Gina Silverstone of Brunswick Heads, examines the hail damage to her car which is going to cost her a $600 excess fee.
Gina Silverstone of Brunswick Heads, examines the hail damage to her car which is going to cost her a $600 excess fee. Megan Kinninment

Byron car owners queue for hail damage repairs

BRUNSWICK Heads woman Gina Silverstone received only minor hail damage from last month's storms, but it was enough to put a serious dent in her Christmas shopping budget.

“It's the worst time for it to have happened. I have a child and the biggest issue for me is paying the $600 excess charge just before Christmas,” she said.

Ms Silverstone's car was damaged while she was working in Byron Bay. However, she said she felt lucky she was insured to start with, given the damage the storm caused.

“I'm lucky I am insured because, although it was only minor damage, it has devalued my car by several thousands of dollars,” Ms Silverstone said.

Ms Silverstone was one of the first in line yesterday to have her car assessed at the temporary NRMA Insurance assessment centre set up at the Byron Arts and Industry Estate.

An NRMA spokesperson said the company had received 1142 insurance claims since the recent hailstorms, with more than 800 cars damaged, 700 from Byron Bay alone.

The spokesperson confirmed NRMA Insurance now allows car owners 24 hours to decide what to do if their car was assessed as a write-off, rather than having to surrender their car keys immediately.

“We trialled this after the storms in Lismore last year and it worked well,” the spokesperson said.

“The customers appreciate the convenience of the extra 24 hours to make a decision, rather than having to hand over the keys then and there.”

Cars that are not 'total write-offs' then go through the normal process, with repairers already set up in Byron.




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