How to protect your car from hail damage

a car damaged by hail damage


Posted January 09, 2024

Hail is notorious for causing significant car damage. Find out how to help protect your car from hail, whether you’re at home or out and about.

Australian hailstorms are most common during spring and early summer according to Dr Joshua Soderholm, a severe weather research scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). “This is a time of the year when surface temperatures are warm enough to promote the development of intense thunderstorms,” Dr Soderholm said.

What causes hail?

Hail becomes more likely when there are warm surface temperatures, strong winds, and cool air in the upper atmosphere.

"Hail starts as water vapour near the ground. This condenses into tiny water droplets, cooling as it rises inside a thunderstorm updraft, collecting really cold water that’s below freezing,” Dr. Soderholm explained. “The longer the droplets – and eventually ice – fly through the supercooled water within the hailstorm updraft, the bigger it grows."

car damaged by hail

Hail can cause lots of damage to an unprotected vehicle. Image: Getty


How to help protect your car from hail storms and damage

Check the forecast for hail

Weather forecasts aren’t iron-clad, but they can often predict severe weather like hailstorms. Checking a dedicated app or website like the BOM Weather App or VicEmergency app can help you anticipate impending hazards, giving you more time to prepare or get undercover.

Find cover from hail

A good way to protect your car from hail is to park your car in a secure undercover location, like a garage or carport. These spaces are often used for miscellaneous household storage, but make sure there’s room enough for your car during a hailstorm even if you don’t usually park there.

If hail starts raining while you’re driving, help keep yourself safe by slowing down, turning your headlights on, and driving cautiously to a nearby covered carpark or under a petrol station awning.

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, by power lines, or near bodies of water that might flood during the storm.

car covered in a hail cover

A hail cover can protect your car in the event of a hail storm. Image: Getty


Use a hail cover (or improvise one)

You can buy a hail cover from most auto shops starting from around $200-300. Hail covers totally cover your car, reducing the impact of hailstones on your vehicle to minimise damage. Keeping one in the car means that you always have a back-up plan if you can’t get your car under cover in time. Make sure to practice putting it on so you’re not struggling with it in during a storm.

Alternatively, you could keep some old, thick blankets in your car boot and tie them down over your car to protect the metal panels from hailstones. In a pinch, picnic blankets or a generic car cover will also help a little, and you can place your car’s floor mats over the windscreen to help protect the glass.

More: How to protect your car paintwork 

Keep your car insurance up to date

Make sure to check your comprehensive car insurance policy’s Product Disclosure Statement to check whether your car is covered for hail damage. If your car does get damaged by hail and you're protected, you can then make a claim.

Note the details of the incident, along with your policy number, then lodge a claim online or over the phone. Read this article for more information on what to do if your car is damaged by hail.

Protect yourself against loss in the event of a storm.
Learn more about RACV Car Insurance →


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 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.