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Sydney hail damage reaches nearly $700 million


Nearly three weeks after Sydney's catastrophic hailstorm, the damage bill keeps climbing.

Latest figures from the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) place the total bill from Sydney's recent hailstorm at $670 million, and this number is expected to climb.

Golf-ball-sized hailstones rained down on Sydney during the evening of 20 December 2018, totalling cars, destroying roofs and leaving many without power.

Of the more than 80,000 claims processed so far, 73% are car related and 21% are related to residential homes.

The storm was "catastrophic"

It took less than a day for the ICA to declare the hailstorm a "catastrophe", after $125 million in damage claims were reported the very next day after the storm. To assist policyholders, insurers and local services, the ICA activated an emergency hotline, mobilised staff to help local residents, and established an industry task force to address unforeseen issues and to work closely with emergency services and government agencies.

It was only the fifth time in 2018 that the ICA declared a catastrophe and it was much worse, dollar-wise, than all the others put together. Previous catastrophes included bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria ($82.5 million in damage claims), Cyclone Marcus in the Northern Territory and Western Australia ($62 million), flooding in Queensland ($16.8 million) and flooding in Hobart, Tasmania ($99.6 million).

How to avoid major expenses after a storm

Those who were able to claim were the lucky ones. If you didn't have insurance when the storm hit, you would have been forced to pay for all the damages yourself and it would have been too late to get covered. You can avoid that fate the next time by making sure you have comprehensive car insurance (the only level of cover that will protect you against storms) and making sure your home insurance fully covers the value of your home.

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