21 May 2020

Financial assistance for hail damage extended

| Dominic Giannini
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Hailstones battered more than 37,000 cars in January. Photo: Region Media.

Financial assistance for the thousands of Canberrans who had their cars damaged in January’s hailstorm has been extended until the end of October because of COVID-19.

The hail rebate package offered through Access Canberra has already provided assistance of more than $260,000 and received over 1,500 applications. It is estimated the hailstorm damaged 37,000 cars in the capital.

The rebates apply to any person who owned a privately registered ACT vehicle that was damaged in the January hailstorm, according to an ACT Government spokesperson.

The ACT Government has already cut registration fees to register a vehicle that replaces a car damaged in the hail storm. A replacement car costing $10,000 or less will receive a stamp duty rebate of up to $100 for private registration in the ACT until 30 June 2020.

Rebates are also available for people who have paid to have their damaged vehicle inspected, cancelled the registration of a damaged vehicle, have registered a replacement vehicle in the ACT, had their homes or businesses damaged, or lost income as a result of the storm.

More than 55,000 insurance claims totalling $514 million in damages were filed with insurers within a fortnight of the 20 January storm. Seventy per cent were for domestic motor vehicles, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said.

However, as of early May, half to two-thirds of claims were still incomplete, depending on the insurer, because of delays caused by COVID-19, the ICA said.

Interstate workers have been unable to travel because of lockdown and social distancing measures while material shortages also added to the delay on insurance claims for houses and cars.

Gusts of up to 120 km/h and golf-ball-sized hail – with some as large as tennis balls – lashed the capital, resulting in thousands of emergency call-outs across the capital.

Canberrans whose vehicles were damaged in the hailstorm can apply for rebates online at Access Canberra or by calling 13 22 81. You do not need to attend an Access Canberra Service Centre to apply.

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