Skip links and keyboard navigation

Hail-damaged vehicles

In Queensland, we regularly experience severe storms and many of these include hail that can damage your vehicle, motorcycle or caravan.

You may still be able to drive your hail damaged vehicle if it is safe and not defective.

Common things that may make a hail damaged vehicle defective are:

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

You will also have to consider if other damage to your vehicle from a crash or falling trees or other debris may have sharp edges or otherwise pose a risk to pedestrians.

If your vehicle is defective, you cannot drive it on a road. Driving a defective vehicle on a road is an offence and can lead to 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 is comprehensively insured, your insurance company may decide that the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than the vehicle is worth, and will settle the claim with a payment rather than repairing the vehicle.

If this happens, the insurance company must record the vehicle as a repairable write-off with the department.

Find more information about written-off vehicles.

If your insurer decides to replace your vehicle

If your vehicle has been written off by your insurer, they may replace your vehicle under the terms of your policy. After large hail storms there may be delays before a new vehicle can be found, due to the higher than normal demand for new vehicles.

You should talk with your insurer about your options or getting around until your vehicle is replaced. Your insurer may provide a hire vehicle or, where your vehicle is still safe and not defective, the insurer may let you continue to drive your damaged vehicle until it is replaced. Make sure you check with your insurer to ensure your vehicle will not be recorded as a written-off vehicle until it is replaced.

If you intend to keep your written-off vehicle

Even though your vehicle has been written-off by your insurance company, you may be able to arrange with them to keep your vehicle as part of the settlement.

Normally, a written-off vehicle has to undergo a written-off vehicle inspection (WOVI) before it can be re-registered or driven on a road. If your vehicle has been written-off because of hail damage, the department has a process in place to exempt the vehicle from the WOVI process.

To be eligible for an exemption, you must meet the following criteria:
  • Your vehicle must only have been damaged by hail. If there is damage from a falling tree or a crash, you are not eligible for an exemption.
  • You must have been the registered operator of the vehicle immediately before it was damaged by hail.
  • The registration of your vehicle is current.

If these criteria are met, an exemption from the requirement to obtain a written-off vehicle inspection will be granted to you automatically. You are not required to complete an exemption application form or apply for the exemption.

Once your insurer has notified the department about your vehicle, you will receive a confirmation letter about the write-off and the exemption in about 14 days titled Written-off Vehicle Notice - Repairable Write-off - Retained Hail Damage Vehicle. The hail write-off and written-off vehicle exemption record will be retained on the register.

You may continue to drive the vehicle, if it is safe to do so, and the registration period will not be impacted by the write-off event. Only vehicles that comply with the applicable vehicle standards are allowed to be driven on a road, and any damage that makes the vehicle defective or unsafe must be repaired.

Should you not receive an exemption automatically, an application can be made by completing a written-off vehicle inspection for hail damaged vehicles exemption application form (F5018) and submitted by:

  • Fax: 3066 5222
  • Email:
  • Post: Vehicle Identification Unit, Department of Transport and Main Roads GPO Box 1412 Brisbane Qld 4001

If you do not meet all of these criteria, an exemption cannot be given and the vehicle will need to follow the normal written-off vehicle inspection process.

Get more information about hail damaged vehicles by calling us on 13 23 80.

Last updated
13 April 2018