Someone Hit My Parked Car – What Should I Do Next?

man opening passenger side car door

There’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling of walking out to your parked car and realizing that something’s not right. Seeing that your vehicle has been hit and damaged can feel like a punch in the gut, but there’s no need to panic. These types of accidents are quite common and aren’t too complicated to deal with. If someone hit your parked car, take a deep breath, stay calm and follow these steps to handle the situation.

Collect other driver’s information

Odds are, you won’t see the actual parked car accident take place. But if you do, calmly talk to the driver and collect the following key information:

  • Name
  • Contact Information (Address and Phone Number)
  • Explanation of Accident
  • Insurance Company

If you did not see the accident happen but the driver left a note, contact them to confirm you have all the above information.

Talk to witnesses

Once you’ve collected the driver’s information, or if the driver left the scene without leaving their contact information, look around the scene of the accident and try to identify any witnesses. If there are witnesses, talk to them about what they saw, document the details, and get their names and contact information.[1]

Call the police

Next, you should call the police and report the accident.[2] It may seem like overkill since likely no people were harmed, but most states require a police report to be filed if a vehicle is involved in any kind of accident. The police can also be particularly helpful in determining exactly what happened and locating/accessing any security cameras that might have captured the incident.

Document the accident

As with any accident, it’s important to document the scene. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, and any other damaged vehicles or property at the scene. If the other vehicle is present, document that vehicle as well; be sure to capture its license plate. These will be important when you file your insurance claim.

Contact your insurance company

Once you’ve followed all these steps, you should contact your insurance company. While the driver at fault should cover the cost of damages, your own insurance company can help walk you through the process and understand what to expect.

Will insurance cover the costs?

The cost to repair your vehicle should be covered by the insurance held by the driver who hit your car and caused the damage. However, in the unfortunate event that someone hit your parked car and left without leaving any contact information, you can still file a claim with your own insurance. Two types of coverage may come into play here:

Uninsured Motorist Coverage provides coverage when your car is hit in an accident and it’s the other driver’s fault, but that driver does not have insurance to cover the damage. Often this insurance will be used to cover the property damage claim in a hit-and-run. Learn more about Uninsured Motorist coverage from Nationwide.

Collision Coverage may also be used to cover damage to your vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. Not all policies include collision coverage, and you would be required to pay the deductible. Learn more about Collision Coverage from Nationwide.

Every situation is a little different. No matter what, remember that your insurance company is there to help you handle your claim in the manner that’s best for you, based on your individual situation and coverage.

 

[1] https://distracteddriveraccidents.com/4-questions-to-ask-your-car-accident-witness/

[2] https://www.thebalance.com/what-information-is-on-a-police-auto-accident-report-527128