What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car (2022)

If someone hits your parked car and remains at the scene, treat this as any other car accident, and follow the steps listed below. If the other driver leaves a note, or worse, escapes the scene, search for as much evidence as possible so that you can be reimbursed by your insurance company.

  1. Exchange information
  2. Take photos
  3. File a police report
  1. Notify your insurer
  2. Check for witnesses or security footage

What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car (1)

Fortunately, if you have collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage coverage, you’ll be covered by your car insurance policy.

Read on to learn more about how nuances may apply to your specific situation.

  • Someone hit my parked car and left a note
  • Hit-and-run accident with a parked car
  • You’re injured in your parked car
  • How car insurance will cover you

Someone hit my parked car and left a note

If someone hits your parked car and leaves a note, they would ideally leave their contact information or insurance company’s information.

  • If they don’t identify the insurer on the note, call them for the insurance company’s name.
  • 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.

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(Video) What To Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Vehicle

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 could mean that your insurance won’t cover any future problems from the same accident.

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).

Does Insurance Cover a Crashed Car and Will My Rates Go Up?

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If the repair bill is high, or larger than your deductible, then consider going the insurance route.

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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
  • The collision coverage on your policy
  • The uninsured motorist property damage coverage on your policy (if they lack insurance)

(Video) What To Do When Someone Hits Your Car 🚗💥🚘

Collision vs. Comprehensive Car Insurance

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Hit-and-run accident with my parked car

If someone hit your parked car and left without leaving a note, the first thing to do is check for witnesses or security cameras at the scene.

  • Ask pedestrians, retailers or residents near where your car was stationed if they saw someone side-swiping your car or remember cars parked near you.
  • If your car was dented or scratched in the parking lot while you were shopping, you might 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, 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. You should document even minor paint scratches or dings that can cost money to repair.

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.

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.

A Guide To Filing An Auto Insurance Claim

(Video) Car hit in parking lot, what do you do?

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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 still take care of it out of pocket with the driver.

We recommend you consider filing a claim because some types of injuries, such as whiplash, may not show up until later down the road.

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:

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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).
(Video) SOMEONE HIT MY CAR WHILE I WAS PARKED (CAR CRASH) They Stayed!

File with your insurance company’s uninsured motorist property damage (if you have it in your state).

  • This is a rarer coverage, but it allows you 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 an 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 will likely have to shoulder the deductible.
  • That means if the repairs to your side doors cost $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.

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(Video) What Should You Do if You Hit a Parked Car

FAQs

What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car? ›

What should I do if someone hits my parked car?
  • Don't leave the scene or move your car.
  • Locate the person who hit your car and exchange information (if possible)
  • Take photos and contact the authorities to file a police report.
  • Contact your insurer and file a claim if necessary.

What do you write on a note hit parked car? ›

Your note should include your name, address, phone number and/or email address. Avoid leaving specific insurance information but be sure that the owner of the car has a way to contact you. Leave the note securely under a windshield wiper blade so your information won't blow away.

What do you do if you hit a parked car and no one is around? ›

If you hit a vehicle that was illegally parked, you need to call the police. Use a camera or phone to take photos of the illegally parked vehicle to prove their negligence.

What happens if someone hits your car and drives off? ›

If somebody hits your parked car and drives away without leaving a note, you should call your insurance provider. Even if you don't intend to make a claim, it's important to update your provider about any damage to your car. If you don't, you could end up invalidating your cover.

What happens when you bump into another car? ›

Depending on the state, a hit-and-run may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony punishable by fines, jail time, license points or all of these. If you hit a parked car and leave, a police officer can use witnesses, surveillance footage, your license plate, and other evidence to identify and arrest you.

Can you tell how fast a car was going by the damage? ›

The severity of the damage can tell investigators important information. A minor dent may indicate that a driver was traveling at low speed or that the driver had nearly enough time to finish braking. Severe damage can tell investigators how fast a vehicle may have been traveling or how hard the car was hit.

What happens if you don't call the police after an accident? ›

So if you haven't spoken to the driver of the vehicle, you need to leave your details and report it to the police. If you don't, you could face a fine, points on your licence or a driving ban.

What do you do if someone won't get out of your car? ›

Your proper remedy is to call police. Using physical force puts you in danger of being charged with an assault offense. That is true whether you are in your home, your car or elsewhere...

Who is liable for damage in a car park? ›

Legally, car park operators are only liable for damage or loss that has been caused by the negligence of the company or its staff, and car owners need to be able to prove this.

Can I report an accident after 24 hours? ›

The police need not be called to the scene of such an accident, but it must be reported - by both drivers - at a police station within 24 hours.

How do police investigate a car accident? ›

Crash investigation officers can photograph, video and measure the crash location, at the time of the crash and sometimes later too. They record things like vehicle positions in the crash, skid marks on the road, and damage to objects, such as bollards.

What do you do if your car is damaged while parked? ›

How to report a hit and run of a parked car. If you see a vehicle hit a parked car, try to take as many details as you can. If the collision is serious, then call 101 — the number for non-emergency police issues — to inform the police within 24 hours of the incident.

How much does insurance increase after a claim? ›

If you have claimed on your car insurance, you can expect to pay 20% to 50% more for cover in the future. However, the amount varies depending on who is to blame for the claim, the severity and expense of the accident, and your overall driving record.

How do I prove someone scratched my car? ›

These steps will help you reduce the stress of not knowing what to do if someone hits your car.
  1. Step 1: Check to see if there's a note on your car. ...
  2. Step 2: Look for Witnesses or a CCTV Camera. ...
  3. Step 3: Take Photos of the Damage. ...
  4. Step 4: Contact the Third Party. ...
  5. Step 5: Contact your Insurance Company.
Dec 7, 2016

Which car gets the most damage in an accident? ›

The car behind you will have damage to the front of their vehicle. In most cases, the vehicle in the back is at fault. Because the vehicle behind you failed to comply with Nevada traffic laws when they didn't leave enough stopping distance, they're usually at fault for a rear-end crash.

At what speed does airbags deploy? ›

In most cases, the airbag will come out at a speed of between 100 to 220 miles per hour. At this speed, an airbag can cause significant damage to a person, so it is important to be at least 10 inches away from the airbag when it deploys.

How does insurance determine who's at fault? ›

Insurance company adjusters determine fault in an auto accident after reviewing the police report and other evidence. They may also ask you and the other driver questions about the collision to try to piece together a reliable narrative of what happened.

How long do you have to report a car accident to police? ›

How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident To The Police? If you are in a car accident and need to report it to the police, you should do so within 24 hours of it taking place. You will need to report a car accident you're involved in to the police if you don't provide your details at the time of the accident.

How long do you have to tell insurance about accident? ›

If you're involved in an accident, you must tell your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurers specify that you must inform them within 24 hours of the incident.

Do you have to go through insurance after minor accident? ›

Drivers must have valid insurance which covers you in the event of damage or injury. But when it comes to a minor scratch or prang, motorists may decide it's not worth going through the insurance companies. Instead of claiming through the insurer, the parties could agree to handle the issue privately.

What should you not say to your insurance company after an accident? ›

Even if you know the accident was your fault, don't say sorry or admit guilt at the scene as your insurer might have a clause about it. Exchange details with the other's involved and get in touch with your insurer to report the incident.

Is it possible to hit someone with a car and not know it? ›

California Vehicle Code § 20001- Felony Hit and Run

California Penal Code §20001 applies when a driver leaves the scene of an accident, without leaving identifying information, and someone other than the driver was injured or killed. Penal Code § 20001 can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

Can you get pulled over for driving a damaged car? ›

Although it may not result in a direct fine, driving with a broken, missing or cracked wing-mirror can result in your vehicle being pulled over by the police. They have the right to issue you with a notice which requires repair within the next 14 days and failure to do so can result in further consequences.

Is it OK to leave a note on a car? ›

Required by Law

If you can't find the owner, then you can "leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle ... a written notice giving [your] name and address ... and a statement of the circumstances thereof." So, you've left the note with your name, phone number, address, and license plate number.

What happens if you scratch a car and don't leave a note? ›

It is unlikely that you would go to jail. However, keep in mind that cameras are everywhere and although you are not sure, the eye in the sky is always watching. Don't be surprised if you receive a notice saying that were seen and that you need to pay for the damages. If that happens, call your insurance company.

What to do when you scratched a car? ›

If it's more than a scratch, you should probably file a police report. While most law enforcement won't actually come to the scene physically, they may still take your information for an accident report. You can also find a security guard that patrols the parking lot and have them write up an incident report.

How can you damage a car without leaving evidence? ›

Sodium silicate can be poured through the oil fill and a car must be parked somewhere away from it until the damage has been done. Another way to ruin an engine without leaving any evidence is to put Bleach into the gas tank. Bleach will rust the engine components because it is high in chlorine.

What should you do if you door ding someone? ›

Caught Misbehaving: What to do if you door ding somebody - YouTube

Can you get pulled over for driving a damaged car? ›

Although it may not result in a direct fine, driving with a broken, missing or cracked wing-mirror can result in your vehicle being pulled over by the police. They have the right to issue you with a notice which requires repair within the next 14 days and failure to do so can result in further consequences.

How much does a scratch on a car cost? ›

At a dealer, the cost to remove a car scratch can range from $150 to $1000—double the amount for repairs to the hood or doors. Auto body shop: Most independent auto body shops should fix all scratch levels, offering various repair options for different damage degrees.

Is it possible to hit someone with a car and not know it? ›

California Vehicle Code § 20001- Felony Hit and Run

California Penal Code §20001 applies when a driver leaves the scene of an accident, without leaving identifying information, and someone other than the driver was injured or killed. Penal Code § 20001 can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

How much does it cost to repair scratches on a car? ›

Once a scratch reaches the paint layer, the entire area will need to be sanded, buffed, and repainted, which means even a small paint scratch can be expensive to fix. Scratch Wizard estimates that these types of scratches can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000 or more to repair.

Will my insurance go up if someone scratched my car? ›

It won't affect your auto insurance premiums as much as an accident, especially one where you're at fault. But if the total cost to fix the scratch is not much more than your deductible, it probably isn't worth it to file a claim.

Should I report a scratch on my car? ›

If a scratch or scratches occur because of deliberate defacement or vandalism, making a police report is the first step in the process. Filing an insurance claim is the next step but only if the policy includes comprehensive coverage on the vehicle.

Can you claim for damage in a car park? ›

However, it can be difficult to get compensation for damage to cars parked in private car parks. Legally, car park operators are only liable for damage or loss that has been caused by the negligence of the company or its staff, and car owners need to be able to prove this.

Videos

1. What if My Parked Car Gets Hit? [Personal Injury Attorney]
(Bulluck Law Group)
2. What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car?
(Craig L. Fishman)
3. What to do if you hit a parked car: A guide
(Toyota of Orlando)
4. Hit & Run - Finding Out Who Hit Your Parked Car? (NYC Case Study)
(AutoMarketplace)
5. What To Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car in Florida
(Fetterman & Associates — Personal Injury Lawyers)
6. Someone Hit My Parked Truck Today | What To Do If You're in an Accident
(Trucking From Scratch)

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