Storms wreak a lot of havoc across the nation each year. They cause damage to homes, cars, and communities. As if the loss and destruction of property and vehicles aren’t enough, there’s also the massive bill the government is left to foot in their wake. The Building Resilience to Natural Disasters in our States and Territories report prepared by Deloitte Access Economics estimates the total economic cost of natural disasters in Australia over the 10 years leading up to 2016 adds up to about $18.2 billion. Ironically, it’s the ‘Sunshine State’ that accumulated the largest percentage of this bill (60%), due to the extensive flooding, hailing, and storming (and dreaded cyclones) in this region. To add to the concern, the total cost of natural disasters is projected to increase to $39 billion by 2050, according to the Deloitte report.
“RACQ statistics show half of all Queensland homeowners have done nothing to prepare for the upcoming storm season.” – RACQ
Unfortunately, even with the ongoing and increasing number of storms, Australians don’t always take the measures necessary to protect their property and vehicles against damage. According to Mozo, a large number of Australian homes could be uninsured by up to 66%. Further, only 62% of Australians have home and contents insurance, which is a lower amount than those that have car insurance (72%), according to MediaNet. Though, insurance isn’t the only precaution Australians can take to protect themselves from storm damage. While it’s harder to protect homes from storm damage (without going to the extent of boarding up windows), protecting cars is a much simpler process – and a much more necessary process. After all, it’s your car that’s more likely to become damaged.
So, what are precautions we can all take to protect our cars this storm season?
1.Make sure you are monitoring the BoM (Bureau of Meteorology)
BoM is a free resource that all Australians can access to track storms that are passing over their area. BoM also provides weather updates and warnings which can be incredibly useful, particularly in the instance of flash flooding occurring. For those that are on the road, it’s advised that you check in with this website as you travel to monitor weather and road conditions.
2.Park Your Car Under Cover
Simple, if you have a garage, carport, shed, shelter, or something within this category, make sure you park your car in it during storms. If you do not have access to an undercover area on your property, seek out a nearby car park or shopping centre where you can park your car if the weather radar is showing red. And while you’re parked, you might as well take advantage of the situation and do a little shopping… when life gives you lemons, right?
Tip: do not park under trees! While parking under a thick canopy might seem just as reliable as parking under a roof, it’s not advisable, unless you’re already due for a windscreen replacement. This option may seem plausible when covering for hail but the only thing worse than hail is a tree branch, or worse yet, an entire tree falling on your car. So, avoid the trees, especially during storms.
3.Invest in a Padded Car Cover
For those that do not have access to an undercover area, padded car covers are the next best thing. Just make sure they are designed for hail and not just sun and rain protection (these will be much cheaper). Hail covers are slightly thicker as they are designed to lessen the impact of hail; however, while they lessen the impact, they can’t stop the impact altogether. Excessive and forceful hail may cause slight indentation. For reference, a medium-sized hail cover will set you back around $230, which is a bit pricey, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than getting your car repaired (or getting a new carport).
Don’t have the money for a hail cover right now? If times get desperate, and you’re willing to sacrifice a few bed covers, chuck some doonas and blankets over your car when a storm emerges. Note: you will probably have to use multiple blankets to cover your whole car, otherwise cover the areas that matter (your auto glass will be the most fragile area).
4.Update Your Insurance
Check that your insurance company covers you if your car is damaged in a weather event and check for how much (make sure you can afford your excess!). Ensure your details of how you store your motor vehicle are correct – If your information is incorrect, you may not be eligible for any compensation. If you’re on the market for a new insurance package, you should compare different insurers before purchasing to ensure you have the correct level of coverage and for the best price. Looking for affordable coverage? Check out our article on the best car insurance deals while on a budget.
5.Avoid Flooded Roads at all Costs
We hear it all the time: “if it’s flooded, forget it.” But who hasn’t questioned whether their car can drive through a little water? It can be tempting to go through a flooded road when you get desperate (especially if it looks like it’s only a bit of water). The issue is, it’s really hard to judge the depth of water on a flooded road. What seems like a small puddle can be deep enough to pick your car off the ground and sweep it away. Water from flooded roads can also cause damage to your engine and the undercarriage of your vehicle. Therefore, it’s best to avoid flooded roads. If you live near bodies of water, it’s a good idea to avoid parking around these areas, especially if a storm is foreseeable. Creeks, rivers, lakes, and even ponds, can overfill and overflow, putting your car in danger. Park on higher ground if possible during wet weather.
When the Damage is Done…
Prevention is always better than cure – and the same goes for storm protection. The cost of repairing the exterior of a car from hail damage can amount to $5000 or more. That padded hail cover doesn’t really seem so expensive after all, right? Even more unfortunately, some cars are declared written off afterwards. Not fun.
“Up to 25% of storm-damaged vehicles are written off because of the cost of repairs which nears or exceeds the value of the vehicle.” – RACQ
But you won’t only be paying in money; extensive repairs can cost you some time going without personal transportation. The time needed to repair your car after a significant weather event can be days, if not weeks long.
There is some good news, however. Replacing your windscreen doesn’t have to be as scary, time-consuming, or expensive as bodywork. Novus Autoglass can replace entire windscreens within an hour and will even come to you to service your car. On top of this, Novus provides a lifetime warranty; this is how much they believe in their products and service.
So, get your car protected this storm season and save yourself the cost of repairs. Even if you’ve gotten lucky so far, that luck won’t last forever, especially as we see these extreme weather events increase each year.
Novus Autoglass are the trusted experts in windscreen and window repair and replacement. As the original inventors of glass repair, Novus understands best practice in windscreen restoration and they use the highest quality products. Call Novus on 13 22 34 next time you need a quick and easy repair and replacement.