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What to Do After Someone Hits Your Parked Car

Did someone hit and damage your parked vehicle? Here’s what you need to do about it, plus how it might affect your car insurance rates.

Parked car with a dent

If someone hits your parked car, don’t freak out. You won’t have to pay for repairs out of your own pocket if you take the right steps.

If you know who hit your parked car, or if that person left a note with their contact and insurance information, their liability coverage should pay for repairs. If it was a hit-and-run, your own collision or uninsured motorist property damage coverage should pay for them.

You’ll learn more about that here. And you’ll learn about these related topics, too:

What Do I Do If Someone Hits My Parked Car?

There are two common types of parked car accidents:

  • Someone hits your parked car and leaves a note
  • Your parked car is hit and run

Fortunately, the steps you need to take after either situation are pretty similar. One key difference is how insurance pays out. We’ll elaborate on that later. Here’s what you need to do if someone hits your parked car:

Don’t leave the scene

Leaving the scene too early or too quickly can cause a lot of problems if you want the driver who hit your parked vehicle to pay for repairs. Even if it’s a hit and run, stay put. Stick around until you’ve taken the next few steps, at least.

Get the other driver’s contact and insurance information

If the accident wasn’t a hit and run, ask the driver to give you their:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Car insurance company and policy information

You want this information for your own peace of mind, of course, but that’s not all. You also want it so you can give it to the police and to your own insurance company. Both may need it as they investigate the accident.

If you can’t get this information from the driver yourself, hopefully they left it for you on a note attached to your windshield.

Look for and talk with witnesses

You should check for witnesses to the accident. Don’t just look for people standing nearby either. Ask people living in homes or working in businesses near the scene if they saw what happened, too.Security cameras in the area may be able to help as well.

If it’s a hit and run, finding witnesses or video footage is a must. It’s the only way you’ll be able to identify the driver.

Call the police

Getting the police involved after someone hits your parked vehicle is a good idea for a few reasons. They can question the other driver – if they stuck around – and any witnesses to the accident. And they may know of security cameras near the scene that you could then use to make your case against the person who hit your car. They’ll also help you file a report about the crash.

However, the police likely won’t come to the scene if no one was injured or if the damage is minimal. You should still call, though. Getting a police report is a vital step in getting reimbursed for damages to your parked car.

Write down the time and location of the accident

When and where it happened are two of the most important details of any car accident. Make note of that information as soon as you can so it doesn’t slip your mind later.

Photograph your car and the scene

Take zoomed-out photos that show where the accident happened as well as close-up photos that show the damage to your car. And take these photos from different angles. Also, photograph the other car, if the driver stuck around.

Contact the insurance companies

If you have the other driver’s insurance information, call their provider, too.

Their insurance coverage should pay for the damage to your car. If it doesn’t, or if the person who hit your parked vehicle drove off without leaving a note, your own coverage should pay for the damage.

If you’re relying on your own coverage, think twice before filing a claim. It’s generally a good idea to pay for minor car accidents out-of-pocket. There’s a good chance it’ll cost you less in the long run, when you consider the rate increase that comes with filing a claim.  

How Do I File a Claim After Someone Hits My Parked Car?

How you file a claim after someone hits your parked car depends on whether or not you know anything about the other driver.

If you didn’t get the other driver’s contact and insurance information, for example, you’ll need to file a claim with your own car insurance provider.

If you did get the other driver’s contact and insurance information, you can file what’s called a third-party claim with his or her insurer.

Don’t know how or where to file a claim in this situation? Contact your agent, broker, or a customer service representative at the insurance company.

Whose Insurance Pays for the Damage If Someone Hits My Parked Car?

If someone hits and damages your parked car, their liability insurance should pay for repairs. That’s assuming it’s not a hit and run.

If you don’t know who the other driver is or if they don’t have the right type or amount of car insurance, your collision coverage will pay for the needed repairs.

If you have uninsured motorist property damage coverage, it may pay for damage caused by a hit-and-run.

Will My Insurance Rates Go up After Someone Hits My Parked Car?

Your rates won’t go up after someone hits your parked car if you file a claim with their insurance company.

Your rates might go up after someone hits your parked car if you file a claim with your own insurance company, however. Yes, even though you had nothing to do with the accident.

Some insurers will raise your rates whenever you file a claim, regardless of fault.

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