Guide to making a successful car insurance claim for storm damage
Whether you were parked or on the open road, you are able to claim damage caused by a storm, including wind, hail, flooding and more, provided you have a suitable insurance policy. This article will provide guidance on what steps to take to make a successful claim if your vehicle is damaged by a storm.
First, check if you are covered
First you need to know that your car insurance policy actually covers storm damage. Typically, you will only be covered if you have a comprehensive car insurance policy.
Check the product disclosure statement to see exactly what you’re covered for. Look for any mention of storm damage. You’ll also want to check your statement to see if you’ve qualified for any no-claims discount, and how much your premiums will go up after making a storm damage claim
If you can’t find it, you’ll need to get in touch with your insurer to confirm whether or not you are covered.
What to do after storm damage to your car
- Don’t drive the damaged car. It’s not safe, and the insurer may reject your storm damage claim if you do.
- Don’t remove debris without documenting it. Ideally, avoid removing any debris until you have the go-ahead from your insurer. If you need to for safety reasons, take a photo with your phone first.
- Call your insurer as soon as possible. Note that if large areas were affected by the storm there may be delays in the customer service lines.
- Don’t authorize repairs without contacting your insurer first. Unapproved repairs are unlikely to be covered by your insurance policy.
You will need…
- Your name, address and driver’s licence number
- Your insurance policy number
- Your vehicle registration number
- The date and, if possible, the exact time the damage occurred
- Any other information requested by the insurer
Check the damage
The type of claim you make will vary depending on the source of damage:
- Storm: General storm damage caused by intense weather.
- Wind: Damage directly caused by wind, such as windows broken by debris.
- Hail: The distinct dents and cracked or broken glass caused by hail storms.
- Flood: Provides cover if your car is damaged by ground flooding, such as water coming up from storm drains. Other water damage, such as rain through broken windows, is not flooding and is usually covered under storm damage.
Note that these may vary depending on the insurer and the policy. Read your insurance PDS to see how it works for you. Many insurers will only mention broad categories like storm, weather or natural events, in which case you should claim all the damage under that.
Checklist: Documenting the damage
The easiest way to document the damage in detail is with photos.
- Take full scene photos that show what happened, where your car was parked and the surroundings.
- Take close-ups to show specific damage. You don’t need to take a separate picture of each dent, but should make sure that all damage is clearly shown in the photos.
- Where necessary, you might want to label the photos with information such as “driver side door” to make them clearer.
- Remember to check the interior. It’s important to document the damage as fully as possible.
Sending in your claim
Depending on your insurer, there are different ways of making a claim. You will need to send in a claims form and the documentation, either online or through the mail. Online will usually get you a faster response.
- Fill out the claims form provided by your insurer. It will have sections for all the relevant information.
- Send in your photos using the tools provided. In many cases your insurer will simply specify an email address you should send them to.
If you have a comprehensive car insurance policy, it may also cover a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. If the storm has also damaged your home you will also need to check your home and contents storm cover.