Buying a Car with Hail Damage: How to Negotiate and What to Know

You may have seen headlines about second-hand cars selling at the highest prices because of the chip shortage and COVID impact on car manufacturers. 

This is still mostly true and the inflated price is also seen on cars with non-perfect conditions, including hail damage. While these cars also seem like a steal, with much cheaper price tags, you should be aware that hail damage cars can have a significant impact on their value. 

Here are some tips for negotiating and knowing what you’re getting into before committing to buy one from a dealer or private seller. 

Jump to:

How Much Can Hail Devalue A Car?

What Makes Hail Damage Different For Car Sales?

Why Do Dealers Sell Hail Damaged Cars?

Why Do Private Sellers Sell Hail Damaged Cars?

How To Negotiate For A Hail Sale Deal?

Is Hail Sale A Deal or A Nightmare?

How Much Can Hail Devalue A Car?

Repairing hail-damaged cars can be quite costly. The average cost for auto repairs is $6,500 (After more than two decades fixing vehicles struck by hail storms we know)!

This is likely at least the cost you should consider adding up to the hail damaged car you are about to purchase.

If you Google the average hail damage car repair cost, you will see a much lower price of $2,500. Trust us, that is not true. 

Even though sometimes, a hail damage repair job can be that low, most cars end up costing a lot more. The north side of the cost can be as high as $20,000, with most being closer to five to eight thousand dollars for cosmetic damage in good condition without any hidden issues like rust or damaged paint.

The price tag on your vehicle’s hail repair may vary depending upon factors such as what kind of car you drive and how much damage it has. We have an in-depth article about the true cost of hail damaged cars here.

What Makes Hail Damage Different For Car Sales?

Hail damage to cars is unique in the following ways:

Sellers Don’t Have To Disclose Hail Damage on Car Reports

Unlike collision damages, sellers and dealers don’t have to disclose previous car hail damage, because it is not required to report hail damage. 

This makes it tricky for buyers shopping online, because hail dents are hard to spot without the perfect light condition, and they are even more difficult to notice on videos and photos.

If you can tell hail dents on a picture, know that it is much worse when you see it in person.

Sometimes, dealers will fix the obvious dents and put up the car for sale. If you don’t know how to examine cars for hidden damage like small dents, you may be paying too much for what the car is really worth.

Cosmetic Damage Doesn’t Affect Car Functions or Safety

The most common type of hail damage is car dents. Even when a car’s windshield cracks in a hail storm, the car isn’t considered too dangerous to drive.

If you are on a budget and don’t care about the car’s appearance, hail damaged vehicles can be an excellent choice. You can save a lot of money and drive the car for years without fixing it.

Why Do Dealers Sell Hail Damaged Cars?

Whether a dealer sells hail damaged cars is a business decision. It comes down to the three things below:

  1. How much does the damage cost?
  2. How much does insurance cover?
  3. How much can the car be sold for?

If the insurance coverage and the damage repair significantly increases the sales value, the dealers will fix the cars and not sell them with hail damage.

If the repair cost doesn’t increase the resale value, dealers may sell the damaged cars for a discounted rate and have the new owner deal with the repair.

Hail damage can cause a car’s exterior to be riddled with dents, but it doesn’t have any effect on its internal components or functionality. The only thing that might matter is whether or not these cosmetic issues can be repaired by paintless dent repair

Paintless dent repair maintains the car value. It massages the dents out without damaging the paint, so the car’s manufacturing paint warranty is intact and the cars are like brand new again. 

Why Do Private Sellers Sell Hail Damaged Cars?

When a car is damaged by hail, it can be hard for people to decide what they should do.

While this can still be a business decision, many people end up selling hail damaged cars because they don’t have the money to repair the damage, or they want to keep the insurance payout and not bother with the repair.

How To Negotiate For A Hail Sale Deal?

Now you know why people will sell a hail damaged car: because they feel like repairing the damage will cost the same as or more than their profit margin on selling the vehicle after repairs. 

This does not mean that buying a hail damaged car is a bad option, but you should know what is the price worth paying for.

To negotiate for a fair price, we recommend customers understand the following factors. Once you have answers to these four questions, you can add up the cost (two to four) and negotiate for a better pricing.

1. How much is the car worth without the hail damage?

If the hail damaged car was brand new at a dealer’s place, most of the time, the dealer would fix the hail damage because it’s often worth it. So check the manufacturer’s website for the new car price so you know how much it used to be.

The value of a used car can change greatly depending on factors like the year, model and condition. It’s important to use an accurate price guide so you know what your options are in advance! 

You can find out about a used car’s average resale value using Kelley Blue Book or an online resale estimator.

2. How much does it cost to fix the hail damage?

The best way to find out the real and accurate price for auto hail repair is getting an estimate upfront from a reputable hail repair specialty shop (AKA a paintless dent repair shop), like StormWise Auto Hail Repair.

To provide an accurate estimate, we will need to inspect the car in person. Some dealers allow repair shop inspections and some don’t, so you should discuss this with the dealer and find out more information on this.

If you live in a place that gets hail storms regularly, please know that it will be difficult to get an inspection during the hail storm season. Most specialty shops will be too busy fixing cars than providing a quote to a potential car owner.

However, it is usually not an issue during the off season, which is usually the late fall through next year’s early spring season.

If you can’t get a specialty shop to inspect the car in person, you can still try getting an estimate by following the steps in this article to take pictures to spot hard-to-notice dents and use a hail damage calculator to get a rough estimate.

3. How much does insurance cost for a hail damaged vehicle?

Insuring a hail damaged car is a very important question. Talk with your insurance agent about the potential for comprehensive coverage on a hail-damaged vehicle. 

When you get hail damage on your car, it can be difficult to find comprehensive and collision insurance. 

When an insurance company agrees to provide coverage, the initial valuation on your vehicle may also be lower than what it would cost to repair an undamaged comparable model, so many people find themselves without coverage in this situation – which can lead them into even more problems down the road!

Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas are states with frequent hail storms in the summer. If your car gets hail damage again in the future, even with comprehensive coverage, you will need to be prepared to pay for the majority of the hail damage repair.

For example if your car has $6,000 worth of hail damage on the car, when you get hail damage next time, if the estimate comes to $8,000 total, the insurance company will pay out $8,000 – $6,000 = $2,000 only, and you have to cover the $6,000 repair cost.

4. Does the lender provide financing on a hail damaged car?

If you are buying the hail damaged car from a dealer, and the dealer has financing options, this is potentially going to work out for you. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to find a lender who agrees to take on a damaged car.

If you have enough cash to make a large down payment, you may be able to negotiate for financing elsewhere, but then, if money is not an issue, you probably wouldn’t buy a hail damaged car.

Is Hail Sale A Deal or A Nightmare?

If a car dealer gets hit by a severe hail storm, it may give deep discounts and markdowns on damaged vehicles (to move inventory).

There are some benefits of getting a new car with hail damage if your budget is limited. But know that a deal upfront often comes with costs later down the road. And that is exactly what hail sale is about.

When you buy a hail damaged vehicle, if you cannot get an estimate from a PDR shop, then multiply the repair cost the sales person told you by at least three times. 

We strongly recommend you to consider fixing it right away to avoid future complications with your insurance coverage and claims.

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the auto hail repair experts at StormWise

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