What you need to know before buying a hail damaged car: RACQ

RACQ has warned Queenslanders thinking of buying a cheap car impacted by last month’s violent storms to do their homework first or risk getting ripped off and forking out for repairs.
Car hit with hailstorm
Courier Mail reported hundreds of hail damaged cars would go to auction this Friday with some vehicles likely to sell for less than $500.

Club spokesperson Lucinda Ross said the bargain buys could have significant underlying issues which would render them more trouble than they were worth.

“These vehicles have been written off by insurers for a reason and that’s usually because the cost to repair them is more than the vehicle itself,” Ms Ross said.

“Before signing on the dotted line, you first need to consider if the purchase price plus the cost of repairs works out cheaper than the normal sale price – if it doesn’t then it’s best not to part with your cash.

“Unless you’re in the automotive industry, for most of us a quick look at a car at auction won’t give us all the information we need to work out how much repairs will cost – so you’re practically buying blind.”

Ms Ross said there were also insurance implications buyers should be aware of.

“Even if the damage is relatively minor and you don’t plan to fix it, you still need to consider whether you’ll be able to get it insured,” she said.

“Most insurers won’t cover vehicles with existing hail damage, or at best, they’ll limit the cover. Remember you’re obligated to be upfront with insurers about the condition of your vehicle including any existing hail damage at the time you’re taking out the cover.

“If you have your eye on a relatively a new or near new hail damaged car, it’s important to find out if any damage will affect the car’s warranty.

“Also if the car’s been classified as a repairable write-off the ‘written-off’ flag will stay with it for its lifetime – something to keep in mind if you ever plan on selling it in the future.”

Ms Ross encouraged buyers to do their research before committing to buy a car, whether it be at an auction, dealership or private sale.

“Doing a Personal Property Securities Register check on any car you want to purchase is a good start because it’ll protect you against unknowingly buying a repaired write-off."

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The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.