Hailstones can measure up to 7cm in diameter and can cause major damage to cars. Picture: SUPPLIED
Hailstones can measure up to 7cm in diameter and can cause major damage to cars. Picture: SUPPLIED

Summer is hail season in the northern parts of SA.

Hail stones vary from the size of marbles to the size of golf balls. They cause millions of rand in damage a year. In 2018, short-term insurer Santam paid out more than R610m in hail and special peril-related claims. To avoid expensive damage, it is worth being prepared for hail season.

Santam personal lines underwriting manager Marius Neethling says hail is  extremely destructive. “Hailstones can measure up to 7cm in diameter so it is easy to see why so much irreparable damage is done to vehicles and property. Windscreens are shattered, vehicles dented, roofs damaged and house windows broken.”

The cost to repair and replace vehicles varies according to the severity of a  storm. . Not only are the costs crippling, but repairs can take months, depending on the availability of car parts and the capacity of motor body repairers.

Statistics show an average of six to eight hail days a year in parts of Gauteng and Lesotho, the eastern Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. So how can South Africans living in these parts of the country prepare for the inevitable fallouts of these storms? Neethling offers some tips for avoiding hail damage to your car.

 

  • Drive slowly — slower driving minimises the damage of hail and helps cope with slippery roads.
  • Find a safe, covered area immediately or pull over under an overpass, provided it is safe.
  • Undercover parking at malls and petrol stations are good temporary solutions to protecting your car during a hail storm.
  • Stay in the vehicle. Large hail stones can injure.
  • Keep fleecy blankets in your boot so you can cover your car to minimise the impact of hail.
  • Take careful note of the extent of the damage to your car, look for damage to all glass items including side mirrors, tail lights and head lights. Taking pictures may be useful.
  • If you are affected by hail, report it at once to your insurer.