How to Buy a Hail Damaged Vehicle and How CarFaxt Reports Hail Damage

What to Know When Buying a Hail Damaged Vehicle and How Hail Shows on a CarFax Report

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Bringing a new vehicle into your life is always an exciting time.  It is especially exciting when you find your dream car at a price within your budget!  You can often find hail damaged vehicles at dealerships for a discounted rate, especially after a hail storm.  Purchasing a hail damaged vehicle comes with its own set of details to pay attention to.  Here we will walk you through the ins and outs of buying a hail damaged vehicle.  We will also explain how hail damage affects the CarFax report of your vehicle.  Let’s get into it.  

 Why do Car Dealerships Have Hail Damaged Vehicles? 

Car dealerships in the Front Range are up against the storms Mother Nature brings just like the rest of us.  Since many dealerships have uncovered lots, the vehicles sitting on the lot are subject directly to the elements.  Dealerships within the Hail Alley region of the United States are likely to see multiple hail storms each summer.  Hail damage is almost always considered to be superficial damage.  Superficial damage means that the engine and mechanics of the vehicle are functioning properly, but the body of the vehicle is damaged.  This kind of damage is deemed cosmetic, as it is not necessary for the vehicle to drive.  For this reason, dealerships are able to sell a hail damaged vehicle as a working vehicle.  

How do Car Dealerships Determine Which Hail Damaged Vehicles to Discount? 

When a hail storm hits a car dealership, the dealership will go through the inventory and inspect the damage.  Vehicles with light damage will usually be repaired by the dealership, either by an in-house technician or with a contracted dent repair company.  After evaluating each vehicle, the dealership determines the cost of repairs and compares them to the profit margin of selling that vehicle fully repaired.  Most comprehensive auto insurance plans will cover hail damaged repairs, and a professional auto dealership will have insurance on each vehicle in their lot.  

When the hail damage is more severe, the cost of repairing the vehicle could leave a smaller profit margin for the dealership than they would have if they sold the vehicle at a discounted rate with the damage.  In some cases, hailstones will damage parts of the vehicle that must be repaired by replacing the part, like the plastic lining above the window of the vehicle.  Sharp impact can also penetrate the clear coat of the vehicle, cracking the paint and exposing the vehicle’s metal panel to the elements.  When this happens, the dealership often chooses to sell the vehicle at face value, with the hail damage.  

How are Hail Damaged Vehicles Repaired?

Hail damaged vehicles can be repaired in two ways: with conventional repairs or paintless dent repair.  

Conventional repair is a method that includes replacing parts and panels of the damaged vehicle or filling in the dent with another substance such as BONDO filler.  Conventional repairs typically require sanding and painting, making it a multi-step repair process.  

The preferred method of hail damage repair on vehicles by auto insurance companies is the Paintless Dent Repair technique or PDR.  

Auto insurance companies prefer the PDR method for repairing auto hail damage because it restores the vehicle, rather than changing it.  Keeping the vehicle in it’s original condition retains the value of the vehicle over time.  Paintless Dent Repair restores the vehicle to its condition prior to the damage.  

What is Paintless Dent Repair? 

Paintless Dent Repair is a method of repairing dents on the body of a vehicle that does not require additional parts or additional steps.  Long, metal rods are used to reach between the panels of your vehicle through access points created by the producer of the vehicle.  Each rod has a different shape at the end, allowing a different angle and amount of pressure with each tool.  A technician uses specialized lights to see each minuscule curvature of the panel of the vehicle from the outside.  Guiding the rods, the PDR technician guides the metal indention to its original position.  

The most common metals used to build auto vehicles have a sense of memory within them.  This allows the technician to guide the metal back to its original form.  While the overview of paintless dent repair is simple enough, it is a very technical procedure that should not be attempted without proper training.  Paintless dent repair technicians go through years of training to understand the precise amount of pressure each dent needs to glide back to life.  

At Capital Dent Masters, we have over 13 years of experience repairing hail damaged vehicles.  Training in Europe, we have worked in countries around the world and are constantly improving our craft of paintless dent repair.  Our premier quality of hail damage repair is one that is unmatched in Denver, thanks to our diverse training background and our love for the artistry of paintless dent repair.  

Why Buy a Hail Damaged Vehicle? 

Buying a hail damaged vehicle from a dealership is a great option for many people.  If you are looking for a good car to get around in, or a car for a new driver, a hail damaged vehicle could be a great find.  Remember, hail damage is considered cosmetic, as the damage did not affect the engine or mechanics of the car.  With the price of the vehicle lowered due to the hail damage, you could potentially afford a nicer car.  However, you run off in search of the hail damaged vehicle of your dreams, there are some things to keep in mind about hail damaged vehicles as the investment that they are.  

How does Purchasing a Hail Damaged Vehicle Affect My Auto Insurance? 

Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to check with your auto insurance provider to see how it will affect your policy specifically.  Some agents will offer you coverage on a vehicle with damage, but that could negate coverage on future damage.  Undocumented hail damage can severely impact future auto insurance claims.  If you are in a fender bender but have hail damage the insurance company is unaware of, they will only insure you in the difference of the cost of repairs.  That adds up quickly, as the average hail damaged vehicle costs $4,500 to repair with Paintless Dent Repair.  Knowing how your policy could change in advance will give you peace of mind at the dealership.  

Can I Finance a Hail Damaged Vehicle? 

It depends! Some lenders are happy to finance a hail damaged vehicle, and may even cover the cost of repairs.  This is dependent on the lenders’ policies, as well as your standing with them.  If you are planning on purchasing a hail damaged vehicle, be sure to find the right lender for you ahead of time!

How to Buy a Hail Damaged Vehicle from a Dealership

The first thing to do before you go out could be to search local dealerships near you.  This dealership in Miami lists the condition of their vehicles on-site, so you know if there are even hail damaged vehicles before you arrive.  

Once you arrive at the dealership, look around at the cars on the lot.  Are the majority of the vehicles out damaged from a recent hail storm?  If so, it is likely the dealership has decided to sell most of the vehicles without repairs, in order to maintain the highest margin of profit.  This is a good clue that you may be able to negotiate the final price of the vehicle.

Ask the Dealer Lots of Questions

A dealer should be comfortable giving you all of the information about the vehicle.  Find out why they chose to sell the vehicle as is rather than getting it repaired.  Since you know they get each vehicle appraised, also ask them what the estimated cost of repairs would be.  Whether or not you intend to fix the vehicle post-purchase, having the estimated cost of repairs will give you a better idea of the full extent of the damage, and what the car is valued at with the damage.  

Be Sure the Vehicle Comes with a Warranty

All vehicles should come with a warranty when purchased from a dealership.  Withholding a warranty for a vehicle being sold with damage often indicates that the damage is in fact more severe than you have been led to believe.  A reasonable warranty or a money-back guarantee with your purchase is a good sign that the damage could be easily repaired with paintless dent repair.  

Is there a Salvage Title with the Vehicle? 

Salvage titles are given when the vehicle has been declared a total loss by the insurance company.  This indicates that the cost of repairs is more than the value of the vehicle prior to the damage.  Before you finalize any purchase of a vehicle with damage, find out if there is a salvage title and the reason it was issued if so.  

How does Hail Damage Affect the CarFax Report of My Vehicle? 

Some hail damage will show on a CarFax report.  However, hail damage that is repaired with paintless dent repair is not required to be on any CarFax report.  While CarFax always encourages you to request reporting PDR repair, it is not necessary.  Paintless dent repair restores the vehicle to its condition prior to the damage, meaning the vehicle is unchanged.  Since the vehicle is still original, there is technically nothing to add to the CarFax report. 

If you do have your vehicle repaired with paintless dent repair after a hail storm, it is possible that your insurance company will offer the information to CarFax for their reports.  It is a good idea to pull your CarFax report 3-6 months after receiving repairs, to ensure it is correct.  On the occasion the CarFax report is incorrect, you can contact them to edit the report.  

Have the Vehicle Inspected Prior to Purchasing

Another way to ensure you are buying a vehicle that is not damaged more severely than you believe is always to reach out to a professional paintless dent repair company.  At Capital Dent Masters, we offer free estimates for all hail damaged vehicles.  We are happy to assess any hail damaged vehicle in the Denver metro area.  Our team of claim specialists will walk you through the process, giving you a stress free repair experience. 

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