What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car

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If someone hits your parked car and remains at the scene, treat this as any other car accident. Exchange information, take photos, file a police report, and notify your insurer. If they leave a note, or worse, escape the scene, you have to search for evidence. If you have collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage, you’ll be covered by your car insurance policy.

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Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left a Note

Ideally, they would have left their contact information or insurance company’s information. If their insurer isn’t identified on the note, call them to find out who they’re insured with. It’ll also be helpful to look around for witnesses—either people living in the houses near where you were parked, or people working in the shops near the curb to gather more information.

If the damages are small, you might consider getting quotes as soon as possible from several body shops to determine how much repairs would cost, and then seeing if the other driver would be willing to pay cash out of pocket. Ask the auto mechanics if there could be any unforeseen damage (for example, what looks like a small dent on the outside impacted the engine, etc.). However, going this route would mean that any future problems from the same accident won’t be covered by your insurance. But you would avoid paying a deductible and premium increases from filing a claim (which we’ve calculated to be roughly 23% in quotes for our sample driver).

If the repair bill is high, or larger than your deductible, then consider going the insurance route. While the driver may still pay out of pocket, the peace of mind in having the whole car looked at and potential future problems covered under insurance may be better in the long run. You can file with the other driver’s liability insurance, or through the collision coverage on your policy, or through uninsured motorist property damage (if they lack insurance). More below.

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Hit-and-Run Accident With My Parked Car

The first thing to do is to check for witnesses or security cameras on the scene. Ask pedestrians, retailers, or residents near where your car was stationed if they saw someone side-swiping your car, or just remembered cars parked near you. If your car was dented or scratched in the parking lot while you’re shopping, you may be able to get video evidence from the shop, or have the police follow up with the store’s security office. While it’s rare that they’ll be able to make out the license plate from a grainy video, at least finding the size and color of the car can help locate the hit-and-run driver. Next, take photos and videos of the damage from different angles. Even minor paint scratches or dings can cost money to repair, and should be documented.

Your options are slightly more limited because you may not be able to locate the hit-and-run driver. You can file a claim with your insurer under collision (more below). You could try to claim through uninsured motorist property damage coverage if you have it, but your mileage may vary. Progressive implies that the person at fault has to be identified in their glossary, but GEICO’s uninsured motorist property damage covered hit-and-run drivers when we got a quote in Texas.

You’re Injured in Your Car While it's Parked

We’ve covered the main situations for damage to your car above. What if you’re hurt in the parked car? Seek medical care immediately. If the injury is something minor, you can of course still take care of it out of pocket with the driver. However, we’d recommend you consider filing a claim because some types of injuries may not show up until later down the road, such as whiplash. Future medical problems may arise that you can’t foresee on the spot.

If you have the other drivers’ insurance information, you can file under their bodily injury liability. Otherwise, you could file under your personal injury protection, medical payments, or standard health insurance.

How Auto Insurance Covers a Crash Into Your Parked Car

Here’s what you can do if you decide to go with insurance instead of getting cash from the other driver, in our recommended order:

File with the other driver’s property damage liability coverage and, if you're hurt, bodily injury liability (if you get their contact information). If you’re able to cover your own repairs upfront, consider putting in what’s called a third party claim for the damage to your car. The downside is that it’ll take longer to get your money back because the other company will launch an investigation to determine fault. This keeps claims filings off of your record, which then prevents your insurer from raising rates because of the accident (though they may raise rates for other reasons).

File with your insurance company’s uninsured motorist property damage (if you have it in your state). This is a rarer coverage, but it gives you the opportunity to recover damages and repair costs with a potentially lower deductible, if the driver was found and uninsured. Note that your insurer will require a police report, and they may conduct their own investigation which will take time. Even though the accident was not your fault, your rates might still go up after because of the very act of filing a claim.

File a claim with the collision portion of your auto insurance coverage (if you have it). This is usually a faster process than the other two options above, but you—most likely—will have to shoulder the deductible. That means if the repairs to your side doors costs $1,000, and your deductible responsibility was $500, you “pay” the deductible and only get $500 back from your insurer. The deductible gets paid regardless of fault, and your rates may increase upon renewal because you filed a claim.

Note that comprehensive coverage does not cover another car striking your unattended car, which can be frustrating if you don’t have collision or your comprehensive deductible is lower Comprehensive is used more for natural disasters and theft or vandalism.

Reporting Claims at the Top Four Insurers

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