Every year violent storms, flooding and large hail storm damage thousands of vehicles in Queensland and northern New South Wales. Many vehicles are ‘written off’ because they are considered uneconomical to repair.
Keeping your car under cover during these events will offer the greatest protection against hail storm damage, however this isn’t always possible or practical. Plan ahead. If a storm is forecast, try to make arrangements to park your vehicle under cover, delay the trip or use alternative modes of transport.
- If caught in a storm, look for safe shelter. This could include a covered car park, a service station awning, under a bridge etc. Don’t place yourself or others at risk by where you choose to shelter. Also be considerate of property owner’s rights if you shelter on private property.
Safety should always be your first priority
- Don’t park or shelter under trees due to the dangers of falling branches.
- Don’t speed up to beat a hail storm. This can lead to a crash – instead look for a safe place to shelter until the storm passes.
- If caught in a severe storm where visibility is reduced, try to pull well off the road to avoid being hit by other traffic.
- Turn on lights to increase visibility while driving and use the hazard lights if you are forced to stop at the side of the road. Wherever possible always choose a safe place to stop.
- Consider where you park. If the area has a history of flooding in extreme weather events, find somewhere else to stop.
Padded car covers intended to prevent or reduce the damage caused by hail stones are available.
- The level of protection offered by hail covers will ultimately depend on the type of cover and the size of the hail.
- Hail covers are unlikely to prevent damage from very large hail however they may reduce the level of damage.
- As a guide, hail covers can cost from $200 to more than $500. The price will depend on the quality and features of the cover and whether it is custom made for your particular car.
When buying a cover, consider the following
- Overall quality of the product i.e. fit, stitching, extent and thickness of padding, quality and durability of materials.
- Covers that don’t have padded sides are unlikely to protect side panels.
- Check that it has adequate tie-down points to prevent flapping or loss of the cover in high winds.
- Check the quality of stitching and the durability of the cover as it needs to withstand frequent fitting and gusty winds.
- Consider the size and weight of the cover. Remember that it needs to be stored when not in use. Storing bulky covers in cars with smaller boot/hatch areas can be a problem.
- Check that the cover manufacturer warrants the product for UV resistance and manufacturing defects.
- Choose a cover that best fits the vehicle – too big and it may flap around, too small and it will not fully cover the lower sections of panels.
Hail covers – tips and advice
- Practice fitting the cover before a storm. It can take a few attempts to get it on the car without too much effort.
- Avoid dragging the cover over the ground as it may pick up grit that can scratch the car’s paintwork.
- Avoid dragging the cover on the body paintwork when fitting / removing to prevent dirt / dust on the car causing scratches.
- Heavy or bulky covers may need more than one person to fit / remove and roll up for storage.
- Remove covers regularly to allow any moisture to evaporate. Moisture trapped under a cover could induce rust.
Ensure your car is properly insured.
- Repair bills for hail damage can typically exceed $5,000.
- Even minor damage can take a week or more to repair. More extensive damage that necessitates panel replacement can extend the repair time to several weeks.
- Up to 25% of storm damaged vehicles are written off because the cost of repairs nears or exceeds the value of the vehicle.
- Remember that you will still have to pay your basic excess
The Dent Guy – Hail Damage Repair Centre
For all your hail damage car repairs, call Ken at The Dent Guy.
Our hail damage repair centre can cater for four cars at any one time.
Fast and effective repair time frames
Servicing the Sunshine Coast – Noosa to Caloundra, Maroochydore to Nambour