Australia’s weather can be inconsistent and unpredictable, especially during storm season. And while hail can result in superficial damage, the repair can leave you thousands of dollars out of pocket. In some cases, your car could even be left unroadworthy.
Preparing for hail
While Comprehensive Car Insurance can give you peace of mind in the event of a hail storm, there are other ways to protect your vehicle.
Check the weather forecast.
Keep an eye on the weather warnings and updates. If hail is predicted, try to avoid driving and consider rescheduling your car trip.
Park under shelter and find safety.
If a storm is forecast, park your vehicle(s) under shelter or, if driving and in danger, pull over when safe to do so. You should avoid parking under trees or in low-lying areas that are likely to flood in extreme weather. Instead, opt for garages, secure car parks or shelters. And remember, it’s never worth speeding to “beat” a storm.
Buy a hail protector tarp.
If your car is normally parked out in the open, you should consider buying a protective hail tarp for extra padding and protection (Tip: practice putting one on before a storm is likely to hit).
Driving after hail
So...your car’s been impacted by hail. Now what? Here’s a few key things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not your car is safe to drive.
Identify cosmetic damage.
Usually, panel damage is purely cosmetic and won’t affect the driveability or roadworthy status of your vehicle.
Check for broken glass.
If you notice any broken or cracked glass (e.g. the windscreen, side mirrors or light lenses), this will need to be replaced before you drive again.
Ensure your car is roadworthy.
If your windscreen wipers, indicators, taillights or headlines are damaged – in any way – your car may be deemed defective, unroadworthy or even a total write-off. However, if these issues can be fixed up by a mechanic, you’ll eventually be given the green light to hit the road again – provided your car passes vehicle safety and identity checks in your state or territory.
Repairing the damage
Sometimes, despite doing all you can to protect your car, an unexpected hailstorm can arrive and leave its mark on your vehicle. The first and most important items to repair are those that affect your car’s roadworthiness. These include windscreens, mirrors and light senses. Failing to fix these items before driving again is not only illegal, it puts you and other drivers at risk.
As for “cosmetic”, or superficial hail damage, this kind of damage is unlikely to affect your car’s functionality. However, heavily chipped paintwork can potentially lead to rust and degradation over time and drastically affect the car’s resale value if not fixed.
It’s important to know how to prepare and respond in the event of hail. Here are some tips on how to protect your home.
This page provides general advice only. For up-to-date and specific advice relating to the risks in your area please speak to your local council or emergency services.