Severe storm season is in full swing, and with it comes damaging winds and hail of all sizes. After especially damaging hailstorms, there is often a mad rush to the local dealership, as customers try to get a steal on a hail-damaged vehicle. But is buying a hail damaged vehicle a good idea? The answer is: it depends. There are a variety of factors for buyers to consider before forking over the money for a hail-damaged vehicle.

Insurance Coverage

Before you decide to purchase a damaged vehicle of any sort, it’s critical that you first talk to your insurance company about coverage. Some insurance agencies will limit their coverage on vehicles that were purchased with hail damage. If you make the mistake of purchasing the vehicle before talking to the company, you could be left with an uninsurable car or truck.

Damage Extent

The most important factor you will want to consider before driving off the lot is how much damage the vehicle has and the nature of that damage. If any windows were broken during the storm, chances are water leaked into the vehicle. This water could potentially be cause for costly damages to things like the electrical system in the future. Dents should also be carefully examined. If the paint isn’t cracked in any way, the vehicle will be ok. However, if it is showing bare metal, it is likely that the vehicle will rust easily in the future.


With pre-damaged vehicles, you will want to check out the warranty before making any purchase decisions. If the dealership offers a bumper-to-bumper warranty without any exceptions, you are most likely getting a good deal. However, if this warranty is not offered, especially if there is potential rain damage, it is most likely not a good idea to purchase the vehicle. Make sure to read the fine print when it comes to warranty offers on hail damaged vehicles.

Deal or No Deal

If you plan on fixing the damage done to the vehicle by the hail, it is important to make sure you are actually receiving a deal and not getting screwed. If a dealership is offering you $2,000 off, but it will cost you more than $5,000 to correct the damage, you are not actually getting a deal. Make sure you have a good understanding of what the costs will be to fix the vehicle before you negotiate with the car dealerships. However, if you don’t care what your vehicle looks like and you don’t plan on fixing the damage, then you’re good to go!

Buying anything when you know it has some damage is a gamble, but this is especially true when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. A car or truck is a big investment, so it’s important to make sure you are putting your hard-earned money into something that is worthwhile. Consider these factors when visiting a hail damage sale, and use then to decide if buying an imperfect vehicle is the right decision for both you and your wallet.

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited offers the best dent repair Columbia MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.