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Australia’s weather can be unpredictable, and many choose to protect their vehicles from the elements with car insurance. Hail damage, in particular, can be a huge concern, especially come storm season in certain regions more prone to hail events.

While hail damage is usually superficial, repairs are often costly and – in more severe cases – vehicles are written off. So, does car insurance for hail damage exist?

What you’ll find in this article:

Does car insurance cover hail damage?

Car insurance can cover your car if it’s damaged by a hail storm, but the extent of cover depends on the type of policy you take out. For instance, you’ll need comprehensive car insurance – the highest level of car cover available – to cover hail damage. A comprehensive policy will also cover you for many other weather-related damages caused by fire, storms and floods.

Conversely, Third Party Property and Third Party Fire and Theft insurance are intended to pay for damages you cause to other vehicles and property. As such, these types of policies won’t cover hail damage.

Our comprehensive car insurance comparison tool can help you compare a range of cover options from some of Australia’s top insurers. Our handy tool is free to use and only takes a few minutes.

Does car insurance cover pre-existing hail damage?

Insurance companies are often reluctant to cover already hail-damaged cars – particularly with a comprehensive policy (which covers damages to your and others car, whether or not you’re at fault).

Only some insurers will take on hail-damaged cars, and you may be required to pay an increased rate compared to vehicles that aren’t damaged. In some cases, and depending on the damage, insurers may offer you a market-value policy for your car. This means your policy would cover what your hail-damaged car is valued at when you make a claim.

So, your car may have been worth $5,000 when you purchased or insured it, but the market value may dip to $3,000 when you make a claim. This is the most you’d receive from your insurer to fix or replace it.

Be aware that even If your policy does cover your hail-damaged car, it doesn’t always mean your car will be repaired. If the cost of repairs is more than the car is worth, insurers may offer a payment instead.

You can usually take out a Third Party Property policy to cover your car. This policy won’t cover hail damage. Rather, it’s designed to only pay for the damages you might cause to third party vehicles and property.

Do you pay an excess when claiming for hail damage?

You generally will need to pay an excess to claim for hail damage; this amount will depend on the excess you agreed to pay when you first purchased your policy.

You may have the option of not paying an excess when you claim, but this will often result in you paying higher premiums. As a general rule, the more money you agree upon as your up-front excess, the less your insurance premiums will be.

How paying excess could work when claiming hail damage

You decide to pay a $900 excess to make a claim when you take out your policy. You get caught in a massive hail storm, causing $5,000 worth of damage to your car. Because your excess is $900, that’s all you’ll need to pay your insurer. Meanwhile, your insurer will foot the bill for the remaining $4,100. Of course, this is just an example and what you pay depends on the excess you agree on and the amount of damage your car sustains during a hail storm.

Are there cases where I won’t be covered for hail damage?

There are often exclusions associated with comprehensive car insurance, and these may still apply – even if your car is damaged by hail. Always check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), as exclusions can vary between policies and providers.

Under what circumstances can you drive a hail-damaged car?

You may still be able to drive your hail-damaged car, but only if it’s safe to do so. Damage that’s purely cosmetic shouldn’t force your vehicle off the road. Still, a car may be deemed defective and unroadworthy if:

  • the windows are cracked or damaged;
  • windscreen wipers are damaged or broken; and
  • indicators, tail-lights or headlights are destroyed.

The car can usually be driven again once these issues are fixed, but it’s a criminal offence to do so until they are. If a car is considered a total write-off due to severe damage, it won’t be deemed roadworthy again. However, a repairable write-off may eventually be re-registered and driven again – provided it passes vehicle safety and identity checks in your state or territory.

How else can you protect your car against hail damage?

While comprehensive insurance can give you peace of mind in the event of a hail storm, there are other ways to protect your vehicle. Avoiding the storm in the first place is the obvious answer, but it might be helpful to also:

  • know the weather forecast. Hail storms can come on quickly and unexpectantly, but you can protect your car by planning in advance. If hail storms are predicted, try rescheduling your car journey, if possible, to avoid damage;
  • seek shelter with car and find safety. If in danger, pull over, or drive if it’s safe to do so until you find a safe, covered area. Never speed to try and beat a storm or park somewhere that cause you or others harm. Avoid parking under trees or in areas prone to flooding in extreme weather. This could damage your car in other ways. Instead, opt for garages, car parks or secure shelters; and
  • purchase a hail protector tarp. Protective hail tarps offer extra padding and protection and may be an option. Of course, there’s no knowing how damaging hail will be. So, even with a cover, your car could still be damaged.

Find a competitive policy to cover your ride

Since Australian weather can go from one extreme to another, having the right car cover for such events can save you significant amounts in repairs. With our car insurance comparison service, you can compare policies from numerous car insurance providers, compare the price of premiums, assess cover options available to you, analyse any exclusions and more in a matter of minutes. Simples.

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