Buyer Tips

What You Need to Know About Hail Damaged Cars for Sale

By Mike Richards Updated: 07/26/2022 Posted: 06/17/2019

When it comes to buying a car, we always take into account aspects like resale value, initial value, condition, fuel consumption. Appearance is usually near the top of the list. Perhaps you have already come across hail-damaged cars before, or this may be the first time you do so. No matter the case, there are several things you must know about hail damaged cars before you buy one.

What is a Hail Damaged Car?

Perhaps the first image that comes to your mind is a car with windows destroyed, doors badly damaged, and roof badly dent. Or instead, you might imagine a car with some small dents on the top, a window with a small crack, and needing a bit of paintwork. The term applies to any car that has suffered any form of damage, severe or very minor, that can be traceable to a hail storm.

Now, depending on the zone or region you live in, you may find that the state or governing body distinguishes between a severely damaged car and a mild or even lightly damaged car. Some states in the USA have a simple Hail designation to identify cars that were totaled by a hail storm. Other states utilize the same designation for all totaled cars: “salvage”.

According to, “if the car is not declared salvage, the title is clean. The damage may show up on electronic notification systems such as Carfax, though.” The term salvage itself applies to vehicles that have been totaled with the cost of repairs being above the value of the car. In fact, that term in the insurance world applies to cases when the cost of fixing the car is equal to or surpasses 75% of the value of the vehicle.

This is, in turn, raises the question as to why anyone would buy a hail-damaged car.

Why do Proxy Bidding Sites Sell Hail-Damaged Cars?

Before answering that question, it is important to take a look at why a business would sell a car in a damaged state. To make things clear, the only way a person would buy a hail-damaged vehicle, which has a salvage title, would be through proxy sites that function like online auctions. You can learn more about proxy sites here.

Further Reading

A hail-damaged car can have any degree of damage from a few dents to a completely totaled car. So when it comes to selling such vehicles, the business outlook on the sale of damaged cars is on the basis of how much you can make for as little expense as possible. Damaged cars are sold as is when the repairs are too costly. In the case of vehicles with mild damage, the seller may repair the car up to a certain functional point for the sake of selling. The latter also accounts for cheap repairs, little to no paint work, and as lucrative sale as possible. Both scenarios apply to hail-damaged cars and are relevant to cars with the salvage title.

Why anyone sell a damaged vehicle? Suppose that a car has a market value of $5,000 and the hail damage was only rough on the appearance, but requires some work nonetheless. If the cost of repairing the vehicle surpasses the market value, it is money lost. So in a case like this, dealers will resell the hail-damaged car because the cost of repairing it is too high. In such cases, you may find a working car with hail damage that has a $5,000 discount off of the market price, which is good, but the estimated value for repairs comes to $8,000. For that reason, it is very important to know the reasons for selling a hail-damaged car.

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When Buying a Hail-Damaged Car is the Right Move

Why buy a hail-damaged car, then? For one simple reason: the price. You can find a good car with mild hail damage at a low price compared to a model that is in perfect aesthetic condition. This is not, of course, without its risks.

Buying a car is always a game of knowledge. If the seller does not disclose all the information relative to the car, you can find unwanted surprises at the worst time. That’s why I will explain in what scenarios it is a good move to buy a hail-damaged car. I will also explain where you can find such cars and make a good deal.

car body repair

It makes sense to buy a hail-damaged car if:

  1. You are looking for a cheap car and don’t care much about aesthetics or appearance.
  1. The car has mostly outward damage, with perhaps a large number of small dents, but has an otherwise clean history.
  1. There is no history of accidents related to the car and no record of structural damage.
  1. You are able to check with the insurance company that future accidents will not be traced to the hail damage. This is very important. If you get a claim of $2,000, for example, you may only receive $500 because $1,500 go back to uncovered hail-damage as a deductible. You need to check if the car has no hail-damage that can pose a serious problem in the future.
  1. It is important to do a comprehensive review. Make sure that, should you decide to make repairs in the future, the cost will not be too high for you. You can search the car’s history using an online auto check with the Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. In the United States, the cost of repairing minor dents can range from $30 to $80, depending on region and type of repair. Paintwork itself tends to be expensive and should really be taken into account.
  1. You can find hail-damaged cars on proxy auction sites, as mentioned before. These sites work with wholesale auctions. It is very easy to find details about the kind of vehicle you are looking for in these sites. One such site is

salvage yard

Precautions to You Need to Take

If you’re considering buying a hail-damage vehicle, there are a few precautions you need to take.

  1. If hail broke or damaged windows, there most likely will be water damage in the interior of the car.
  2. It is very important to always make a comprehensive review of the history of hail-damaged cars before buying. Some sellers like to omit relevant information or history details about the car.
  1. Be wary of when the damages to the car have affected certain functions or parts of the car. If the car is in a functional condition, should an accident occur, the insurance will not cover anything relative to the affected parts. If insurers do not provide coverage for the car or if you find it difficult to insure the vehicle, that means you may lose money if you buy it.

Things to Keep in Mind

Above all, you should always take in consideration the reasons behind the sale of the car. Also, it’s always important to check the kind of insurance you will need for the vehicle. Don’t forget to check the kind of repairs you may want to do on it as well. Should you find a car that suffered from hail damage for sale in the future, the tips given above will help you decide whether it is a good idea to buy such a car.