Someone Hit My Parked Car. What Do I Do?
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Your car is a potential target for damage as soon as it hits the street. In a public opinion poll on distracted driving, 66% of drivers nationwide admitted to making phone calls while driving through parking lots, making a hit to your parked vehicle a very real possibility in the near future.
Keep reading this step-by-step guide on what to do if someone hits your parked car, including what to do if the at-fault driver leaves the scene, leaves a note, and other scenarios.
If your parked vehicle gets hit and your claim causes your premiums to rise, it may be time to look for a new, more affordable auto insurance policy. To make it easy, enter your ZIP code below to compare rates from dozens of insurance providers:
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What to Do If Someone Hits Your Parked Car
The first step is to stay calm. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Take a deep breath, tend to any possible injuries, and assess your vehicle’s damage with a thorough visual inspection. From there, check to see if the driver left a note.
Here are the first steps to take immediately after someone hits your parked car, with or without a note.
1. Call the Police
Call authorities and report the incident, even if there is minimal damage. A law enforcement officer will arrive at the scene and write a police report or official accident report, which is needed to file an insurance claim.
If law enforcement is unavailable, you can also file an incident report yourself.
2. Document the Incident
After filing an official incident report:
- Take pictures and videos of the vehicle damage.
- Capture photos of the damage from different angles, including your vehicle’s positioning and the adjacent parking area.
- Take close-ups and long shots of any dents, skid marks, and debris for a better picture of all damages. Capture your surroundings to get a better sense of location and weather conditions.
- If the at-fault driver did not leave a note, gather eyewitnesses and request that nearby retailers’ stores check for security cameras that may have recorded footage of the scene. You never know when a security camera has captured a perfect shot of the at-fault driver’s license plate.
3. File a Claim
Without a note left by the at-fault driver, consider it a hit-and-run accident. In this case, you may decide to file a claim to pay for damages depending on your vehicle’s condition. First, call your insurance company and file a claim as quickly as possible. After that, your insurer may refer you to an auto mechanic for a repair estimate.
If the driver left a note but is not present to exchange information, share the driver’s note with law enforcement and your insurance company. Your insurance company will work with the other driver’s insurance company to settle the claim.
If the driver is present at the scene, collect as much information from the other driver as possible. Ask for their license, registration, insurance information, phone number, and all accident details before filing your claim.
Start the claims process under all three scenarios by calling your insurance company as soon as possible. Filing a claim within a day or two keeps all information top of mind.
What Type of Insurance Coverage Pays for Damages to My Parked Vehicle?
Two types of coverage pay for damage to parked vehicles — collision coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
Collision coverage takes care of vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-object, and rollover damage. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage protects against drivers who flee the scene of the accident without leaving a note, labeling them uninsured.
With collision and uninsured motorist property damage coverage, you will pay a deductible before insurance kicks in and covers the rest. For example, if repairs are estimated to cost $2,500, and you have a $1,000 deductible, your insurance company will pay $1,500 for repairs. If damages are estimated to be higher, your insurance company will contribute up to your policy’s liability insurance coverage limits (up to a maximum dollar amount).
Deciding between collision and uninsured motorist property damage coverage comes down to availability. Uninsured motorist coverage protects against uninsured at-fault drivers, generally coming with lower deductibles than collision coverage. Collision coverage, on the other hand, typically pays out faster with higher deductibles.
Note: Uninsured motorist property damage coverage is not available in all states. If this type of insurance is available in your state, it’s not a given that it can be used if the at-fault driver is not identified. Not to mention, regardless of whether you use collision or uninsured motorist property damage coverage, there is a high likelihood of a rate increase.
Can Comprehensive Coverage Pay for Damages to My Parked Car?
No, comprehensive coverage does not pay for damages to parked vehicles. Unlike collision coverage, comprehensive coverage pays for non-collision-related damages caused by theft, weather-related events, vandalism, animals, and falling objects.
What If I Prefer Not to Involve My Insurance Company?
If you are wary of paying deductibles and potential rate hikes, you don’t have to involve your insurance company. All drivers who have parked vehicles hit by at-fault drivers can negotiate directly with other drivers to see if they are willing to pay out-of-pocket for damages. Some may agree to cover out-of-pocket damages and others may not.
However, opting not to involve your insurance company involves a little legwork getting quotes from competing body shops and coming to an agreement with the other driver. Additionally, mechanics may overlook certain damages, especially around fender damage, which could lead to engine mishaps. These unforeseen damages could creep up later, resulting in higher than anticipated repair costs.
Will My Insurance Rates Rise After Someone Hits My Parked Car?
Any claim brings the possibility of your insurance premiums increasing unless you file a claim using the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Still, many insurance companies may hike rates, regardless of who is at fault. Speak with your insurance company agent or representative to learn the likelihood of your premium being affected.
At this point, it may be an excellent time to shop around and get auto insurance quotes from multiple providers to find the best deal. You may also decide to speak with your insurance agent to get a clearer picture of how the accident will impact your rates and ability to secure discounts in the future.
What Should I Do If I Hit A Parked Car?
If you hit a parked car, do not leave the scene. Instead, wait until the driver returns to exchange contact information. If the driver does not return after a while, leave a note under the driver’s windshield wiper with your full name, contact information, insurance company, and a description of what happened.
From there, you should call your insurance company and give them a heads up that the other vehicle’s owner may decide to file a claim.
Shop Around for the Best Car Insurance Rates
After filing a claim to pay for damages caused by someone hitting your parked vehicle, it may make sense to do competitive-rate shopping between different auto insurance companies to find the cheapest policy. It’s not surprising for one insurance company to offer cheaper car insurance than a competing insurance provider for the same amount of coverage.
Compare all of your options by entering your ZIP code below:
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