It’s that time of year again where the weather flips from sunny skies to ominous storm clouds in what seems like seconds. But storms are the least of our worries – it’s the hail that sends us into a frenzy, pulling out everything at hand to buffer the heavy blows of hail on our cars. This is especially true if you find yourself residing in a hail zone or hail belt, which has a higher hailstorm frequency than surrounding areas (such as KZN’s interior or central Free State).
The damage that hail inflicts is no joke, and it costs insurers hundreds of millions each year.
To give you an example, in 2018, Santam paid out more than R610m in hail and special peril-related claims! While there’s not much we can do to change the weather, there are a few steps we can take to protect our cars. We’ve drawn up a practical guide on how to protect your car from hail this storm season. Take a look at the Dos and Don’ts of hail safety.
1.Install a weather App on your phone, such as AfricaWeather, and enable push notifications so that you can be warned of any upcoming hailstorms or torrential downpours.
2.Before any major storm, make sure to load the locations of the nearest garages or shops with undercover parking onto Google Maps.
3.Always carry an umbrella and a couple of old, thick blankets in your car in case you are caught unexpected and need to cover your car to minimise hail damage. Add duct tape to your hail emergency kit, so that you can stick blankets down on extra windy occasions and prevent them from flying off in the wind.
4.If you can’t find cover and don’t have blankets to protect your car, then use your car’s floor mats and place these over your car to act as a buffer.
5.If you can’t find cover, then find a safe space, away from traffic, to pull over and stop your car. Lie or crouch down if you can, with your face as far away from the windows as possible. Pull a jacket over your head for protection if the hail is really heavy.
6. Purchase a car cover that’s specially designed to protect your car from hail. While these may be costly, they will save thousands in the long run.
7. Park the front of your car towards the hail. Your tail lights are not as strong as your windscreen and headlights, so it’s better to have your car facing the direction that the hail is coming from.
1.Park under a tree. While the tree may provide partial shelter, there is a great risk of the hailstorm damaging the tree, causing branches to fall on your car.
2.Continue driving. The faster you move, the higher the risk of serious damage to you and your car. If there’s nowhere to go, just stay put inside your car.
Adding to these Dos and Don’ts for how to protect your car from hail damage, we encourage you to check with your broker to see if your motor insurance covers you for hail damage. We also recommend that you immediately inform us of any hail damage, so that we can arrange the repair work as soon as possible.
While the hailstorm may leave dents on your car, we’ll be here to help avoid dents in your pocket, and to help take the stress out of claiming.