Hailstorms are a leading cause of damage to vehicles and property but despite signs hail intensity is increasing, Australians are largely unprepared against the threat.
The hail season typically runs from October through January, but less than one in four Australian homeowners say their properties are adequately prepared for natural disasters like hail.
Last year, 43 per cent of claims for hailstorm damage with insurer QBE were made in January, and October through December.
And with the frequency and severity of extreme weather events predicted to increase due to climate change, the need to protect cars and homes from hail is more pressing than ever.
“With the increased threat of hail approaching, it’s wise home and vehicle owners get proactive and take measures to better prepare and protect their assets,” said QBE general manager of claims Arron Mann.
“Simple things like setting up weather alerts or getting your car to an undercover car park before hail strikes can help protect your vehicle from damage.”
In a survey of 1001 Australians conducted for QBE, 59 per cent of respondents said their properties were “somewhat prepared” while 18 per cent said they weren’t prepared at all.
The survey found hail was responsible for 37 per cent of damage caused to properties by natural disasters, second only to flooding at 38 per cent.
Hail-prone days have increased by up to 40 per cent in some heavily populated areas of Australia, scientists from the University of New South Wales and the Bureau of Meteorology found in a study published in September.
The analysis of 40 years of climate data found patterns of atmospheric instability were changing, making the ingredients that form hailstorms more common over major cities like Sydney and Perth.
A hailstorm in Newcastle in May caused more than 7500 claims in 72 hours, representing $238 million worth of damage. More than 6000, or 80 per cent, of the claims involved damage to vehicles.
(Australian Associated Press)