As hail batters Australia, how can insurance help?
A catastrophe was declared in Queensland this weekend after hail wreaked havoc in the state's south east.
Thousands of Queenslanders have been left with major repair bills this week after a severe hailstorm swept across the state's south east, damaging thousands of cars and homes.
According to the Insurance Council of Australia, more than 5,000 hail-related claims were made by 2pm on Sunday, with insured losses estimated at $60 million.
About 60% of claims were for damage to motor vehicles and 40 per cent were for damage to homes. Roofs, skylights and solar panels were the most likely home features to be damaged but the ICA said a significant number of claims had almost been made for interior damage too.
How does car insurance cover hail damage?
If you have comprehensive car insurance, it's very likely that hail damage will be covered by your policy. You should contact your insurer as soon as possible to find out the repairs process.
As thousands of cars have been damaged by the storms, there may be a waiting period before your car can be repaired. This is even more likely if you don't have the option to choose your own repairer. This is because your insurer's preferred repairer may become overwhelmed with work, leading to a bit of a backlog.
If your car windscreen has been damaged due to the hail, you will likely need windscreen cover in order to claim for the cost of repairs. If you don't have that benefit included in your policy, you may have to pay the cost of replacement yourself.
How does home insurance cover hail damage?
Hail can cause major damage to the exterior of homes - particularly roofs, skylights and solar panels. However, if a roof is badly damaged, the interior of a home can also become exposed to elements, leading to an even bigger repair bill.
Home and contents insurance can help cover many of the associated costs. While there are variations between every policy, some examples of things you might be able to claim for include:
- Roofs and ceilings
- Blinds and curtains
- Solar panels
- Awnings and shade sails
- Windows and skylights
- Emergency accommodation
- Garages, sheds and carports
- Gutters and pipes
- Water damage
- Potted plants
- Damage from falling trees
- Lightning damage
- Clothes lines, aerials and masts
Remember, as all home and contents insurance policies are slightly different, there may be some things on this list that you're not covered for. Call your insurer directly, or check your product disclosure statement (PDS) to find out.