If you’re in the market for a used car, you’ve probably spotted a few cars that come at a suspiciously low price. For those who live in hail-prone areas like Colorado or Texas, many of these cars may be cheaper because they have hail damage.
Hail damaged cars are cars that have gone through a hailstorm and came out with some damage, whether it be mild and cosmetic or deep and mechanical. While it’s often obvious how extreme the damage is, in some cases, it can be a little more tricky to figure out.
Whether you’re an amateur looking for a car to rehab yourself or are just looking for something to get you from point A to point B, it’s important to choose a hail-damaged car that balances price, damage, and repair costs. Keep reading to learn three factors you should consider when purchasing a car with hail damage.
#1. The Original Price of the Car
Hail damaged cars are generally cheaper than their undamaged counterparts, but there’s a reason for this. While used car dealerships may sometimes have cars that are priced to sell as fast as possible, usually, the price is calculated based on the repair costs and the insurance reimbursement they’d receive to repair it.
Before you purchase a hail-damaged car, look up the price of an undamaged version of that make, model, and year. Then, compare it to the cost of the damaged car, as well as a rough estimate of the repair costs of the car. Does the reduced price make sense with these other numbers, or does it seem unfair?
#2. The Repair Cost
Hail damaged cars come in a few different formats. Sometimes they’ve suffered severe damage, but have been repaired by the dealership. In this case, the reduced price is due to the damage history of the car rather than the actual outstanding damages. Other times, they’ve been through an insurance claim and have had some hail damage repaired, but not all of it. Finally, there are cars that have damage and have never been repaired and are being sold as-is.
If you’re looking to buy a car that has any amount of outstanding hail damage, it’s important to have an idea of how much it will cost you to repair those damages. Before you make the purchase, get an estimate on the repair cost from a reputable hail damage car repair shop or auto mechanic. In some cases, the repair cost may be higher than the actual purchase price of an undamaged car, making it not worth your while. You can use this dent repair cost estimator to get a rough estimate of how much the repairs would be.
#3. The Resale Value
If you’re buying a used car, odds are you’re buying it for practical reasons and don’t have interest in selling it any time soon. However, it’s still good practice to consider the resale value of a car before you buy. Life can change quickly, and you’ll never know when you want to upgrade to a new car or sell your current one for extra cash.
Hail damage can have a significant effect on how much your car is worth if you do go to sell or trade it in. Unrepaired hail damage can devalue your car by as much as $250 per dent, with average devaluation running from $2,000 to $3,000. In severe cases with mechanical damage, the car can be written off as a total loss.
If you repair the damage, you’ll probably be able to get better numbers. Cars with light damage and no paint scratches can retain their full value when repaired, while cars that have repainting or touch-ups done may have a drop in value. Using after-market car parts can also drop the value. In general, repaired cars that have damage histories can see a drop of $500 to $2,100 off their value.
Hail damaged cars come at a serious discount, but this discount is for a reason. Hail damaged cars may have a lower resale value, may be difficult or expensive to repair, and the purchase price is likely skewed to account for these hail damage repairs. Do your research before you buy a hail damaged car so that you know what you’re getting into.
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