hail damaged cars

Hail-damaged cars: should you buy one?


Hailstorms are quite frequent in parts of the USA and often cause enough damage to cars to lead them to salvage yards. As we’ve mentioned in our previous post regarding auction documentation, a natural disaster is one of the many reasons a car can receive salvage designation on a title. There are a few states in the USA that issue a specific title brand where hail is indicated as the main damage. Despite what looks like a significant loss caused by hail, these cars are often still in good mechanical shape. In this blog, we’re taking a deeper look at hail-damaged cars and how to repair them.

Different types of hail damage

Firstly, you have to understand that different metals react differently to hail. Older cars with thicker sheet metal are more damage-resistant than newer ones. Vehicles with an aluminum body can be more expensive to repair, as working with this metal requires more skill.

hail damaged vehicles

Secondly, hail-damaged vehicles can be driveable, however, the exterior parts or panels may need repairs. According to the degree of damage, all dings and scratches are classified into three major groups:

  • cosmetic, which didn’t lead to damaged paint
  • cosmetic, which led to finish damage (shallow and deep scratches, dings, damaged moldings, mirrors, etc.)
  • the worst possible: severe damage when headlights, taillights, windows, and functionality of a car (like a sunroof or a foldable top) are affected

Salvage designation for hail-damaged vehicles

Since insuring cars in the USA is mandatory in all but two states, insurance companies usually take possession of a car after a collision or a natural disaster to reimburse claims. More often than not, insurance claims are made on hail-damaged cars and they’re branded with a salvage title. This happens because the estimated repair costs outweigh the actual cash value of a car, so selling a car “as is” makes more sense than spending a fortune on its restoration. Often, after insurance companies assign a salvage designation to a vehicle, they list them at car auctions like Salvagebid, where you can find vehicles at a steep discount compared to a vehicle purchased from a dealership.

Hail damage car repair

You can drive the vehicle as is if you don’t mind minor scratches and cosmetic damage, but note that not all insurers provide comprehensive coverage for hail-damaged vehicles if any damage hasn’t been documented. Make sure you check with your insurance provider before purchasing a hail-damaged car to work out any issues. 

Anyway, if the damage is extensive and you can’t drive the vehicle, you will have to set a budget for repairs. You’ll have to find an expert to check if the car can be restored. The next step is to select the repair method. There are several ways to return the car’s ideal condition: 

  • paintless dent repairs (for cars that weren’t affected severely),
  • auto body repair (for damaged exterior panels and lighting),
  • complete replacement of parts and panels (for the most heavily damaged vehicles).

Repairing hail damage can be done at a dealership facility or at the auto body shop in your area. The likelihood of DIY-maintenance is low because this requires a beyond-average skillset and special equipment.

Other considerations when buying hail-damaged cars

  • The resale value of hail-damaged vehicles is usually lower because of the dinged body.
  • Even if a car is restored, hail damage will be recorded in the VIN history report if it was branded with a salvage title.
  • Not all insurers are willing to provide comprehensive coverage for hail-damaged cars.
  • Forewarned is forearmed, so read up on how to protect your car from hail.

Buy hail-damaged vehicles on Salvagebid

hail damaged vehicles

Most hail-damaged vehicles have only cosmetic dings and often with minimal or no damage to the interior and mechanical parts. Their salvage branding doesn’t represent other features such cars may have: low mileage, good trims, and run & drive verifications. You can easily find hail-damaged cars for sale at our auto auction: just enter the word “hail” into the search bar and our system will show you all that we have. Once you found a car to your liking and want to get it to its new home, you have to register and place your bid or use the “buy it now” option if it’s available. Remember to upload a copy of your government-issued ID or passport and place a security deposit to complete your registration. If something is unclear, you can contact us online or call us at + 1 (360) 347-1300 (6:00 – 3:00 PM PST), our team will be happy to help you.

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