It seems like every summer, especially in northern parts of Australia, the weather delivers ‘golf ball-sized’ hail, a ‘supercell’, and a ‘one in 100 year event’. Every year, insurers warn us about leaving our cars outside during a storm. And every year it seems like dealerships get hammered, and want to on-sell their hail-damaged fleet for cheap.

However, just because there’s a bargain, does that mean you should buy a hail-damaged car? It could be a false economy.

In the market for a new car? The table below features car loans with some of the lowest fixed interest rates on the market.

Lender

FixedNew1 year
More details
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available

New Car Loan - Special (Fixed)

  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
FixedNew1 year
More details
Approval within 24 hours
  • Save the planet. Save thousands on your car loan.
  • Get a discounted rate if you buy electric
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Approval within 24 hours

Green Car Loan Fixed

  • Save the planet. Save thousands on your car loan.
  • Get a discounted rate if you buy electric
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
FixedNew99 years
More details
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k
  • Available for any new motorised vehicle
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k

New Car Loan

  • Available for any new motorised vehicle
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
VariableNew1 year
More details

New / Demo Car Loan (Variable)

    FixedNew1 year
    More details

    New / Demo Car Loan (Fixed)

      FixedNew, Used99 years
      More details

      New or Used Car Loan Special

        FixedNew, Used7 years
        More details
        No ongoing fees
        No ongoing fees

        Plenti Car Loan (Refinance)

          FixedNew, Used99 years
          More details

          Unsecured Car Loan Excellent Credit

            FixedNew5 years
            More details

            Fixed Car Loan (New)

              FixedNew, Used7 years
              More details

              Secured Car Loan

                VariableNew, Used10 years
                More details

                Car Loan

                  FixedNew, Used99 years
                  More details

                  Car Loan

                    Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                    All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here.

                    The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans for the relevant amounts and terms are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for unsecured personal loans are applicable for unsecured loans only. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

                    Monthly repayment figures are estimates only, exclude fees and are based on the advertised rate for the term and for the loan amount entered. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes. Rates correct as of June 16, 2024. View disclaimer.

                    What to know about buying and owning a hail-damaged car

                    There’s two key things to consider when it comes to buying and owning a hail-damaged car - its insurability, and the cost to repair … if you decide to go down that path.

                    Insurance and write-offs

                    In a lot of states, it’s fine to buy and sell a written-off vehicle, provided it’s listed as a repairable write-off. In many cases, a dealership will automatically write-off their vehicles if there’s hail damage, so the chances of repairing them could be good. They do this because it’s uneconomical for their insurer to repair these vehicles as the damage could outweigh the value of the car, or prove too much trouble. The written-off vehicles then often find their way to auction houses.

                    • To check if a car has been written off you can check the Personal Property Security Register (PPSR) - for around $2 you can find out a whole lot of info about your vehicle that the seller might not want to divulge.

                    Most of the time, it’s illegal to drive a written-off vehicle. Generally, it must be repaired and/or pass roadworthy before it’s put back on the road.

                    This leads us to the other point - insurance. A car’s roadworthiness affects its ability to get insurance. A lot of the time, your insurer wants to know before you take out a policy if your car has existing damage. In a hail-damaged car’s case, the answer is a strong yes. Insurers see already-damaged cars as a liability, and could charge a premium accordingly.

                    RACQ Spokesperson Lucinda Ross said insuring a hail-damaged car is generally a hassle.

                    “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,” Ms Ross said.

                    “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.”

                    Cost to repair

                    It’s common that a hail storm doesn’t totally write-off a vehicle, and instead only dings it up a bit. A popular technique that repairers use for hail damage is ‘paintless dent repair’ or PDR. With PDR, a panel beater will go over the surface of the car, gradually smoothing out dents to not damage the paint.

                    Depending on the extent of the damage, PDR could cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars, to thousands. If total panels are looking like a golf ball, chances are it’ll need more extensive repairs, including a full respray, which could costs thousands, and negate the benefit of buying the cheaper hail-damaged car.

                    You may find auction houses sell hail-damaged cars. Here it’s important to figure out if the vehicle is written-off or not - if so, you’ll have to fork out for repairs before going on the road. It’s probably a telling indictment that hail-damaged cars are often listed under the ‘salvaged’ categories on auction house websites.

                    Ms Ross said repairing a hail-damaged vehicle could be more damage than it’s worth.

                    “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,” she said.

                    If you’re buying a hail-damaged car privately, the same rules apply - you don’t necessarily want to acquire someone else’s problem.

                    Long term effects of a hail-damaged car

                    The problems might not stop at your friends laughing at you for driving a car that looks like a golf ball. Hail damage can gradually eat away at your car’s paint, like a slow-moving virus creeping up on you. A hail dent can cause the paint to chip and flake, which then can have a flow-on effect to the rest of the car. Hail damage left too long can also cause rust to form, which is caused by water seeping in under the paint. Surface rust doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but rust can eventually eat through the metal. If you’ve got a hail-damaged car, it’s important to get the damage attended to as soon as you can.

                    Savings.com.au’s two cents

                    Buying a car with hail damage can seem like a good deal, often discounted to half-price or more. However, this could be a false economy. If you’re intent on repairing, the repairs could outweigh the cost of the value of the car. Insurance can also be hard to secure on a hail-damaged car, or will likely cost more than an undamaged vehicle. Further, hail damage left unchecked can cause rust and long-term problems for your car.

                    Savings.com.au’s two cents is to weigh up the savings you get from getting a cheaper - but still safe and mechanically-sound - car against the costs of higher insurance premiums and potential repairs.