Everything you need to know about buying a hail-damaged car

January 15, 2019 9:47 am | Peter Warren

Australia's home to some of the craziest weather in the world and it can occasionally turn nasty here in Queensland and NSW. Hail storms are relatively rare but when they do happen they can cause serious damage to cars.

In fact, the storm in Sydney in December 2018 is expected to cost insurers over $160 million and a storm a few years ago in Queensland resulted in almost 10,000 insurance claims. As costly and annoying as that may sound, hail storms present a unique opportunity to those looking for a bargain on a brand new car.

Here's everything you need to know about buying a hail storm-damaged car from a registered dealership. 

What's the story with hail-damaged cars?

Damage to cars during hail storms can range from very slight (a few paint chips) to more severe (a smashed windscreen). Automotive dealerships sometimes sell these cars at heavily discounted rates to account for the damage, offering buyers the opportunity to grab a new or used car at a great price. 

Some of these cars may only have paint scratches or a few small dents, making them incredibly good value. Others may need a little more repair work done before they're drivable, but they still may offer great value if you're prepared to pay to fix them. 

Knowing the extent of the damage

You should be careful when buying any car, and it's no different for cars that have been damaged by hail. It's important that before you purchase such a car you fully understand the extent of the damage and how much it will cost to repair. 

It may be a good idea to get a few rough quotes on any work required before you buy the car to see if it's cheaper than buying an undamaged one after those costs are taken into account. Sending a picture of the car to a few panel beaters, and getting a mechanic you trust to inspect the car are both good ideas. 

Getting your car insured

It's important to be tick all the boxes with insurance when buying a hail-damaged car. After you've had a mechanic and panel beater look over the damage and fully understand the extent, it's a good idea to speak to your insurer.

If the car's damage is severe they may refuse cover or increase your premiums to cover themselves against the risk. However, if your mechanic has given the car a thumbs-up and you've spoken to your insurance company this shouldn't be a problem. 

Other important things to check

When you speak to the mechanic who checks the car make sure they know it's hail-damaged as they will check for specific damage and faults common in such cars. If you're checking the car yourself pay special attention to:

  • Rust and water damage inside and outside the car. 
  • Whether or not the electrical components work. 
  • The warranty. Some parts may be voided due to hail damage so it's worth talking to the manufacturer. 

If you're looking for a discount on a new or used car this is your chance. Drop in to a Peter Warren Automotive, Macarthur Automotive Narellan & Campbelltown or Sydney North Shore Automotive before 31 to browse a huge range of hail damaged cars.