What to do if your car is damaged by hail

Front of car with significant damage from hail

Danny Baggs

Posted April 11, 2023

Hail can cause widespread damage to cars, property, and even people. If you were caught off guard by hail and your car was damaged, here's what to do next.

Repairs for hail damage can easily run into the thousands, and even minor damage can take a week or longer to repair. Some storm-damaged cars are even written off because the cost of repairs exceeds the car’s value. Read on for our tips on how to deal with a hail-damaged car.

car damaged by hail

Most hail damage to vehicles is cosmetic only. Image: Getty


My car was damaged by hail - what do I do?

If your vehicle has been damaged by hail and your car insurance cover includes hail damage, contact your insurer as soon as possible to lodge a claim. 

RACV Members with car insurance can use the online claims portal or call the 24/7 Claims and Assistance Centre on 13 19 03 as soon as possible to lodge claims.

Is my car safe to drive after hail?

Hail damage to a vehicle’s bodywork is generally cosmetic only and will not usually affect the driveability or roadworthy status of the vehicle.

If, however, the hail has broken any glass on the windscreen, rear windscreen, side mirrors or light lenses, your vehicle is deemed unroadworthy. In this case, the glass must be replaced before driving the vehicle.

Should I fix car dents caused by hail?

Not repairing cosmetic hail damage can affect the resale value of your vehicle. If your car suffered significant bodywork dents from hail, it may be best to get the damaged bodywork repaired.

How do I fix car paint chipped by hail?

Hail does not usually chip paintwork, although it's more likely if your vehicle has had previous body or paint repairs. It's important to fix scratches quickly, as they may allow rust to form on your car's frame. Learn how to remove scratches from your car here.

Should I buy a hail-damaged car?

You may be able to purchase hail-damaged cars at lower prices as long as you aren't bothered by the vehicle's appearance. You should, however, make sure that the vehicle is mechanically sound before you purchase it, and  your car insurance provider will agree to insure a hail-damaged vehicle.

Depending on its level of hail damage, the vehicle may have been listed as a repairable write-off on the Written-Off Vehicles Register. You can check this on the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR) before buying a vehicle. If a written-off vehicle has been repaired, it should have a Vehicle Identity Validation inspection before you purchase it.

car damaged by hail

Hail is most likely to damage the glass on your car's windscreens, windows and side mirrors. Image: Getty


How to help prevent hail damage to your car

Checking a dedicated weather app or website like the BOM Weather App or VicEmergency app can help you anticipate and prepare for an impending storm, giving you more time to park your vehicle in a secure undercover location, such as a garage or carport.

If the hail impairs your driving vision, or if there is no nearby cover, pull over to the side of the road and wait inside your car for the hail to pass. When you stop, don’t park your car under trees, near power lines, or close to bodies of water that might flood during the storm. Find more tips to help protect your car from hail damage.

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This is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”). Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase a product, you should consider your personal circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination. For copies, visit racv.com.au. RACV Car Insurance issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Limited ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed.