Someone Hit My Parked Car: Will My Insurance Go Up?

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Someone Hit My Parked Car: Will My Insurance Go Up?

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If someone runs into a parked car, the driver of the moving car is almost always at fault. Unfortunately, your car insurance premiums may still increase. This guide will explain what steps you can take to maximize your insurance settlement, which types of insurance coverage will pay for damage to a parked car, and the factors that determine whether your auto insurance rates will go up.

What Should You Do If Someone Hits Your Parked Car? 

1. File an Accident Report

Call the non-emergency number for your local police department and tell them you need to report an accident. They will either take a statement over the phone, ask you to fill out an online form, or send an officer to the scene to investigate.

2. Document the Scene

· If the other driver left a note, take pictures of it before removing it from the car. Keep the note in a safe place.

· Take photos of the area that show what the road is like, where your car is parked, and any skid marks, broken glass, or other signs of the accident.

· Examine your car and take close-ups of all damage.

· If there were witnesses, ask for their names, contact information, and descriptions of what they saw.

· Even if you think you will remember, write down the exact location, weather conditions, time, date, and any other details you think may be important.

3. Contact Your Car Insurance Company

If the other driver provided you with their car insurance information, your insurer may communicate with that company on your behalf. If the at-fault driver cannot be identified and you have certain kinds of coverage, your auto insurance may pay for repairs.

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4. Make Emergency Repairs

Wait to make non-urgent repairs until the car has been inspected by the insurance company. However, if a particular repair is needed to prevent further damage to your car, have it taken care of right away. 

Car insurance will not pay for damage caused by negligence. For instance, if you fail to cover a broken window and it rains, insurance is not obligated to pay for any resulting water damage. Be sure to keep any receipts from urgent repairs, as you will need to submit them to the car insurance company to be reimbursed.

What Happens After I File a Claim?

When you file a claim, the car insurance company responsible will take several steps:

Investigation

After listening to your story, a claims adjuster will ask you questions about the details of the incident. They will obtain a copy of the police report and talk with any witnesses and the driver of the other car, if possible. 

Inspection

A claims adjuster will thoroughly assess the damage and estimate the cost of repairs. You may be asked to take the car to the insurer’s inspection station for this assessment. If the car is not drivable, a claims adjuster will come inspect the vehicle where it is parked. 

Valuation

Using tools such as Kelley’s Blue Book, the claims adjuster will decide upon a fair market value for your car, based on:

· make and model

· mileage

· locale

· color

· condition of the car just before the accident

Settlement

If the repair estimate is a certain percentage of the value of your car, the claims adjuster will declare it a total loss. That percentage varies by state and can range from 50% to 100%. If your car is a total loss, the insurer will:

1. Take the vehicle to sell for salvage. In rare cases, they may allow you to keep the car but would then deduct the salvage value from the total settlement.

2. Subtract your deductible, if applicable, from the fair market value.

3. Pay off your lease or loan. If the fair market value for the vehicle is less than what you owe, you will be responsible for the balance.

4. Write you a check for the remainder.

If the vehicle is not a total loss, the claims adjuster will provide a repair estimate. Take the car to your mechanic, even if the adjuster recommends another auto repair shop. If your mechanic accepts the estimate, they can begin repairing your car. If the mechanic feels that the estimate is too low, ask them to contact the claims adjuster. They may be able to negotiate a solution.

Will My Auto Insurance Cover Damage to a Parked Car?

If the vehicle that ran into your parked car can be identified, the insurance on that vehicle will pay for the repairs. Accidents involving stationary objects are covered under property damage liability insurance. 

If the driver of the vehicle is renting or borrowing the car, they may have non-owner auto insurance that will pay for the damage. However, if neither the driver nor the at-fault vehicle is insured, your insurance company may step up and pay for repairs, depending on what type of coverage you have.

Collision Coverage

Yes. If you have collision coverage, it will pay for repairs when the at-fault driver is uninsured. Most collision insurance policies have a deductible, a set amount you pay before the insurer chips in. For example, if your deductible is $1000 and repairs will cost $2500, you would pay $1000 and your insurance would pay the remaining $1500.

Comprehensive Coverage

No. Despite its name, comprehensive auto insurance does not cover collisions. It is designed to protect you in the case of events that are not covered by collision insurance, including vandalism, theft, falling trees, fire, earthquakes, and weather events.

Auto Storage Coverage 

No. People sometimes call it “parked car insurance”, but it does not cover collisions of any sort. One of the stipulations of auto storage coverage is that you keep your car away from other vehicles.

Liability Coverage

No. If your vehicle is in an accident, liability insurance will cover expenses for which you are legally liable: the medical expenses of anyone injured and/or the repair costs of any property that is damaged. It does not, however, cover your medical expenses or damage to your vehicle.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage 

Maybe. Uninsured motorist coverage will pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages if the at-fault driver and vehicle are not insured. For instance, if you were sitting in the parked car at the time of the accident and received injuries, this type of coverage would take care of your hospital bills. 

In some states, uninsured motorist insurance may cover repairs to your vehicle or other property. Check your policy to see what is covered and contact your insurance agent if you have questions.

If the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is not enough to pay for all your medical expenses from the accident, underinsured motorist coverage will step in to help cover the gap.

In some states, underinsured motorist coverage will also cover property damage. If your repair bills come to $6500 and the other driver’s liability coverage only covers $5000, underinsured motorist coverage would pay $1500. You will need to read your policy or talk with your insurer to determine what is covered in your case. 

What If It Was a Hit and Run?

In a hit and run incident, the person responsible for the accident leaves the scene without providing identification. If the driver and vehicle are later discovered, their insurance will pay for the damage. If that driver and vehicle are never located, there are two types of coverage that may take care of your expenses. 

Collision coverage would almost certainly protect you in this situation, paying for repairs or compensating you if the vehicle is a total loss. 

In most states, uninsured motorist coverage will pay for medical expenses from a hit and run. In some states, it will also pay for property damage from a hit and run. In other states, hit and run situations cannot be claimed under uninsured motorist coverage at all. Your insurer will be able to tell you whether your policy covers hit and run incidents.

Will My Premiums Go Up?

When you cause an accident, your auto insurance rates will almost certainly increase. If you file a claim for an accident that was not your fault, there are several factors that determine whether your premiums change. 

Your State

Some states, including California and Oklahoma, have laws against raising the premiums of drivers who file not-at-fault claims. 

Your Insurance Company

In states that do allow rate increases after a not-at-fault claim, insurance agencies differ in how they adjust premiums. Some companies never raise rates after not-at-fault claims, while others almost always do. 

Your Driving History

If you have been involved in several accidents or have a record of numerous traffic violations, you may see an increase in premiums after each incident, even if you were not at fault.

Number of Recent Claims

If you have filed multiple claims on your auto insurance within the last few years, you may find your rates rising with each additional claim.

The Good News

If your car insurance premiums do go up, new rates will not apply until your next renewal date. This may give you time to shop around for a better deal on auto insurance. Even if you decide to stay with the same company, there are ways to keep your rates to a minimum.

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