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.
If someone hits your parked car, you need to treat the scene as you would a moving accident. Collect the following information, and if available, try to find a witness to see if they can offer any information on the 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. Make sure to get the badge number and name of the police officer assisting your claim.
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.
Contact your insurance company immediately after you notice the damage and collect the necessary information. Your insurance agent will be able to provide you with all the details needed to file a claim.
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.
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.
When you file a claim, the car insurance company responsible will take several steps:
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.
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 to inspect the vehicle where it is parked.
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
· Condition of the car just before the accident
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.
If the vehicle that ran into your parked car can be identified, the other driver's insurance provider on that vehicle will pay for the repairs. Accidents involving stationary objects are covered under property damage liability insurance.
In some cases, if the damage is minimal, you may consider getting quotes from multiple auto repair shops to determine the cost of repairs, and ask if the at-fault party would be willing to pay out of pocket for the repair costs. This may help from the hassle of going through your insurance company and saving you on your premiums. This is not a recommended course of action but can be a reprieve if the damages are minimal, like a small scratch or dent. Be careful as future incidents that may have been related to this accident might not be covered, say if a small dent affects your engine or alignment later on.
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 carrier may step up and pay for repairs, depending on what type of coverage you have.
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.
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.
People sometimes call this “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.
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 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.
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, like someone hitting your parked car, several factors that determine whether your premiums change.
Some states, including California and Oklahoma, have laws against raising the premiums of drivers who file not-at-fault claims.
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.
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.
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.
In the case of a hit-and-run, your claims process will be similar to the above. Make sure to file a police report, and ask around to see if there were any witnesses to the incident. If someone hit your parked car in a parking lot, you may be able to ask store owners in the area if they have any security cameras to get the make and model. Similarly, if your car was parked in a neighborhood when it was hit, you may be able to ask your neighbors if they have doorbell footage of the incident.
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.
If you are injured in your car while it was parked, seek medical care immediately. Always file a claim, because some injuries may appear a few days after the accident occurs, such as bruising and whiplash. If you have the other person's insurance information, you can file under their bodily injury liability.
If you hit a parked car, don't leave the scene. Fleeing the scene of an accident can be considered hit-and-run, and can result in a much larger financial headache compared to filing an insurance claim with your provider. Wait to see if the owner of the other vehicle returns so you can exchange information.
If the other driver is not in their car, leave a note with your information, your insurance company, and an explanation. Make sure you notify your insurance representative so they are aware of the accident report before the other person starts their claims process.
Be sure to check out our article on How an At-Fault Accident Affects Your Insurance to learn more.
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.