Whether you’re buying a new car or insuring an existing one, understanding what’s included in your vehicle insurance can feel daunting.
At Youi, we’re about providing car insurance that's easy to access and understand. But when times are tough, and every cent counts, it’s easy to overlook whether or not your cover includes specific things like hail damage. Here's what you should know about hail damage and your car insurance.
Risks of hail damage on the rise
It’s important to note that hail poses a very real risk — and it’s one that seems to be increasing.
The impact of climate change can already be seen across the nation, and it's only expected to worsen in the near future. Climate change plays a role in rising temperatures and bushfires, but it can also affect other weather events, including hail storms — which are expected to increase in terms of both frequency and intensity.
That's why it's more important than ever to make sure you have the necessary insurance to protect against hail damage. Sustaining hail damage not once, but numerous times throughout the year — or throughout a single season — is a growing risk, and can prove costly without the right cover.
Hailstorms in 2020
In 2020, we unfortunately saw just how much damage a hailstorm can cause. According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), the ‘Halloween hailstorms’ that battered southeast Queensland prompted over 22,500 claims in the first week of November alone.
It's reported that the bill for these claims will exceed over $260 million in damage. Among these claims are the many Queenslanders who saw their cars get caught out in the storms, and sustained substantial hail damage as a result. But this won't be the last storm of this magnitude. The best thing you can do is be prepared.
Understanding hail cover by insurance type
One of the common mistakes Australians make is misunderstanding the level of cover they have on their car insurance.
Like every person, every car insurance policy is different.
Often, drivers discover too late — immediately after a hailstorm, for example — that their policy doesn’t provide the level of coverage they thought it did.
Prevent this by taking the time to understand the key differences between the main types of car insurance available. This is valuable not only when it comes to seeking cover for hail damage, but for a variety of other incident types as well.
Compulsory Third Party (CTP)
Though it’s mandatory to hold CTP, it doesn’t cover hail damage. CTP covers death and personal injury to a third party, and not property damage.
Third Party Property Only
Third Party Property Only car insurance covers certain third-party damage incurred to another car or property by the policyholder. It usually won’t cover a policyholder for the cost of repair or replacement when it comes to any damage sustained to their own vehicle. Therefore, if you’re seeking cover for hail damage, this policy type won’t do the trick.
Third Party Fire and Theft
A Third Party Fire and Theft policy is similar to Third Party Property Only, but it typically includes additional coverage for damage sustained to the policyholder’s car as a result of a fire or theft.
Although this insurance type does provide greater coverage than a Third Party Property Only policy, it does not usually cover hail damage. If hail damage is a concern for you, you’ll be better served by the next policy type on this list.
Comprehensive Car Insurance
Comprehensive Car Insurance is generally the best policy for car owners seeking the maximum level of cover available for their vehicle, as it normally goes above and beyond the protection afforded by Third Party Fire and Theft policies and can include the ability to include storm or flood damage within the standard policy package.
Although a Comprehensive Car Insurance policy is the highest level of cover you can have, it's important to remember that individual policies can differ, depending on your insurer, your particular vehicle, your location and your needs. It’s important that you check with your insurer to understand if hail cover is included in your insurance premium.
Is pre-existing damage covered?
A Comprehensive Car Insurance policy may provide cover for hail damage; however, it typically covers future damage only. You will be unable to make claims on your insurance policy for existing hail damage.
Consider ‘extras’ when applying for cover
Finding out after an incident that hail damage isn’t covered under a car insurance policy isn’t a fun experience. So it’s worth considering, at the time you are buying your policy, whether additional extras might need to be included in the policy — if only for peace of mind. Common examples of these additional extras include insuring against a loss of business items.
This also applies to other incidents you may not think are likely to occur — such as damage due to an earthquake. Even if an incident isn’t likely to occur in your local area, there may still be a risk if you’ll be traveling to, or using your car, in a different region.
Review your insurance policy regularly
Does this sound familiar? You take out insurance, then set the policy aside, only to forget about it until you need to make a claim.
Familiar as it might be, treating your insurance this way can lead to unpleasant surprises if (or when) an incident occurs. So it pays to review your policy regularly, and to make it a priority to alert your insurance provider of any changes to ensure you’re still fully covered.
Many drivers fail to update their policy for their current needs until it’s too late. Review your policies anytime they're coming up for renewal, or anytime you have a significant change in circumstances that could impact your policy.
Need help understanding your current cover or have further questions on protecting your vehicle against hail damage? The car insurance specialists at Youi are happy to take a look. Contact us today to see how we can help.
Information provided in this article is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider our car insurance product disclosure statement at www.youi.com.au to decide if our products are appropriate for you.