If someone hit your parked car and left the scene, you want to gather as much evidence as you can to ensure your insurance company can reimburse you. It is unfair that they did not leave a note and clearly a hit and run. Unfortunately, according to popular opinion in some states, it is best to fix slight damage yourself at an autobody shop as notifying your insurance can potentially increase your premiums.
Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left
1. Look for witnesses and cameras
Usually, your first step should be to look for any potential witnesses or nearby security cameras. Ask passersby, shop owners, or residents if they saw any vehicle scraping against your car or recall any cars parked near you. If you were shopping when your car was dented or scratched in the parking lot, there is a chance the store’s security footage might have captured the incident, or the police could liaise with the store’s security team.
2. Call the police
The next step is to call the police’s non-emergency number. In some states, you have to file a police report, even if when the other driver left a written note. The official police report can preserve any evidence discovered at the scene.
3. Record the time and location
Make a note of the time and location of the hit and run accident. Document the damage by taking photos and videos from various angles, including minor scratches or dings that require repair. Even though the chances of identifying the license plate from a low-quality video are slim, determining the car’s size and color could aid in tracking down the driver.
If you have no evidence on video or any witnesses to back you up, take pictures and use the facts of what happened to your car and use the pictures to file a police report. See if you can file a police report online and upload pictures. If not, file in person at your local police station
Once you have filed the police report, print it, make copies, and save the case number. Your police report and the case number are now the evidence you need to present to your insurance company to show that someone hit parked your car and left. And then the police and insurance company will proceed to investigate what they can from there.
4. Notify your insurance company
Your options might be somewhat limited, considering that locating the hit-and-run driver could be challenging. You have the option to file a claim with your insurance company under collision coverage. Alternatively, if you have uninsured motorist property damage coverage, you might be able to claim through it.
Here are steps to take if you choose to claim through insurance instead of receiving payment from the other driver (listed in recommended sequence):
|File a claim with the other driver’s property damage liability coverage.||And, if you are injured, bodily injury liability (provided you have their contact information). If you can afford to cover your own repairs initially, consider submitting a third-party claim for your car’s damage. This method may take longer for reimbursement due to the insurance company’s investigation to determine fault. However, this keeps claim filings off your record, thereby preventing your insurer from raising rates due to the accident (though they may increase rates for other reasons).|
|File a claim with your insurance company’s uninsured motorist property damage (if applicable in your state).||This is a less common coverage, but it enables you to recover damages and repair costs, potentially with a lower deductible if the driver is found and has no insurance. Be aware that your insurance company will require a police report and may conduct an investigation, which will consume time. Even if the accident was not your fault, filing a claim might lead to an increase in your rates.|
|File a claim with the collision component of your auto insurance coverage (if you have it).||This is generally a faster process than the previous two options, but you’re likely to bear the deductible. For example, if your repair costs amount to $1,000 and your deductible is $500, you will “pay” the deductible and receive $500 from your insurer. The deductible is applicable regardless of fault, and your rates may rise upon renewal due to the claim.|
a. Comprehensive coverage
Comprehensive coverage does not cover damage caused by someone hitting your parked car. this can be frustrating if you do not have collision coverage or if your comprehensive deductible is lower. Moreover, it is more frequently used for natural disasters and incidents of theft or vandalism.
b. Coverage for uninsured motorists
This type of insurance coverage comes into play when an uninsured driver is involved in an accident with your vehicle. For instance, a driver who leaves the scene of an accident could be considered ‘uninsured’ under this context. Nonetheless, this coverage only extends to physical injuries. If you were not present in the parked vehicle during the incident and consequently were not injured, this type of coverage would not be applicable.
In many insurance policies, collision coverage is not a mandatory feature. Similarly, not all states require motorists to have uninsured motorist coverage. Therefore, you want to verify with your insurance provider about the nature of your coverage concerning hit-and-run incidents.
Does this Affect My Insurance Rate?
The rate of your insurance after someone hit your parked car and leaves could either rise or fall, as determined by your insurance provider. If you are not at fault, ideally your rate should remain unchanged. However, insurance providers follow their guidelines for rate modifications.
For instance, filing several claims in a brief period could trigger a rate increase, even when you are not responsible. It is common for insurers to cite other reasons for raising your rates if you were not at fault, as they do not have a legitimate ground to hike your rates due to your innocence.
What to Do if Injured in the Process
Suppose you were in your parked vehicle during the accident and sustained injuries. You should reach out to a car accident attorney. A well-versed personal injury lawyer will champion your cause with their comprehensive knowledge of optimizing your compensation. The reassurance of having a competent professional advocating for your best interests allows you to concentrate on your recovery.