the insurer. Some insurers will ask you if your car has any pre-existing damage when you get a quote with them. From there, they’ll decide whether or not they can offer cover.
However, you won’t usually be insured for the repair costs on any damage that your car sustained before your policy starts. For instance, if your car already had a chip in its windscreen before you insured it, your cover is unlikely to cover the damages. But if hail dents or damages your car after the policy kicks in? That’s when your insurer will typically pay for repairs (if it’s covered under your policy).
Generally speaking, yes.
An excess is an out-of-pocket expense you’ll need to put towards certain claims. For instance, let’s say you make a claim for $2,000 worth of damages, and your excess is $800. You’ll need to pay $800 towards the repairs and your insurer will pay the other $1,200.
Where Comprehensive Car Insurance is concerned, many insurers won’t charge an excess if your car was damaged in an accident where the other driver was entirely at fault and their details can be obtained. Because this exception doesn’t apply to hail damage, the excess will usually still apply. However, as always, it’s a good idea to read up on your policy’s PDS and check what kind of conditions and excesses might be in play.
This is a tricky one because each state and territory uses their own legislation to determine what does and doesn’t make a car ‘roadworthy’.
Here’s what we can say for certain: you probably shouldn’t drive your car if any damage prevents you from seeing the road properly or makes driving unsafe for you or anybody else. This means that if hail makes a big crack in your windscreen, it’s probably not a good idea to drive until the repairs are done.
Anything that prevents your car from being roadworthy should also be fixed as soon as possible. A broken indicator, punctured radiator or serious structural damage are all prime examples of this. If you decide to drive with such defects, then the police may pull you over and issue a defect notice; this will require you to repair your car as soon as possible.
Making a claim doesn’t need to be some super complicated process. If you take some basic steps, it can go smoothly:
Your insurer might ask you to have the damage assessed by an authorised repairer and get estimates of the repair costs.1 Remember, you may not want to carry out any repairs (even urgent ones) without your insurer’s go-ahead—as it could end up affecting your claim!
Some insurers won’t raise your premium if you make a claim for hail or storm damage. Others have their own way of doing things and might raise your premiums as a result.
Since this might not even be outlined in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), there’s only one way to know for sure. You need to ask the insurer if a claim for hail or storm damage will bump up your premium. That way, you’ll know what kind of deal you’re getting before you jump into anything.
We took a look at the records supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology on this front. From the 30th of June 2014 to the 1st of July 2023, there have been a number of locations that endured storms and hail of at least 2.5 cm in diameter.2 And eight of these locations have had the unfortunate distinction of suffering through three or more storms of this type.
For your reference, we’ve mapped out these ‘hail zones’ for you in the map below, just so you can plan ahead if you’re thinking of doing a road trip through these regions.
The old cliche is right: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. Sure, there will be times when a hailstorm comes out of nowhere and the damage is unavoidable, but you can still take steps to minimise the risk:
If you’re looking for a Car Insurance policy that covers hail and storm damage, iSelect can help. You can compare a variety of policy options online from our range of products and providers.* Get started today and see if you can find a better deal, or call our friendly team on 13 19 20.