Not every auto accident happens while you are on the road. Sometimes if you’ve parked your car on the street or in a parking lot, another motorist may hit it and cause some damage. Parking lot accidents account for about 20% of all car accidents in the U.S, according to the National Safety Council.
Here is what you should do when someone hits your parked car.
1. Get the Other Driver’s Information
First, ask the other driver to explain the incident to you. Be sure to get the driver’s name, contact details, insurance details, car model, and license number. If the offender has already left the scene, find out whether he/she left a note with this information. Additionally, try to find anyone who witnessed the accident. This may help you get the details of the accident and driver.
2. Contact the Police
Any time you are involved in an accident, the first step should be to contact the police. This is true even if you were not in your car when the accident occurred. Ensure that you get an accident report from the police. If a police officer doesn’t come to the scene, you should visit the nearest police station (or relevant police website) and file a report. You’ll need the official incident report when you’re filing an insurance claim, says the Insurance Information Institute (III). Involving the police can also help you find the offender and access security camera footage that may have captured the incident.
3. Document the Accident
Gather all the information you can find about the accident and the ensuing damage. This should include location, weather conditions, and time of day. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners also suggests that, if possible, you take pictures that show the damage to your car and pictures of signage and landmarks that identify the incident’s location.
4. Find Any Security Camera Footage
In the event of a hit-and-run, you should check whether any nearby security cameras captured the accident. Most mall and market parking lots have numerous security cameras that can help you gather the details of the accident. If the parking lot has no security cameras, find out if the surrounding buildings have security cameras that may have captured the incident. If you find footage of the accident, request a copy.
5. Notify Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company as soon as you can while the details are still fresh in your mind, says the Insurance Information Institute (III). Of course, if you’re driving a business-owned vehicle, you should contact the company’s auto insurer. If the offender left his/her details, you should share the information with the police and your insurance company. Usually, your insurer will arrange with the driver’s insurer how the claim will be settled. Take note that if you file an auto insurance claim, your insurer may raise your premiums.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), if someone hits your car and flees the scene without leaving his/her contact details, the incident may be considered a hit-and-run accident. When you get in a hit-and-run accident, your insurer can consider the offending driver as uninsured.
Will Your Insurer Pay for the Damage after Your Car is Hit While Parked?
It comes down to your policy coverage. Your insurer may compensate you if your policy includes collision coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
These are the steps you should take if someone hits your parked car. Equally important, you should carry the right auto insurance coverage. At C.V. Mason Insurance Agency in Bristol, Connecticut, we will help you find an auto insurance policy that provides you with adequate coverage at the right price. To get started, contact us today.