Buying a hail damaged car might seem appealing, but the RACQ is warning against trying to bag a bargain.
EVERY CLOUD, so they say, has a silver lining, and keen bargain hunters may be tempted to think the silver lining after the Brisbane storms may be cut-price hail-damaged cars. However, the RACQ has warned buyers that potential insurance and repair issues may mean hail-damaged vehicles may turn out to be more trouble than they are worth.
The warning is just as relevant in other states where buyers may be offered cars damaged in the Brisbane storms.
RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding said it was important to do your homework before committing to a purchase. “Before you sign on the dotted line,” he said “be sure to factor in the cost of repairs if you plan on fixing the car. If the discount off the purchase price, plus the cost of repairs doesn’t work out cheaper than the normal sale price, then think carefully before jumping in on a ‘hail sale’.”
On the other hand, if you aren’t concerned about driving around in a dimpled car, you might bag a real bargain, but a hail-damaged car may make it difficult to get full insurance cover. “As a rule of thumb, most insurers will not insure vehicles with existing hail damage,” said Spalding. “Check with the dealer if hail damage will affect the car’s new warranty cover as well, particularly if there are future problems related to water entry into electronics.”
If you are buying a hail-damaged car with a view to having it repaired, check that spare parts will be available – the extent of the storm damage has put considerable demands on spare part stocks, and some owners face lengthy delays in having their cars repaired. If the damage has rendered the car unroadworthy (with broken headlights or tail lights, for instance) this will keep the car off the road until the repairs are effected.
And one final word of advice. At this time of the year, dealers are making some excellent offers so many buyers may be better off buying an end-of-year sale car rather than one with hail damage.
As always, it’s a case of caveat emptor – buyer beware.