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What to Do If You Hit a Parked Car

Will your insurance rates go up if you hit a parked car? What if someone hits your parked car? Here’s what to know and what to do in both cases.

Parked car with a dent

If you hit a parked car, don’t freak out. Follow the same advice if someone hits your parked car.

If you’re the driver who hit and damaged a parked car, your liability coverage will help pay for repairs to the other vehicle. Your collision coverage will pay for your own repairs.

If another driver hits your parked car, their liability coverage should pay for your vehicle’s repairs, unless it is a hit-and-run. In that case, your own collision or uninsured motorist coverage will pay for repairs.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about:

What do I do if I hit a parked car?

Here’s what to do if you hit a parked car: stay put, leave a note, take photos and call your insurer if the damage is bad.

Stay put

If you leave the scene without at least leaving a note for the car’s owner, you might be charged with a hit-and-run. That could result in any of the following penalties:

  • Fines
  • Driver's license or registration suspension
  • Points added to your license
  • Community Service
  • Jail time

Leave a note

If the owner of the parked car isn’t around, leave a note on their windshield. Include on that note your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Insurance information

Take photos

Don’t drive away until you’ve taken a few photos of both your car and the parked car you hit. Make sure the other car’s license plate is visible in at least one of them.

Call your insurance company

Tell your insurer about the accident as soon as you can — even if you don’t intend to file a claim for the damage done to your own car. Giving your insurance provider a heads up will make things easier for everyone down the road.

What do I do if someone hits my parked car?

The steps you take if someone hits your parked car are similar to the ones you take if you hit someone else’s parked car.

Don’t leave the scene

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

Get the other driver’s contact and insurance information

If the driver is still around, ask for their name, address, phone number and insurance information.

You’ll want this information so you can give it to the police and to your own insurance company. Both may need it when 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 witnesses

When you do this, don’t just look for people standing nearby. Ask people living in homes or working in businesses near the scene if they saw what happened, too. Security cameras in the area might 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 car is a good idea for a few reasons:

  • They can question the other driver — if they stuck around — and any witnesses to the accident.
  • They also 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 will help you file a report about the crash, too.

That said, 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

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

Photograph your car and the accident scene

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

Contact your insurer

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

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

If you end up needing to rely on your own coverage, think twice before filing a claim. It’s often a good idea to pay for minor car accidents out of your own pocket. There’s a good chance that will cost you less in the long run, since filing a claim usually leads to increased insurance rates.

How do I file a claim if someone hits my parked car?

How you file a claim after someone hits your parked car depends on whether you know anything about the other driver.

If you didn’t get the other driver’s contact and insurance information, you’ll have to file a claim with your own auto 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 your insurance company.

Whose insurance pays for the damage if someone hits a parked car?

If someone hits your parked car and causes damage, their liability coverage should pay for repairs.

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

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

Will my insurance rates go up if 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 may go up after someone hits your parked car if you file a claim with your own insurer, however — even though you had nothing to do with the accident.

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

What if you hit a parked car? If the other driver files a claim with your provider, your insurance might go up. A lot depends on:

  • The amount of damage you caused.
  • Whether you got a ticket for the accident.
  • Your claims history.

What is parked car insurance?

Parked car insurance is a phrase people use when talking about carrying only comprehensive coverage on a vehicle they’re not going to drive for a while.

People usually consider parked car insurance when they’re planning to park or store a vehicle in a garage for an extended period of time.

It isn’t an actual type of car insurance, though. You don’t buy parked car insurance from an insurance company. In most cases, you just drop your liability coverage — and collision coverage, if you have it — to get it.

Maintaining comprehensive coverage while your car is parked protects it from damage caused by:

  • Animals
  • Fire
  • Storms
  • Vandalism

It also lets you avoid an insurance lapse, which can be costly.

Will parked car insurance help if you hit a parked car or if someone hits your parked car? Unfortunately, it won’t.

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