Storm and Hail Insurance
What you can claim, where you can can get help, and how you can get covered for the next storm
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Has your car been damaged by hail and you're wondering what to do now? Or did you narrowly escape the most recent storm and want to make sure you're fully covered for the next?
Here, we've answered all your hail-related questions - including how your insurance will help, what you can expect from the claims process, and ways you can protect yourself in future.
Which car insurance policies cover hail and storm damage?
|Car insurance provider||How do they cover hail and storm damage?||Do they cover pre-existing hail damange?|
|Loss or damage caused by nature (e.g. storm, hail, or fire)||Will only cover hail damage for Third Party Property Damage policies (e.g. storm, hail, or fire)||Get quote|
|Accidental loss or damage including hail, storm and flood||Doesn't ask about pre-existing damage in quote process||More info|
|Accidental and malicious damage, storm, fire, flood & hail||Doesn't ask about pre-existing damage in quote process||More info|
|Fire, storm & flood. Cover for your car if it's damaged by severe weather||Doesn't ask about pre-existing damage in quote process||More info|
|Accidental damage caused by, but not limited to hail||No||Get quote|
|Accidental damage to the car caused by a storm or flood. Storm means a violent atmospheric event which includes hail||Will only cover hail damage for Third Party Property Damage policies||Get quote|
|Cover for accidental damage or loss to your car from natural events||Need to get a quote by calling||More info|
|Accidental damage includes, but is not limited to, damage caused by hail||Yes||Get quote|
|Damage from natural weather events||Need to get a quote by calling||Get quote|
How can this page help me?
Is hail damage covered by car insurance?
This depends on what level of car insurance you have. If you have comprehensive car insurance, it's very likely that you'll be able to claim for damage as a result of hail.
However, if your car insurance is a lower-tier cover - like third party or third party fire and theft - it's unlikely that you'll be able to claim for any damage that the storm caused.
It's also pretty common for comprehensive insurance policies to have a waiting period for any damage that is caused by storms, bushfires, floods, or cyclones. It can vary between insurers, but usually you'll have to have bought your policy a couple of days before the storm hit.
How does comprehensive car insurance cover hail damage?
Comprehensive car insurance will cover for any damage that comes as a result of a hail storm - often, this can be smashed windows or dented bodywork but it could even be a total loss, if the damage is bad enough.
But don't forget, if you have comprehensive car insurance, you might be able to claim for more than you first think.
For example, if your car windscreen is smashed and it's unsafe to drive, you might be able to claim for the cost of a tow truck and transport home. You might even be able to claim for the cost of any damaged items in your car, like a baby seat.
To find out exactly what you're covered for, it's worth reading your product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully. You'll often find any conditions relating to hail under the 'Accidental Damage' section - or more specifically 'Nature (e.g. storm, hail, or fire)'.
Does third party car insurance cover hail damage?
Unfortunately, if you have a 'third party' or 'third party fire and theft' policy, it's unlikely that you'll be covered for hail damage.
This is because both 'third party' and 'third party fire and theft' do not cover you for accidental damage to your car. You'll only get cover for storms if you buy comprehensive car insurance.
When it comes to weather events like hailstorms and storm damage, comprehensive cover is usually the best option.
How do I make a car insurance claim for hail damage?
Lodging an insurance claim doesn't have to be anxiety-inducing. Follow these five simple steps for a stress-free experience.
|Gather evidence||Take photos of any damage to your car, as well as any damage in the surrounding area. Make notes about what happened, including the time and date.|
|Contact your insurer||Do this as soon as possible. If your area has been hit badly by a hail storm, it's likely there'll be thousands of other people claiming too. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner they can get started on your claim.|
|Cooperate with your insurer||Provide the detailed evidence you gathered after your car was damaged. Agree to meet with any experts or claims assessors your insurance company assigns. Don't make any repairs until you have your insurer's permission.|
|Submit your claim||Depending on the insurer your options may be to submit online, via an app, mail or in-person. Your insurer will explain their preferred method.|
|Wait for a response||Your insurer has 10 business days to respond with their decision or to let you know if they need more time. If they do need more time, they have to let you know what else they need from you, and to give you updates on how your claim is progressing.|
Do you pay an excess for hail damage?
You'll probably have to pay an excess in order to make a claim on your insurance policy - but the amount will vary depending on your insurance provider and your specific policy conditions.
Usually, the excess amount is subtracted from the final repair bill. So if you have a $600 excess and the hail damage bill came to $5,000, you would pay $600 and your insurer would pay $4,400. Keep in mind that an additional excess may apply for specific drivers, such as those under 25 years of age.
While you may have to pay an excess, your No Claim Discount (NCD) might not be affected if you make a claim for damage caused directly by storm, wind or hail - but, again, this varies between different insurance companies.
What should I expect in the claim process?
Although your insurance company has 10 business days to respond to your claim, don't be surprised if it takes a little longer. This is because, when a major hail storm hits, it's usually followed by a huge influx in claims - which leads to a backlog for insurers.
During the claim process, your insurer might ask you to take your car to a nominated location, so the damage can be inspected by experts. Often, insurance companies will set up dedicated assessment centres in the wake of a major hail storm.
Never carry out repairs to the car without your insurer's authorisation. In some cases, to allow the car to be driven immediately after an accident, your insurer may agree to essential repairs.
Depending on your policy, you might be able to claim the cost of a hire car if your car is too damaged to drive. Insurance companies will sometimes authorise this before deciding on your claim, so ask about this option when you first contact the helpline.
You can also ask your insurance company to explain its claims process, so you know exactly what to expect. Every insurance company has its own process for handling claims, but there are standards that they have a responsibility to meet.
If your claim is accepted, your car insurer may:
- Manage the entire process on your behalf
- Appoint a repairer of their choice
- Allow you to nominate your preferred repairer (if you added the 'Choice of Repairer' option to your policy).
You can also contact the Insurance Council of Australia if you have any general inquiries about the claims process. It's likely the organisation will activate its risk and disaster response helpline - 1800 734 621 - to answer any questions people might have.
If you're unhappy with how your insurer is treating you, get in touch with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) on 1800 931 678.
What type of storm damage does car insurance cover you for?
Storm damage can include the following:
- Hail or snow
- Rainwater e.g. water overflowing from stormwater drains
- Runoff e.g. overflow from swimming pools and tanks as a result of excess rainwater
- Storm surge e.g. strong winds or sea movements resulting in seawater onshore (storm surges are sometimes excluded, except when they occur at the same time as a storm so read your PDS)
Rain showers alone are usually not enough to be classed as a storm. It needs to be accompanied by an 'atmospheric event' like a thunderstorm or strong wind.
When won't I be covered?
There are a few situations where your insurer could deny your hail-related claim, even with a comprehensive car insurance policy. Here are a few examples:
|When it's a known event||If you try to buy insurance immediately before, during, or just after a hailstorm has occurred, you won't be covered for any damage caused as a result of the storm.|
|Putting your car in harm's way||If your insurer investigates and finds you intentionally put your car in harm's way - for example, you moved it from the garage to the street, while the storm was underway, your claim could be denied.|
|Lack of evidence||Storms aren't always newsworthy so your insurer might not know it happened. Make sure to take photos of other damage around your car, or hailstones nearby, and note the date and time of the storm so your insurance company can check weather records.|
Does car insurance cover pre-existing hail damage?
If your car has already been caught in a hail storm but you're looking for insurance to protect you from the next one, there are some options out there.
Some insurance companies, such as NRMA, provide market value insurance so long as the car is in a registrable condition. However, they won't if it was previously considered a write off.
Similarly, providers such as Bingle will not insure your car under a Comprehensive Insurance Policy if it has any existing damage. They will only offer Third Party Property Damage Insurance cover as long as your car is still roadworthy and registered.
If this is the case, keep in mind that third party policies don't cover hail damage; they only cover other cars and property damaged as a result of your accident.
Other providers may offer cover at an increased rate.
How to protect your car from storms and hail
Even if you've got the best insurance policy on the market, most people would prefer to avoid making a claim if possible - and there are measures you can take to minimise the risk of hail damage to your home and car.
Stay on top of forecasts, particularly during storm season. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has up-to-date weather warnings and some insurance companies will have an app or a text alert system, like Budget Direct's Hail Hero.
If you sign up, you might get some advance warning and be able to move your car to a safe spot before the storm hits.
If you can't move your car to a safe spot, try covering it with thick blankets or even your car's floor mats. While it's not as effective as a garage, it can help absorb some of the impact.
You can even buy car covers which have been specially designed to protect against hail stones, so it might be worth investing in one if your car is usually out in the open.
What to do if you're caught in a hail storm
If you're driving when the hail hits, pull into a safe spot as soon as possible to wait it out. If you can't reach cover easily, try to angle your car so the hail is hitting your windshield - they're usually reinforced, while your other windows might not be.
Remember, heavy hail can bring down trees and branches, so stay out of their path. If possible, lie down and keep your back to the windows. You can also cover yourself with a blanket, to give yourself further protection against any glass or debris.
Don't be tempted to make a mad dash to reach cover - filing an insurance claim for dented bodywork might be annoying, but it's nothing compared to sitting in hospital for six weeks because you skidded off the road while racing to reach an underground garage.
Protect future you with comprehensive car insurance
Comparing car insurance will not only make sure that you get the right product but will also help you get the best price. To make sure it suits your needs, don't forget to check out the Product Disclosure Statement when choosing a policy.
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