Australia is a vast country which experiences an equally vast array of weather conditions throughout the year, including the destructive storms, hail and flash flooding that summer or the wet season can often bring. For those without a garage or carport, protecting your car from hail or rain at this time of year can be especially difficult. As well as making it more difficult to drive safely, storms can also produce hazards such as hail, fallen trees or branches and rising floodwater, all of which cause problems for vehicles big and small.
And with new research from insurer Allianz finding that less than a third (29%) of us have a plan in place to prepare for the widespread wet weather that’s expected over the coming months, now could be an ideal time to start thinking about how to protect your car from the elements.
Here are a few steps you could consider if you want to minimise the chance of your car copping hail, storm or flood damage this year.
1. Sign up for early warning alerts
A number of local governments and other organisations across Australia offer early warning or emergency alert services to people living in the area. These often come in the form of text message or push notification warnings you can sign up for, which are then sent to your phone when a storm is headed towards where you live. Examples include the Brisbane City Council’s Early Warning Alert Service, while the Bureau of Meteorology also issues Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and other Severe Weather Warnings in every Australian state and territory, so it could be worth keeping an eye on its website or social media pages.
2. Go shopping
If there’s a serious storm on the way and you’re concerned about your car, consider a visit to your local shopping centre. It will most likely have a covered car park where you can leave your vehicle, although you may want to check the centre’s opening hours first, as some shopping centre carparks will only let you in while the stores inside are open. You could also go and see a movie, as many cinemas have sheltered parking, whether or not they are located in shopping centres. This may help protect your car from being damaged by hailstones and storm debris.
3. Check whether your insurer has a warning system
Some insurers, such as Budget Direct via its Hail Hero service, alert customers when there is hail forecast in the customer’s local area. That’s not to say you should run towards any insurer simply because it has a warning system, but it could be worth asking your current insurer what it offers, and comparing your options to find a policy that suits your needs.
4. Use blankets
If you’re caught with only a few minutes’ warning, and no cover, one option could be to throw some relatively heavy blankets over your car and tie them down. This could help to protect your car from an array of things a storm could throw at it, especially hailstones and small branches.
5. Keep your car away from bodies of water
If you live near a creek, river, or lake and you think there may be a flood or storm on the way, find a place to park your car that’s either on higher ground, or far enough away from the body of water to ensure its safety. Otherwise, you may run the risk of your car being damaged by flood water.
6. Keep surroundings clear
Inspect the area around your home, or wherever your car is parked, for potential hazards. Loose roof tiles, overhanging branches, and TV antennae can all pose a threat to your car in heavy winds.
A bit of time spent taking preemptive measures to protect your car from hail and other storm damage could help you reduce the risk of a major headache (and cost) after the event.
Of course, you may also want to check what your car insurance would cover if your car were to be damaged by hail, flood water, or other storm-related disasters.
If you’re considering car insurance policies, the comparison table below displays some of the policies currently available on Canstar’s database for a 30-39 year old male seeking cover in NSW without cover for an extra driver under 25. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) followed by provider name (alphabetical) and features links direct to the providers’ websites. Use Canstar’s car insurance comparison selector to view a wider range of policies.
Main image source: John-Fs-Pic (Shutterstock).