How to protect your car from hail and storm damage
17 December 2018
Having to deal with Australia’s harsh weather events and catastrophes is just part of living in our island nation. Whether it be droughts, bushfires or cyclones, Mother Nature can be relentless. One natural hazard that often gets overlooked is hail.
Hail can be extremely dangerous for both you and your property, especially your car, as some areas experience golf ball-sized hail stones, capable of smashing windows and denting cars.
Over the past 10 years, episodes of hail that have been recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology’s’ Severe Storms Archive show that hail predominantly affects the eastern coast of Australia. However, the size of the stones are indiscriminate and massive hailstones can strike anywhere.
No matter where you live in Australia, hail can affect you and damage your vehicle. But what can you do? If you spot hail is forecast for your area, here are some simple things you can do to protect your car.
If you’re on the road and hail begins to fall, do not panic. Panic often leads to poor decision-making, so stay calm and get to cover.
If there is a shopping mall or large supermarket nearby, many of them have undercover parking garages you can use to seek refuge. If not, most petrol stations have cover over their petrol pumps and parking areas. Try not to park at a pump as you may prevent others from getting petrol- instead, park in a vacant bay and wait out the storm.
Protect your car
If you find yourself on the road with no shelter in sight, there are things you can do to protect your car from hail.
Grab the picnic blanket or tarp in the boot and throw it over the car to dampen the impact of the hailstones. Doing something as simple as this can save your car from hundreds, or thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your paintwork and windows.
If you don’t have any large coverings, throw a jacket over your windshield to protect the glass. Though your car’s body might cop a belting, you will still be able to drive with a few dents. You won’t be able to drive with a smashed windshield though, so treat that as your top priority to protect.
A more comprehensive option would be a ‘car umbrella’. A quick Google will let you find these handy devices which act as a shield for your car.
When it comes to protecting your car from hail at home, some people will tell you to build a carport or garage. This is obviously the best-case scenario, but often isn’t practical – unless you have thousands of dollars to spare and a few spare square metres on your property.
You can improvise though. If you see a hailstorm approaching on the weather forecast, you could duck off to your local hardware store or party supplies store and purchase a cheap gazebo. There are many options you can pick up for under $50 which are easy to assemble and take down for when the storms descend on your area.
Just keep in mind, many of these are very light, so tie them down to something heavy to stop the wind taking it away.
Cover your car with insurance
At the end of the day, weather is largely unpredictable and can change at the drop of a hat. Though there may come a time where you won’t be able to protect your car, you can protect yourself financially at all times.
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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision regarding this product. Suncorp Roadside Assist is provided by Digicall Assist Pty Ltd. For full coverage details, please see the Suncorp Insurance Roadside Assist Terms and Conditions . This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Terms and conditions for coverage apply.