Steps to Take After Hitting a Parked Car

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If you hit a parked car, you are not alone. In fact, most hit-and-runs involve a parked car and a good amount of accidents occur in parking lots. And while technically getting into an accident is not a crime, leaving the accident is the crime. So, if you were involved in an accident with a parked car, there are some things you should do.

First, relax.

Again, this type of accident happens to almost everyone. A hit-and-run is considered a major violation. If you’re caught and cited, it will likely affect your driver’s license more than getting in a simple accident and may also impact your insurance rates.

If no one is around, leave a note.

Even if you’re nervous, you should leave a note and make sure to include your name, address, contact number, and explanation of how the accident occurred. Of course, you shouldn’t say too much, like saying you weren’t paying attention when you hit their bumper. Anything left on the note can be used against you later when settling with insurance companies.

Take pictures of the damage.

Make sure to get photos of both cars and the license plate number of the other car. Small “dings” can cost up to $1,000 to repair, so make sure you get photos of any visible damage.

While you’re getting photos, look for any witnesses.

If they agree, get their contact information and either write down or video their description of what happened. Next, you should report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible so they can expedite the claims process. Your property damage liability coverage will cover for the parked car’s damage and after you pay the deductible, your collision coverage will cover the damage done to your car.

What if another driver hits your parked car?

If you saw the accident or the driver waited for you to arrive, the best thing you can do is to not get upset, since it can escalate quickly into an argument. We’re only assuming the other driver likely didn’t mean to hit your car, so they’re probably just as scared as you. Collect their information, including their name, address, contact number, an explanation of the accident, and their insurance company.

You should also check for witnesses and take photos of the damage. It may also be a good idea to call the police, especially if there is any noticeable damage. They can take a report and look for security cameras in the area. Also, witnesses are generally more willing to answer questions from a police officer than you.

If the other person is totally to blame, you will need to notify his or her insurance company. If they are unable to resolve the issue, you’ll need to contact your insurer and inform them to begin the claims process

Also, make sure you don’t let the driver talk you into settling the issue without going through insurance. The person may not follow through and you will not be able to have your insurer pay for the damages when you report the accident weeks later.

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