For the past year, Lance Weiss has had a longer commute to work than most.
Each Sunday, he makes the more than three-hour journey from Portland - just outside of Bathurst - to Canberra, where he spends the week assessing cars damaged from last January's hailstorm, before returning home on Fridays.
The regional assessor for Smart Repairs said last year's hailstorm was one of the most destructive he has come across, and there was still a lengthy backlog of vehicles to go through for repairs.
"For the ACT as a whole, we've assessed about 6600 cars, and we've had to write off about 49 per cent of them," Mr Weiss said.
"These have been way outside normal numbers, many needing car roofs and bonnets and boots entirely replaced."
For the one repair company alone, the total cost to fix vehicles damaged in the hailstorm was more than $21 million, and there are dozens of vehicles left to be repaired.
Mr Weiss said there were about 60 cars still to be repaired following the storm, although the impact of COVID has led to some delays for repair work.
"COVID didn't slow down our repair process, but it did slow down the availability of car parts and so many are imported," Mr Weiss said.
"Often we're waiting 10 to 12 weeks for some parts."
In the wake of last year's hailstorm, cars remained the most claimed-for item with insurers, with tens of thousands of cars damaged, ranging from minor dents to complete write-offs.
The Insurance Council of Australia estimated more than 75,000 claims were made for car damage - which included cars in the ACT, NSW and Victoria - making up more than half of all claims associated with the storm.
Such was the extent, that makeshift car yards were set up in Canberra's north of vehicles that were unroadworthy or those that were waiting to be assessed.
One of the largest insurance companies IAG, which takes in NRMA and CGU, said more than 13,000 claims were made for vehicles in the ACT due to the hail, with 95 per cent completed.
IAG executive manager of motor assessing David Wilkes said the sheer volume of cars that needed to be fixed from the hail damage represented a significant challenge.
"It was one of the most fierce and ferocious storms that we've seen in Australia," Mr Wilkes said.
"We're about 95 per cent through completing the claims and part of that is waiting for the customer or for parts to come in.
"[The delay] could be due to a financial issue or people can't go without their car for a while or they're waiting for an appropriate time to go without their car."
Thanks to the hailstorm, the ACT was the only jurisdiction in the country in 2020 to record a positive growth in car sales.
While the national sales rate declined by 13.7 per cent, new car sales in Canberra were up by 22.6 per cent compared to the year before, due to thousands of Canberrans needing new cars.
The ACT government estimated 44,500 vehicles were damaged from the hail, but that does not take into account cars registered in other jurisdictions.
With dozens of cars still to be repaired, Mr Weiss said he would make his three-hour trip to Canberra for several weeks to come.
"We invest a lot of time and people and energy to assessing all of the cars and on such a large scale," he said.