Someone Hit My Parked Car. What Do I Do?
You enjoyed a nice dinner with friends on a Friday night and are heading back to the parking lot where you find your car mirror broken and the driver side of your car dented. Your weekend is quickly ruined when you realize your parked car was hit. The actions you take to repair your vehicle will vary based on the situation, but it is important that you stay calm and follow these steps on what to do when someone hits your parked car.
STEPS TO FOLLOW AFTER A PARKED CAR ACCIDENT
- Get as much information as you can before moving the car or leaving the scene. If you were not present when the accident occurred it is a good idea to get as much information about the incident as possible. You can document the time of day and weather conditions by taking pictures. Photos will also help to record the damage as well as any signage or tire marks that will support your claim. Additionally, see if there are any witnesses or neighbors in the area that might have seen the incident. Is there a nearby business in the area? Ask to see if they have security cameras.
- Call the police. The police will provide you with an accident report, which will be necessary if you choose to file a claim.
- Contact your insurance company. Notifying your insurance company immediately is important because the details of the incident are fresh in your mind and the company will be able to provide insight on your options.
WILL INSURANCE COVER THE DAMAGE RESULTING FROM PARKED CAR ACCIDENTS?
The insurance process will vary based on whether the accident was a hit and run or if the driver remained at the scene or left a note.
Situation 1: What if My Parked Car Was Hit and the Other Driver Left a Note?
If the driver who hit your vehicle can be identified, then they can be held financially responsible for the damage. If they have insurance, you can contact their insurance company to file a claim. If they do not have insurance, you can ask them to pay out of pocket for the damages or file a claim with your insurance company.
Situation 2: What if Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left the Scene?
A hit and run parked car accident may be the hardest situation to deal with financially in terms of parked car accidents. If you cannot identify the driver of the other vehicle through security footage or witness accounts then you have to file a claim through your insurance if the damage is extensive. You may have two different coverage options through your policy.
- Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle that results from an accident. You are covered under collision insurance if you caused an accident or if you were a victim of a hit and run. Not all insurance policies include collision because it is an optional coverage.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage provides financial protection if you are in an accident with another driver who does not have insurance. This type of coverage would also protect you if you are a victim of a hit and run. You may or may not have this coverage on your policy depending on your state. In some states this coverage is required where as in others it is optional or unavailable.
With both collision insurance and uninsured motorist property damage coverage, you will still have to pay your deductible. Your deductible is the amount designated on your policy that you have to pay out of pocket before moving forward with an insurance claim.
SHOULD I FILE A CLAIM FOR THE DAMAGE TO MY PARKED CAR?
Insurance will likely cover the damage to your vehicle from a parked car accident, but if you make a claim with your insurance company then you will have to pay your deductible. Deductibles can range anywhere from $0 to $1,000 or more. Have a professional assess the damages to your vehicle to be sure the cost of the repair outweighs the price of your deductible.
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