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Hailstorm repair bill hits $674 million

Social media users uploaded images of the massive and damaging hailstones from the storm on December 20.<em> Image sources: Mark Schramm (@skyworxx), Laura Phenomenon (@LauraPhenomenon) via Twitter</em>
Social media users uploaded images of the massive and damaging hailstones from the storm on December 20. Image sources: Mark Schramm (@skyworxx), Laura Phenomenon (@LauraPhenomenon) via Twitter

The insurance bill for the catastrophic hailstorm that ripped through Sydney and parts of NSW on December 20 has reached $674 million and is climbing.

Aussies have lodged more than 81,000 insurance claims, to cover 60,000 destroyed motor vehicle and more than 17,000 damaged homes, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

Tennis ball-sized hailstones smashed into homes and cars in Sydney’s west, while golf ball-sized stones battered the city’s inner suburbs during the savage storm.

Most of the claims were for damage to roofs, awnings and solar panels while vehicles were dented and windscreens destroyed.

Berowra Heights in northern Sydney was one of the worst hit areas with claims also coming from Liverpool in the city’s southwest and Tamworth in northeastern NSW.

ICA spokesman Campbell Fuller said the claim number is increasing with Sydneysiders returning from holidays to discover damage to their houses or vehicles.

“We expect these figures to continue to rise over the coming weeks,” he said.

The morning after the hailstorms, more than 25,000 people had lodged claims with the repair bill at the time expected to exceed $125 million.

ICA declared the hailstorm a ‘catastrophe’, meaning insurers would make claims from the storm their priority.

The storm was the fifth catastrophe declared last year, joining the ranks of the NSW and Victoria bushfires, Cyclone Marcus, Queensland floods – all of which hit in March – as well as the Hobart floods in May.

—with AAP

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