What to look for when buying a hail damaged car – new or used

We all love a bargain, right? To save thousands on a major purchase seems too good to be true, right? Well, we’ve all heard the saying… if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Many people are drawn in by the allure of snatching a bargain in the ‘hail sales’ put on by car yards after a hail storm. While these sales may seem to offer great discounts, do you really end up getting a better deal on a hail damaged car?

When cars in a car yards are hail damaged, the car yard owner is really only left with two options, to fix the cars or sell them at a discount. While some car yards and dealerships choose to have their vehicles repaired, many opt to sell their cars in flash “hail dent sales”. These sales are designed to bring customers in quickly and give them the illusion that they are purchasing a near-perfect car at a bargain price. However, time and time again we receive calls from individuals who have purchased cars at “hail dent sales”, who are shocked to learn that the cost of their repair is equal to or greater than the discount they received. Of course, there are still bargains to be found, but these are very few and far between.

The cost of each hail dent repair varies greatly depending on the extent and the location of the damage, as well as the make and model of the vehicle. Furthermore, the damage one vehicle receives in a hail storm can be vastly different to that of an identical car parked right beside it! It is often difficult for customers to see how bad the hail damage really is, especially if they are looking at their car, or potential car, in direct sunlight where many of the dents can hardly be seen. It’s a different story however, when a PDR technician looks at the vehicle with specialized lighting which immediately exposes the full extent of the damage. This is the point when unsuspecting buyers first want to cry. All of a sudden, their bargain of the century turns into an epic financial fail.

A common enquiry we often receive is from people asking about repairable write-off on hail damaged and dented cars. These cars can be found for heavily discounted prices, often for good reason. If a car has been written-off as a result of hail damage, this means that an insurance company has assessed the cost of repairing the car against the undamaged value of the car and determined that it is not financially viable to repair! Buying a written-off hail damaged or dented car not only means that you are up for an expensive repair, but the fact that it has been written off, greatly depreciates the value of the car. These cars are placed on the Written Off Vehicle Register (WOVR) and some can never be registered again, even if they are fixed. Be wary and don’t find yourself caught out!

Another problem you may face when purchasing a hail damaged car is that you may not be able to insure it. Generally speaking, insurance companies are not interested in comprehensively insuring a car with pre-existing hail damage, even if the vehicle is brand new and mechanically sound.

In summary, although there are some bargains to be found, we usually recommend avoiding hail damaged cars when purchasing a vehicle, regardless of whether they are new or used unless you are fully aware of the cost of the repair. For more information, contact us today on 0448844328