February 25, 2020

Someone Hit My Parked Car

Read more about Car Insurance

If someone hits your parked car, you probably have a lot of questions. What steps should you take next? Will your auto insurance cover the damages? Read on for these answers and more.

What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car

Car accidents are stressful, even if your vehicle was parked when it was hit. But you can take control of the situation by following these steps:

  1. Collect information from the other driver
    If you witnessed the accident or the driver waited for you to arrive, calmly collect their information, including:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Contact information (phone number, email)
    • Explanation of incident
    • Insurance provider and policy number

  2. Check for witnesses
    Even if you saw the incident happen, check for others who witnessed it. They can help by supporting your story or the other driver's. Ask them to provide their contact information and an explanation of the incident in case the police or insurance company want to contact them.

  3. Take photos
    Get pictures of the damage to both cars (if the other driver stuck around). Also, take a photo of the license plate of the other car. Be sure to take all the photos before you drive anywhere. Documenting your damage can provide support for the other driver's insurance company.

    It may also help to document other aspects of the incident, such as time of day, weather, and location.

  4. Contact the police
    Many states require you to call the police when your car is involved in an accident. Even if no one is injured, you should still call. Consider using the non-emergency phone number if you don't need an ambulance. The police can help you create a police report and help you obtain surveillance camera footage.

    Some insurance companies require a police report when filing the claim. Ask the officer for a copy of the report, and get their name and badge number.

  5. Contact the insurance company
    If the other driver hit your vehicle and is at fault, call their insurance company. Their insurance should pay for the damage if your car was parked legally.

    If the other company doesn't pay for the damage, contact your own insurance company to file a claim. Your insurance will likely cover the damage if you have collision coverage. But you will have to pay your deductible, and your rates may go up depending on your state and insurance provider.

Will my insurance go up if someone hits my parked car?
If you file a claim with the other person's insurance company, your rates won't go up. But if you file a claim with your own insurance, your rates could rise even if you weren't at fault. Your insurance company may look at factors, such as your previous driving record, before deciding whether your rates will increase.

Will My Insurance Pay for the Damage?

Who pays for the damage when your parked car is hit depends on the circumstances. If you can contact the other driver, you should first file a claim with their insurance.

Their property damage liability coverage will handle damages to your car. If you're injured, their bodily injury liability coverage will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and legal fees.

If you don't have the other driver's information or they're uninsured, you have two options:

File a claim with your uninsured motorist coverage
If the other driver is uninsured, you'll be able to recover costs for damages and repairs. Most companies will require a police report and conduct their own investigation, which can take time.

If the other driver could not be tracked down, your insurance company might not cover the damage under your uninsured motorist coverage. The following states don't accept uninsured motorist coverage for hit-and-run accidents:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Ohio

File a claim with your collision coverage
Collision coverage will pay for damages even if you can't locate the other driver, regardless of fault. This could be faster than other claims, but you'll have to pay the deductible before the insurance company pays for the rest of the repairs.

For example, if you have a $500 deductible and it costs $1,000 to fix your car, you'll have to pay $500 yourself and you'll receive $500 from the insurance company

Will my premium go up if I'm not at fault?
In each of these scenarios, your rates will likely increase, even if the accident was not your fault. This is due to the simple fact that you filed a claim.

Incurring damage to your car is always frustrating. Read on to learn more about different situations and how to deal with them.

Hit-and-Run Accident

A hit-and-run accident means someone hit your car and left the scene without leaving their contact info or waiting for the police.

When this happens, follow the steps above for dealing with an accident. Try to gather as much information as you can about the incident. Check for witnesses in the surrounding area and in nearby stores. They may have caught the accident on their security cameras.

If you don't have any information about the other driver, you'll have to file a claim with your own insurance. You may be covered if you have uninsured motorist coverage.

This coverage isn't required in all states. If you don't have it, work with your carrier to see if any of your coverages will pay for the damages. An attorney can guide you through the claims process if your insurance company won't pay.

What should I do if my car was hit in a parking lot?
Whether your car was hit while parked in a lot or on the street, it's important to get as much info as you can about the accident. Depending on the severity of the hit-and-run, the police will use all the information you find to track down the other driver.

Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left a Note

The person who hit your car should have left a note with at least their contact information. Call them to find out what happened and to get their insurance information (if they didn't include it in the note).

Ideally, you'd file a claim with the other driver's insurance and get your car repaired without paying anything out of pocket. Most claims would be filed through the other driver's liability insurance.

But you may have to file through your own collision or uninsured motorist coverage if the other driver doesn't have insurance. You'll pay your deductible before your coverage kicks in. That means your premium could increase as a result of filing a claim.

Gather quotes from multiple auto body repair shops. If the cost of repair is lower than your deductible, you may want to pay out of pocket instead of going through your insurance. You could also consider working directly with the other driver if the damage is minor, such as a scratch (more on scratches to your car later).

If you choose this route, you and the other driver avoid paying deductibles or increased premiums. But going through an insurance company will give you peace of mind that any future problems caused by the accident will be covered.

Will I have to pay a deductible?
The short answer is, it depends. Generally, if you have the other driver's info (and they have insurance), you won't pay the deductible if your parked car is hit. Otherwise, you'll need to file a claim with your own insurance company and pay the deductible to get your vehicle repaired.

Someone Scratched My Car

Scratches can be caused by different things, which means they'll fall under different types of coverage. First, you'll need to determine how your car got scratched.

If the scratch results from one of the following, it will be covered under comprehensive coverage:

  • A vandal
  • A tree branch falling on your vehicle
  • A shopping cart pushed by the wind

then it would be covered under your comprehensive coverage. You will have to pay your deductible before the insurance kicks in. If you don't have comprehensive coverage, the damage will not be covered by your insurance company and you will have to pay for the repair out-of-pocket.

If the scratch results from one of the following, it will be covered under collision coverage:

  • Scraping an object, such as a light pole or mailbox
  • A car door hitting your vehicle in a parking lot
  • Sideswiping a parked vehicle
  • Scraping a tree or bushes while driving

then it would be under your collision coverage. A collision-related scratch will require you to pay your deductible before the insurance company kicks in.

If you don't know how your car was scratched, contact your insurance company. They can help you determine whether you should file a claim and what the impact might be on your premiums.

What If I Am Injured When My Car Was Hit?

If you're injured after someone hits your parked car, seek medical attention immediately even if it feels like a minor injury. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not show up until later.

You'll also want to file a claim to ensure your medical expenses will be covered. If you are able to get the other driver's information, you can file under their bodily injury liability insurance. If it was a hit-and-run, you could file it with one of your own coverages:

  • Personal injury protection
  • Medical payments
  • Standard health insurance

What Happens If I Hit a Parked Car?

Getting into any kind of accident, even with a parked car, can be stressful. Even if you barely caused damage, follow these steps to ensure you are legally protected:

  1. Don't panic
    Accidents happens to the best of us. But you'll be able to react to the situation better if you stay calm and focused.

  2. Stay at the scene
    It's against the law in every state to leave the scene of an accident, and it could be considered a hit-and-run. If you're cited, you could face legal consequences or increases in your car insurance rates by up to 80% or more.

  3. If no one arrives, leave a note
    If you've waited for the owner of the car and they don't show up, leave a simple note. Most states require you to include your:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Contact information
    • Explanation of the accident
    • Insurance information (if you have it handy)

    If you're driving someone else's car, you must leave the contact information for the owner of the car as well. If you don't feel comfortable leaving your insurance information, tell the person you can provide it when they contact you.

    Be sure to put the note where the other driver will see it, such as under the windshield wiper.

    Anything you write in the note can be used against you when the insurance companies are settling the claim. Don't accept blame or put too much information in the explanation (such as saying you were texting, not paying attention when you hit them, etc.)

  4. Take photos
    Take several pictures of both vehicles, and the license plate number of the other car. Even small dings or scratches can cost a lot to repair.

  5. Look for witnesses
    If there are any available witnesses, ask if you can take down their contact information, and if they would write down or record a description of what they saw happen.

  6. Call your insurance company
    By reporting the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible, they can work through the claims process more quickly.

    In most cases, your property damage liability coverage will pay for damage to the other car. Your collision coverage will pay for damage to your own car (after you pay the deductible).

Will my insurance go up if I hit a parked car?
If the other driver was legally parked, your rates will likely increase because you've been in an at-fault accident. Insurance companies will view you as a higher risk depending on how many accidents, tickets, and claims you've had in the past. As a result, your rates could increase by 40% or more.

Bottom Line

If someone hits your parked vehicle, be sure to stay calm—remember, you have options. If you can find the other driver, get their contact information, take photos, contact the police, and file a claim with their insurance. If you can't find the other driver, you can file a claim with your own insurance coverage.

It's important to take the proper steps to document the accident and notify the police and your insurance company. Following the tips listed above can help ensure a smooth claims process and coverage for the damage.

Write to Caitlyn Callahan at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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