Insurers dealing with thousands of vehicles damaged in Timaru hail storm

Two weeks ago today Timaru was battered by a severe hailstorm that caused widespread damage across South Canterbury.

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Insurance industry workers have descended on the Canterbury town. Source: 1 NEWS

Some of the worst affected spots were car yards around the city. Cars in general saw high rates of destruction with 12,000 damaged vehicles in Timaru alone.

That number is likely to rise as more insurance claims are yet to be lodged.

Among those waiting to hear back about claims and damaged stock is South Canterbury Toyota. 

“For us personally it’s the biggest single event that we've had to deal with but as I said it's only material things so noone's lost a house or a limb so we can be thankful for that,” says South Canterbury Toyota CEO Craig McDermid.

“I mean everyone's affected, there's a lot of cars, a lot of homes. But we're fortunate, we've got four other dealerships around so we've been able to bring stock in, shift the damage stock away so that it's sort of out of the way and then just bring it in to have it assessed as required.”

Insurance companies, vehicle valuers, and hail technicians have all travelled from across New Zealand and offshore to help the small South Island town.

John Ashton, the director of Hail Response Team from Australia arrived last night and has already started repairs.

“I don’t feel like they've got the resources and plan in place to respond to it as well as they could have like in some places, like in Queensland, where normally we get a hailstorm nearly every year.”

Though that support is welcomed, South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce is encouraging people to support local businesses.

“You only need to look down the main street and business is flourishing, it’s a very busy time of year going into Christmas, so we’re thankful that it had minimal impact," says CEO Wendy Smith.