What to do with damage caused by hail

August, 11 2017 | Update: 17/09/2021

It usually happens every summer: there is a sudden intense hailstorm. Sometimes hailstones as big as golf balls come down at a high speed. A worst case means there is damage to your car, caravan or motorhome. Is it possible to prevent or limit damage caused by hail? Let me give you a couple of tips.

Nothing is as fickle as the weather. You may hope for brilliant sunshine, but the weather can suddenly change. A hailstorm is often very local, making it hard to predict. In any case, if the sky looks threatening, consult the local weather forecast. Many European countries use colour codes, such as yellow or red.

Go prepared

Naturally, you want to be prepared when you go on holiday. This includes taking out the right insurance for your camping equipment. This could be motorhome insurance or caravan insurance. Before your holiday, check the terms and conditions of your insurance to see if you are insured against damage caused by hail.

Obviously, you will want to prevent damage caused by hail.

Obviously, you will want to prevent damage caused by hail.

Damage caused by hail at the campsite

A campsite does not usually have a garage or carport for your car or caravan. So what can you do to minimize damage caused by hail to your car, motorhome or caravan?

  • This may sound logical, but think of your family and yourself first. In panic, sometimes people go outside, but you do not want a hailstone as large as a tennis ball landing on your head. Take shelter somewhere, especially if you are camping in a tent. You will not be the only one taking shelter in the toilet block or at the reception.
  • Take an old blanket along on holiday. If there is a hailstorm, this blanket can be placed on the roof of your car or camping equipment. Be sure to place something heavy on it to make sure that the blanket does not blow away.
  • If you know that it is going to hail, park your car, motorhome or caravan in a parking garage or in a covered parking area.
  • Place electronic items and important documents in a water-tight bag. This will protect them from becoming damaged.

Hail while travelling

When you are on the road, you want to find shelter for your car, caravan or motorhome as quickly and safely as possible. Of course you have to consider your own safety and that of other road users. Driving on the hard shoulder in bad weather and poor visibility may seem like a good idea, but it is not. The hard shoulder should only be used in emergencies and must remain available for the emergency services. So drive carefully, switch on your lights, adjust your speed and leave the motorway as quickly and safely as possible. For example, drive to a petrol station, a rest area or take the next exit. For safety reasons, it is always advisable to stay off the road when hail is forecast.

A hailstone of any size is not something you want to land on your head.

A hailstone of any size is not something you want to land on your head.

Is your motorhome, caravan or car damaged?

Are there dents in your car, caravan or motorhome after a hailstorm? How terrible! The first question is: can you still drive home? Damage to the roof or other parts of the bodywork can be repaired at home, but a broken windshield must, of course, be repaired first.

If your vehicle has been damaged, first call the emergency number of your insurer. Your insurer can put you in contact with local body shops so that you can begin your journey home safely. In any case, provide sufficient evidence for the insurer:

  • If possible, take photos or videos of the storm from a safe place.
  • As soon as the hailstorm is over, at least take photographs of the damage.
  • If necessary, take home a local newspaper that mentions the hailstorm, or search online for an article describing the storm and save it. If you cannot find this information yourself, you can ask the campsite staff for help. This way you can always prove to the insurance company what happened.

Tips for if it hails at the campsite

Have you ever experienced a hailstorm at a campsite? We would love to hear any tips you have!

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  • Author: Bianca van Steenbergen
  • Since my motorhome trip through Canada I've been infected with the camping virus. I used to explore Germany and Austria with my parents and sister. Now, with my husbund I'm am discovering the rest of Europe, and beyond!

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