Summer in SA is the season for some of our most spectacular thunderstorms. But with the rainy season in full swing, it’s also that time of year when hundreds of unsuspecting car owners see their pride and joy damaged by hailstorms.

King Price’s Wynand van Vuuren is a man who loves his wheels – and he’s got five top tips to safeguard your car against dents and dings from hailstorms this summer:

Know when hail and thunderstorms are on the way

Staying up to date with the latest weather forecast has never been easier: simply turn on your weather app notifications before planning your commute. Or, if you’re ‘old school’, stay tuned to the weather reports on the radio or TV. Then try and stay off the roads, if at all possible. Driving in a storm is risky, and no fun.

Park your vehicle under cover

The simplest way to avoid hail damage at home is to park your car in your garage, or under a carport. If you don’t have covered parking, you can use a car cover, or even a blanket, to protect your most exposed surfaces, like your windscreen and bonnet.

Find a safe place if you’re caught in a storm

If a hailstorm starts when you’re on the road, stay calm – and then use your GPS to get you to the nearest sheltered spot as quickly as possible, like a petrol station or an underground parking area in a shopping centre.

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A tree doesn’t count as a safe place, as falling branches and debris can damage your car. Stopping under a bridge on the highway is also not advisable.

Make sure your wipers are in top condition

In case you’re caught in a storm and there’s nowhere to go, your best defence is proactive preparation. Get your wipers checked before rainy season starts, and use water repellent for your windscreen, to make sure your visibility is as clear as possible while you’re on the road.

Don’t skimp on your insurance

In spite of our best efforts, hail happens. Make sure that you have comprehensive insurance with hail cover for your pride and joy, which can help to cover expenses when storms strike. Many insurers, like King Price, also have specific ‘scratch and dent’ cover for minor hail damage at a super-low excess.

In short: prevention is better than cure. But when rainy weather hits, make sure you’re covered, one way or another!