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Can my car be a write-off from hail damage?

Storms are a part of the Aussie life. However, some storms can cause more damage than others, such as a hail storm. 

If you are unlucky enough to be a custom to hail storm damage, you will find that the world of automotive hail damage is a unique one of its own. Firstly, hail damage rarely happens to vehicles. Secondly, a hail damage write off can be a tedious process, taking longer than most normal write offs. 

As a result, dealing with hail damage car repairs means that you will need to approach matters differently. It is worth noting that you may be without a car for a while. Hail damage tends to affect a whole suburb of people all at the same time, meaning your insurers and repairers will be kept extremely busy. 

Does your insurance cover hail damage car repair? 

To avoid having to fix your car out of pocket, you will need to find out whether your car insurance covers hail damage car repairs. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, pull out your cheque book and a handkerchief. 

Typically, comprehensive car insurance will cover hail damage repairs. Third party coverage only applies to damage done to other people’s property and does not cover any damage done to your car, natural forces or otherwise. 

What you should do if you aren’t covered for hail damage repairs

If you aren’t covered for hail damage car repairs, you need to focus on fixing any windscreen damage. There are certain types of windscreen cracks that are safe and legal to drive with. 

If your windscreen is cracked to the point of being unroadworthy, thus illegal to operate your vehicle, you will need to contact a mobile windscreen repairer or get a tow a reliable smash repairer.

A good smash repairer will help determine whether your car is safe to drive. So long as the hail damage did not affect the mechanical integrity of your car, it is likely that you may be able to drive it as is. If your smash repairer considers it unsafe to drive, you will be given a quote for the cost of repairing the damage.

As a general ballpark, hail damage repairs can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000 depending on where the damage was inflicted and how bad it is. Where the damage is extreme, costs can go in excess of that general range. 

What to do if you are insured for hail damage 

If you are comprehensively insured, the process will take more work and time dealing with your insurer. The upside is that you won’t have to spend anywhere near as much as you would if you weren’t insured for hail damage repairs. 

First, get in touch with your insurer and follow their instructions. Most likely, they will ask you to go to a smash repairer. Your insurer will be able to arrange a tow should you deem your car unsafe to drive.

Once at the smash repairer, they will determine whether the hail damage done to your car can be considered as an economic write off. If your car can be repaired for less than the insured value, your insurer will fix it and return it to you. 

Where the quote for the hail damage repairs exceeds the insured value of your car, it will be considered as an economic write off. Typically, the insured value is around 70% to 80% of the market value of your vehicle.

Where there is a hail damage write off, your insurer will buy the car off you for the value it’s insured for. Your insurer may let you buy your car back if it is safe to drive at its revised market value. Alternatively, your insurer may not allow you to buy your vehicle back, which you will then have to wait until they pay out on your insurance policy. 

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