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Hail-damaged vehicles

Defective hail-damaged vehicles

Severe storms can bring hail, which can damage your vehicle, motorcycle or caravan. This damage may make your vehicle defective, including:

  • broken or cracked windows
  • broken lights, such as headlights, tail-lights or direction indicators
  • damaged windscreen wiper arms.

Storms may also cause damage from falling trees or other debris.

It is an offence to drive a defective vehicle on a road. Penalties can include on-the-spot fines, driver licence demerit points and defect notices.

Written-off hail-damaged vehicles

If your vehicle is severely damaged by hail and comprehensively insured, your insurance company may decide that the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than the vehicle is worth.

In this case, the insurer may settle the claim with a payment rather than repair the vehicle and notify the Department of Transport and Main Roads of the written-off vehicle. Read more about written-off vehicles.

You may still be able to drive a hail-damaged vehicle if it’s safe. However, if the vehicle is defective, you can’t drive it on a road until it’s been repaired to a safe condition.

Getting your vehicle replaced

If your insurer declares your vehicle written off, they may replace it under the terms of your policy. However, high demand for new vehicles after large hail storms may delay your replacement vehicle.

Ask your insurer about options for getting around until your new vehicle arrives. They may provide a hire vehicle or let you drive your damaged vehicle until it’s replaced (if it’s not defective and still safe to drive).

Your insurer must tell you if your vehicle has been recorded on the written-off vehicle register. If you decide to continue to drive or keep your damaged vehicle, ask your insurer not to record it as written off until it’s replaced.

Keeping your written-off vehicle

If your insurer writes off your vehicle, you may still be able to keep the vehicle as part of the settlement. The vehicle will still be recorded on the written-off vehicle register.

The vehicle’s history can’t be removed from the written-off vehicle register and will usually reduce the vehicle’s value. Consider this before accepting a reduced cash settlement and deciding to keep the vehicle.

Written-off vehicle exemption

Usually a written-off vehicle needs an inspection before it can be re-registered or driven on a road. However, a written-off hail-damaged vehicle may be exempt from an inspection.

To be eligible for this exemption, you must meet all these criteria:

  • Your vehicle must have cosmetic hail damage only. If there is damage from a falling tree or a crash, you’re not eligible for the exemption.
  • You must have been the vehicle’s registered operator immediately before it was damaged by hail. The name of the registered operator is on the registration papers.
  • Your vehicle’s registration must be current.

If you don’t meet all these criteria, you’re not eligible for an exemption and you need to follow the usual written-off vehicle inspection process.

If you do meet these criteria, you’re automatically exempt from needing a written-off vehicle inspection. You don’t need to apply for the exemption.

Once your insurer has notified the Department of Transport and Main Roads about your written-off vehicle, you’ll receive a confirmation letter about the write-off and exemption in about 14 days.

The hail write-off and exemption record are retained on the register.

You may continue to drive the vehicle if it’s safe to do so. The hail write-off won’t affect your registration period.

Your vehicle must still comply with relevant vehicle standards to be driven on a road, and you must repair any damage that makes the vehicle defective or unsafe.

Apply for an exemption

If you don’t automatically receive an exemption, you can apply for one by:

  1. completing a written-off vehicle inspection for hail damaged vehicles exemption application (F5018)
  2. submit the application:

By email

Submit your application by email to viunit@tmr.qld.gov.au.

By fax

Send you application by fax to (07) 3066 5222

By post

Vehicle Identification Unit
GPO Box 1412
BRISBANE QLD 4001