Mozo guides

Storm and hail damage car insurance

Houses and cars getting hit by hail and damaged during a storm.

If you want to be covered for hail damage, you’ll need a comprehensive car insurance policy. Lower-tier policies like third-party property insurance just won’t cut it.

Keep in mind that your comprehensive policy won’t fix pre-existing hail damage (damage that occurred before you took out your policy). However, having pre-existing hail damage won’t prohibit you from taking out a new policy on your car, ensuring you’re covered for future events.

What insurance covers hail damage to your car?

Car looking like a golf ball after a hail storm? The only insurance that has your back after a hail storm is comprehensive insurance.

To illustrate the differences and why comprehensive insurance is the preferred option for hail damage, here's a comparison of the four major levels of insurance:

Insurance Type
Injury to you and others
Damage to others' property
Theft & fire to your car
Accidental damage to your car (incl. hail)
Compulsory Third Party (CTP)

Third Party Property (TPP)

Third Party Fire and Theft (TPFT)


As you can see, comprehensive car insurance stands out as the only level of insurance that will cover your hail-damaged car. That's because it's the only insurance that covers a wide range of damage to your own vehicle, including both non-collision events like weather damage and collision-related incidents.

Do you have to pay excess for hail damage?

Yes, if you're claiming for hail damage on your comprehensive insurance, you will need to pay an excess. The excess is a fixed amount you agree to pay towards the cost of the claim before your insurance provider covers the remaining expenses. You decide the amount of excess you’ll pay when setting up your policy. It can be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.  

There are specific instances where the excess might be waived, like windshield repairs, it’s more likely than not that the hail would have damaged more than just the glass. We’ll go into windscreen excess cover in the next section.

But in general, expect to pay an excess for hail damage, as it's a predetermined part of your insurance agreement. Always review your policy details to understand the conditions under which an excess is required.

How does insurance handle window hail damage?

If your car's windows get caught in a hailstorm, comprehensive car insurance will cover it. When both the windows and the body of the car are affected, you'd typically file one claim to cover all the repairs, meaning you only have to deal with one excess payment for everything. It's a straightforward way to handle a not-so-great situation.

A lot of insurance policies have something called windscreen excess cover. This is really useful because it's designed to make it easier for you to get small chips or cracks fixed quickly. The idea is to encourage you to repair minor damage to windscreens and windows before it turns into a bigger problem, offering conditions like a lower excess or no excess for these specific repairs. This feature might be automatically included in your policy, or you might have the option to add it on.

If the hail specifically damaged your windows or windscreen, or if that's the only repair you're looking to make, taking advantage of this windscreen excess cover can be a clever choice. It usually means dealing with less paperwork and potentially saving on costs.

Just make sure to review your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to confirm if you have special windscreen excess cover. But don’t fret if you don’t have it, because even without this specific add-on, you'll still be covered for windscreen damage under your comprehensive policy, albeit with your standard excess.

Can you insure a hail-damaged car?

Insuring a car that has already been damaged by hail is possible, but there are a few things to consider. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Inspection required. Most insurance companies will require an inspection of the car before offering coverage. This helps them assess the current state of the vehicle and any pre-existing damage.
  • Limited coverage. Depending on the extent of the hail damage, the insurer may limit the coverage options available for your car. In some cases, comprehensive coverage might still be available, but with conditions or exclusions related to the hail damage.
  • Higher premiums. Insuring a hail-damaged car may come with higher premiums. This is because the car is considered a higher risk for future claims, particularly if the hail damage has weakened the car's structure or exterior, or if it’s evidence that you don’t park in a garage.
  • Pre-existing damage exclusion. Any future claims made on the car will not cover the pre-existing hail damage. Insurers will only cover damage that occurs after the policy start date.

So, while insuring a car with hail damage is certainly possible, the process involves inspections, potential limitations on coverage and possibly higher premiums. So it's important to shop around and discuss your options with different insurers to find the best coverage for your needs.

Does hail damage affect insurance premiums?

Hail damage can indeed affect your insurance premiums, and the impact can get nuanced based on the situation:

  • Pre-existing damage. Insuring a car with pre-existing hail damage introduces complexities. On one hand, the lower value of the car might suggest to insurers a lower risk for payout, potentially nudging premiums down. On the other hand, the presence of hail damage could indicate to insurers a higher risk lifestyle or circumstances, such as not parking in a garage. If you claim to usually park in a garage, insurers might require convincing evidence, considering the pre-existing damage could suggest otherwise.
  • Damage occurring after policy purchase. If your car is damaged by hail after you've purchased your insurance policy and you file a claim, this could lead to higher premiums at renewal. Insurers may view a hail damage claim as a sign of increased risk, which can be reflected in your future premium rates.
  • Not making a claim. Choosing not to claim for hail damage might not immediately affect your premiums. However, if your insurer discovers the damage later, such as during an inspection for a separate claim, it could raise questions about how the insurer assesses your risk profile and coverage terms.

Navigating insurance after hail damage involves weighing the immediate costs against long-term impacts on premiums, especially when considering how to present your car's parking and storage habits to your insurer.

How to make a hail damage insurance claim

Filing a hail damage claim for your car involves a few key steps to ensure the process is smooth and efficient. Here's a quick guide to help you navigate the claim process:

  1. Document the damage. Start by taking clear photos of all the hail damage from every angle you can think of. Also, make a note of when the hailstorm hit. A quick check of the weather reports to back up your story is a smart move, but don’t sweat it if there’s no official record.
  2. Review your policy. Before picking up the phone or hitting send on that email, give your policy a quick look-see. You want to make sure hail damage is covered and get a bead on your excess amount and any terms related to hail damage.
  3. Notify your insurer. Now it’s time to loop in your insurer. Give them the lowdown on the hail damage, sharing those photos and any other details you’ve noted. This step gets the ball rolling on your claim.
  4. Pay your excess. After you've reported the damage, your insurer will usually ask you to pay your excess. This bit's done directly with the insurer and it's pretty much the green light for your claim to officially kick off.
  5. Follow insurer instructions. Your insurer will let you know what comes next, which might involve taking your car in for a check-up or having someone come out to assess the damage. They're the guidebook for this journey, so stay in sync with their steps.
  6. Arrange for repairs. With the go-ahead from your insurer and your excess sorted, it's time to get your car fixed up. Stick to the approved repairers list your insurer provides to ensure everything's up to snuff and covered by your policy.
  7. Keep records. Keep a tidy file of all your interactions with the insurer and the repair shop, including emails, claim numbers, and receipts. It’s always good to have your ducks in a row, just in case you need to reference them later.

Approaching your hail damage claim in this manner keeps things organised and reduces the stress often associated with insurance claims. It's like tackling any big task — one step at a time.

How long after a storm can you claim hail damage?

Most insurers don't impose a strict deadline for filing claims, but it's wise to act swiftly, particularly with hail damage where timing is crucial. Ideally, you've documented the date and time of the hailstorm.

This bit of diligence can ease the process significantly if you end up filing a claim later. Keeping a timely record not only helps in aligning your claim with weather reports but also streamlines the verification process for your insurer.

So, while there's usually no immediate rush, promptly noting and reporting damage sets you up for a smoother claim experience.

More about storm insurance for your car

Hail damage is just one type of storm that is covered under most comprehensive car insurance policies. Other storm-related events usually covered include:

  • Thunderstorms and lightning. Damage from lightning strikes or the overall impact of a severe storm.
  • Hail and snow. Damage resulting from hailstones or heavy snowfall.
  • Rainwater damage. Covers situations where water rises and damages your vehicle, such as when stormwater drains overflow. In some policies, this might be classified under flooding, usually referring to overflows from natural water sources like lakes and rivers.
  • Runoff. This refers to water overflow from swimming pools and tanks due to excessive rain.
  • Storm surge. Known as 'actions of the sea,' where strong winds or sea movements cause seawater to damage property. Be aware that some policies may exclude storm surge damage.

Remember, each individual policy may have limits or exclusions for certain situations related to these events, so be sure to read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully for all the details.

Other FAQs about storm and hail insurance:

Does third party insurance cover hail damage?

Third-party car insurance won't cover hail damage to your vehicle. This type of policy is designed to protect against damage your car might cause to other vehicles or property, not damage from natural events like hail to your own car. 

And while Third Party, Fire and Theft (TPFT) insurance adds coverage for your vehicle if it's stolen or damaged by fire, hail damage is still not included. 

To ensure your car is protected against hail, you'll need comprehensive car insurance, which covers a wide range of situations, including natural events.

When won’t I be covered for storm and hail damage?

If your insurance policy covers storm and hail damage, there may still be some circumstances where your claim for this kind of damage is rejected. This may be because:

  • You just took out your policy. If you take out a policy just as a storm is approaching or already happening, you might be within what's called a waiting period. This is a set amount of time right after your policy starts, during which coverage for certain events, like storms, isn't active yet. It’s usually around 72 hours.
  • You acted recklessly or otherwise put your car in harm's way. Your insurance won’t cover you if you knowingly caused the damage, like if you intentionally moved the car from your garage to the street during the hail storm.
  • If there’s not enough evidence to prove the damage was caused by storm or hail. As with all insurance claims, you need to provide sufficient evidence of the circumstances of the event so your provider can determine whether or not it falls under an ‘insurable event’. To help sure-up your claim, you can take photos of the damage and the car in situ in the post-storm or hail conditions, and note down the event timeline for fact checking. 
How do I protect my car from hail and storm damage?

The best way to protect your car against hail and storm damage is to park it somewhere sheltered and secure (parking in a garage could also reduce your car insurance costs). If this isn’t an option in the midst of a hail storm, aim for somewhere else protected – perhaps a shopping centre car park – or consider covering your car quickly with heavy blankets for protection if it’s safe to do so.

For more proactive planning, you might want to invest in a car cover specifically designed to protect against hail if you can’t access a secure parking spot. It also always pays to keep an eye out for severe weather warnings, or opt-in for hail and storm warning text alerts from your insurance provider if that’s an option.

What time of year does hail damage commonly happen in Australia?

While a hail storm or other damaging weather events can strike any time, there are some seasonal increases in storm frequency. In Australia, storm season is generally during the spring and summer months (using from October to April), when temperature increases and other weather patterns enhance storm growth.

Timeframes may shift slightly depending on where you live in Australia, and how prone that area is to severe thunderstorms, hail storms and cyclones.

How do I know if a hail storm is on its way?

Then, you might want to think about preventative measures. Some car insurance companies  like Budget Direct will send out alerts to customers when there’s a hail warning, so that you might have time to move your car to a protected area. However, severe weather warning systems are also freely available from sources like the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and news outlets.

How do I find the right car insurance for me?

This depends entirely on your personal circumstances, budget and needs as a driver. Therefore, choosing a car insurance policy can involve a lot of research and careful consideration.

Luckily, Mozo can help kick your research efforts into gear with the Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Car Insurance. Each year our team of dedicated researchers and analysts compares a variety of comprehensive car insurance policies to determine the best value and highest quality options for Australian drivers.

While every award winner may not suit your needs or budget, it’s certainly a good place to start when you’re trying to understand car insurance features and costs. If you’re after more detail on award-winning policies, we’ve done a rundown of a few of the best car insurance policies as chosen by our experts.

Brad Buzzard
Brad Buzzard
Senior Money Writer

Brad brings over 25 years of experience in writing and consumer research to Mozo, using his RG146 certification for Generic Knowledge and Superannuation Brad has a knack for translating complex policies, to deliver practical guidance on financial matters. Brad has been featured in The Australian, B&T, Mumbrella, and Asia Insurance Review, and his insights have influenced the strategies of some of the world's biggest brands including McDonalds and Proctor & Gamble.

* Terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits may apply to any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. These terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits could affect the level of benefits and cover available under any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. Please refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and the Target Market Determination on the provider's website for further information before making any decisions about an insurance product.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Car Insurance Awards