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What You Should do After Hitting a Parked Car

Hitting a Parked Car

Panic sets in after the collision rather than before when the car you collide with is parked. The damage is done, and where does that leave you as the driver at fault? Being responsible for the damages isn’t what will make you look like the bad guy in this situation; it’s fleeing the scene.

In fact, most hit-and-runs take place in parking lots. In this post, we’ll cover what you should do (the etiquette, in other words) when you’ve hit a parked car.

After Hitting a Parked Car, Remain Calm And Follow These Steps

Remain in The Parking Lot

It is not illegal to hit a parked automobile, but fleeing the scene of an accident is against the law in every state and may be considered a hit-and-run.

Depending on the circumstances, you might be charged with a misdemeanor or face significant penalties. In certain jurisdictions, if you hit a stationary vehicle and flee the scene, you may be sentenced to time in jail, ordered to do community service, and have your license and/or registration suspended.

In some states, hit-and-run convictions can incur a six-point penalty on your driving record. It might also prevent you from obtaining a job. If you’re driving a prestige automobile, other drivers may be hesitant to engage you if you have a lot of cash. Because they are concerned about being sued, they will usually yield.

Look for the owner after an accident and leave a note on his or her windshield with your contact information. There also is a good chance someone or a security camera saw your collision, so you don’t want to test your luck. Hit and runs can only result in more penalties. What’s more, your insurance rates are sure to skyrocket.

Leave a Note on The Car

No one usually wants to wait around for the owner of the parked car to return to their vehicle. They might be parked for the day and won’t be out until their work shift ends. If they are around, then you can immediately start exchanging information.

If the former is the case, then you can leave a note with your contact information. This note doesn’t need to include any sensitive information. Just your name, phone number, address, and an explanation for the damage you caused.

If the car you were driving belongs to another person, then you need to include their information on the note too. In your description, you want to keep it short, concise, and honest without exposing anything that can be used against you. Lastly, put the note out in the open like under a windshield wiper.

Document it With Photos

You can use your phone to take pictures of both cars, documenting all the damages from the collision. Some pictures should have the license plates in plain sight.

See if There Were Any Witnesses

Your insurance company will appreciate you finding witnesses when you hit a parked car. It helps to get their unbiased account of the accident.

Contact Your Insurer

Your insurance provider should be contacted as soon as possible. The claims process will be much easier for them. Your general liability insurance should cover the property damage.

It’s unlikely you’ll have to use your personal injury coverage if the driver of the other car wasn’t present. Since you were at fault, your insurance rates may increase. This is especially the case if this accident resulted in a citation, you’ve made claims in the recent past, or if this claim is for a big payout.

In that event, rates can increase up to 40%. The cost of the repairs will depend on the extent of the damage, so you can choose whether to file a claim based on if you can pay it out of pocket or afford the extra premiums. Keep in mind that too many filed claims can result in a cancellation of your policy.

What if it’s Your Car That Was Hit While Parked?

Get Information About The Driver That Hit Your Car

Let’s assume that the driver that hit you is still there. If they left a note, then you can reach out to them and discuss insurance matters to resolve it. Remember to not be angry or overly confrontational. Keep your cool as if you were responsible.

In addition to their contact information, you should request their insurance information like their provider and policy number.

See if There Were Any Witnesses

Take the same approach with potential witnesses as previously discussed. An unbiased account can go a long way for insurance providers. Their contact information should be gathered along with their testimony. Also, check the surveillance camera if the parking lot has some.

Document it With Photos

Once again, take pictures of the damage and license plates of the cars involved in the collision. Since the other driver at fault’s liability insurance will cover it, you want to document every bit of damage for a fair payout.

Contact The Police

While the other driver contacts their insurance company, you should contact the police so that they can file a report. This is usually required. They can also help you access the parking lot’s security footage.

Contact Your Insurer

You should contact your insurer if the other driver is either underinsured or uninsured. They can then get a claim started. If you have collision coverage, it can be used to cover the damages since the driver at fault is unable to.

If this non-fault claim is your first claim in a while, then your premiums may not change. This more so depends on the practices of your insurance provider.

Again, always contact your insurer even if the accident seems minor. They won’t be able to take your claim weeks after the original incident. Hitting a parked car is something you want to be resolved quickly.

Even if you have a less than favorable driving record, Insurance Navy can help you find affordable auto insurance. Get cheap SR22 insurance online or call us at 888-949-6289.

Updated: December 2023

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