IT'S BIG: Chris Chamberlain took this picture of the hail that hit the Grafton area.
IT'S BIG: Chris Chamberlain took this picture of the hail that hit the Grafton area. Chris Chamberlain

Insurers' phones run hot after hail damage claims flood in

AN INSURANCE company will set up a local assessment centre in Grafton today to cope with hail damage claims after Saturday's savage storm.

The storm about 1.30pm on Saturday generated hailstones the size of tennis balls which dented car bodies, smashed windscreens and windows, and damaged homes.

Queensland-based company Youi has responded by sending a team to Grafton today, to set up at Benny's Grafton Smash Repairs.

Benny's estimator Jay Galvin said Youi had notified customers in Grafton with damaged cars to come to Benny's for an assessment.

"I don't know exactly what's happening with them and how long they'll be here," he said.

"What generally happens is they have technicians who can look at cars.

"They can do any PRD (paintless dint repairs), but anything more serious they can pass onto us.

"We have been run off our feet today giving quotes to people who've just come in on spec to get work done."

Mr Galvin said it would be unfair to try to give a general cost for car repairs.

"Honestly it's so different between each car and the scale of the damage," he said.

"Some have light damage all over, some have heavy damage and nothing else, others have smashed windscreens and windows. You couldn't say there's an average sort of case."

Mr Galvin said it was likely other insurance companies would set up similar arrangements with other small repairers.

Insurers have been inundated with calls following the storm.

Westlawn Insurance Brokers general manager Chris Dougherty said: "We're receiving plenty of phone calls from people wanting insurance assessments.

"The problem is getting the details together and finding tradesmen before Christmas to handle the urgent jobs."

Mr Dougherty said, acting as a broker, his firm was passing on information to the big insurance companies.



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