Should I Buy A Vehicle With Hail Damage?
Often times we have people contact us asking “Should I buy a vehicle with hail damage?” They then send us photos of the damage or a web link to the vehicle on a website. Also they may have already purchased the vehicle. There are many considerations to take when purchasing a vehicle with hail damage and today we will cover those.
First off, Why Do You Want To Buy A Vehicle With Hail Damage?
People get attracted to hail damage vehicles because of the purchase price. After all the car is just cosmetically damaged. No frame damage or inner structures are damaged on the vehicle. Typically they have low miles and a very nice clean interior. The only downfall is the outside of the vehicle is full of dents and dings. To some buyers they are ok with the damage being there. They will drive the vehicle for years without a care in the world and not fix it. Others are looking to purchase the damaged vehicle cheaper than an equivalent vehicle without damage, then have it repaired later.
Does The Vehicle Have A Damage Disclosure or A Salvage Title?
These are very important questions that you will need to know. Even if the vehicle is fixed 100% correct a salvage title or damage disclosure may still haunt the vehicle for the rest of its life. Each state is different so check with your local state to see the requirements.
If it does have either of those on the title, was it added to the title because of hail damage specifically? The reason we ask is cause some vehicles have been repaired because of frame or other structural damage then these vehicles get hit with sometimes even light hail. The seller may then say something like, it has a damage disclosure or salvage title because of the hail. The will say this so you think oh its super simple damage, only a few dents per panel, no big deal. Later you may then find out it has previous frame or structural damage that was actually the cause of the bad title.
How Does A Vehicle Get A Damage Disclosure or Salvage Title?
When a vehicle is damaged the total cost to repair the damage is assessed. The cost to repair the damage will be in excess of 60% to 80% of the total vehicles value. Each state is different but most states range from this percentage.
Did you know that for some insurance companies will “total out” a vehicle even into the fifty percentile just because the insurance company knows that the specific vehicle manufacture and model will bring a premium when later auctioned off for sale. That’s right, a vehicle that is deemed a total loss will then be purchased by the insurance company from the vehicle owner. The insurance company then takes the vehicle to an auction to then be auctioned off to the highest bidder. This is why car lots tend to have vehicles with hail damage, they buy them at auction.
So for easy math lets say you have a vehicle that is valued at $20,000.00 In order for a vehicle to be deemed a total loss, the total amount of damage the vehicle would have to have is somewhere between $12,000-$16,000.00 range. As stated in the previous paragraph it may even be as low as $10,000.00 in damage on extreme cases.
How Much Are You Really Saving?
How much are you saving verses purchasing a vehicle with no damage and equal miles on it? Some save as little as a few hundred dollars and some save several thousand.
The Seller Said It Would Cost Less To Repair.
In some cases the new vehicle owner says the seller told them they had quotes for only some low amount to fix the damage. This happens with hail damage as well as collision style damage. When the vehicle is looked at by a facility like ourselves for an actual estimate we give them a through estimate on the actual repair costs. Remember this is what we specialize in specifically.
Often times moldings and trim pieces on the vehicle become damaged, if these are missed they can add several hundreds of dollars to the repair estimate. For instance lets say some of the trim around the rear quarter panel glass is missed and has damage, those windows can range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars to replace and that is just one side! The reason being is the molding is bonded to the glass, the glass must be replaced with the molding since they are all one piece.
Also remember the person selling the vehicle is trying to get rid of it. They are a salesman! We see it time and time again of people being taken advantage of when buying a damaged vehicle. Unfortunately we end up becoming the ones to deliver the bad news that the vehicle will not actually cost as low of a price to repair, it will actually cost much more. We typically tell a person expect the ACTUAL repair costs to be double at least but probably closer to four times the amount mentioned by the vehicle seller. Remember, they are TRYING to sell the vehicle, not actually repair it!
Our Actual Experiences
All of the pictures featured in this article were either taken by us or sent to us by customers. All of these photos show damage that we will not be repairing.
The silver car, the Toyota was purchased by a customer then brought to us for an estimate. The entire top side of the vehicle needs to be replaced and taken to a body shop.
In 2018 we had a customer come to us with a newer BMW 7 series with hail damage. He purchased the vehicle out of Colorado and was shocked when he found out the cost of the repairs. Here he thought he had basically stole the vehicle. He was given over $7,000.00 off of the price! When we looked at the vehicle the cost to replace just the hood, roof and trunk lid and NOT counting any other damages was over his $7,000.00 savings. Its unfortunate but we hope to combat these dilemmas for future customers by informing them before hand!
Our Final Thoughts and Input
Think of it this way, with hail damage, there is a reason we ourselves do not typically buy hail damage cars and fix them ourselves. We can do these repairs for just the cost of our time and still choose not to. It is just not cost effective.
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