If you hit a parked car on the street or in a parking lot, your auto liability insurance covers damages to the other driver's car. Collision insurance covers repairs for damage to your own car. In the event someone hits your car while it's parked, the other driver's liability coverage should take care of the repair bill. This is unless your car is damaged in a hit-and-run. Your collision or uninsured motorist's insurance would cover the damages in that case — if you have those coverage types.
This article will cover:
What if I hit a parked car?
If you hit and damage a parked vehicle, do the following:
Do not immediately leave the scene
If you hit a parked car, the first thing you want to do is stay put. Driving away after you hit a parked car without at least leaving your contact information for the car's owner is considered a hit-and-run. A hit-and-run is a crime and even considered a felony depending on which state you live in and other circumstances. Committing a hit-and-run can lead to the following penalties:
- Jail time
- Driver's license suspension
- Auto insurance premium increase or policy cancellation
Another possible penalty after a hit-and-run is a civil suit. The driver of the other car in the hit-and-run can decide to sue you for expenses such as medical costs and lost wages. Also, some states have "treble damage" provisions in place to curb reckless driving. This means the amount of money awarded to the driver of the hit car could be tripled.
Leave a note for the car's owner
If you are not able to find the parked car's owner, leave a note on their windshield with your:
- Phone number
- Insurance policy information and contact number
Take pictures of both cars involved in the accident. To be thorough, get pictures of the license plates of both cars as well. Also, snap photos of any damage tied to the accident.
Contact your car insurance company
Once you've done your due diligence, give your auto insurance provider a call. Let them know about the accident even if you don't plan on filing a claim for any damage to your car. This will keep them in the loop if the owner of the car you hit contacts them.
What if someone hits my parked car?
If your own car is hit by someone else, you'll follow steps similar to the ones detailed above with a few extra, but important, steps:
If you can, wait and see if you can find the driver of the car that hit yours. This gives them the opportunity to exchange car insurance information, and it can make any claim process that occurs afterward easier.
Get the other driver's information
If the other driver is available, get their name, phone number, address and car insurance information. You'll need this for both your own car insurance company and the police. If the driver is not available, hopefully they left their information under the windshield wiper. If they didn't, you've got a hit-and-run.
Look for witnesses
If you find anyone who saw the incident occur, ask for their names and phone numbers. Check with businesses around where the accident occurred and see if they have security camera footage of it. This can help a lot, especially in a hit-and-run.
Contact the police
Whether you're able to find the other driver or not, it's important to call the police. You'll need a police report number for your car insurance claim for damages from the accident. On top of being able to help you file a report, they may be able to get security camera footage you can't.
If there are no injuries or serious damage involved with the accident, the police might not feel it necessary to show up in person. Still, you will need to contact them for the car insurance claim, as a police report will probably be required.
Compile information for insurance
Note the time and location of where your car was hit. Take photos of the location where the accident occurred, as well your car and the other driver's car if they're still around. Get the police report number, as well as the name of the attending officer if they come to the scene.
Contact the necessary car insurance companies
If you were able to find the driver who hit your car, use their insurance information to contact their provider and file a claim with them. If not, you will need to call your own provider to cover the damages.
Does car insurance cover a damaged parked car?
Car insurance coverage after a parked car is hit depends on many factors. If you hit another car and were able to exchange insurance information, your auto liability coverage should cover repair expenses. If your car was hit, the other driver's liability insurance will cover your damages.
If your car was hit and you weren't able to find the driver and they didn't leave contact information, you will need to rely on your collision or uninsured motorist insurance to get your repairs covered.
Your car insurance rates shouldn't increase if you file a claim with the other driver's insurance provider. If you go to your own insurance company to file a claim for damages or a claim is filed against you, however, you can expect to see an increase in your premium at your policy's renewal time.
For this reason, you should consider paying out of pocket if damage to your car after the accident is minimal. If the dollar amount of the damage is lower than your policy deductible, the claim will be denied and you could see an increase in your premium anyway. If it is covered, filing a claim for minor damage can cause a premium increase over time that could wind up being more than what the cost of the damage was.
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