Someone hit my parked car. What do I do?
Last updated: October 2023
If someone hits your parked car, the first thing you should do is call the police so they can investigate and create an accident report. You'll also want to notify your insurance provider to start the claims process, as your auto insurance may help cover the damage to your vehicle if your policy includes collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage.
Steps to take at the scene
There are three basic steps you'll want to take after you discover someone has hit your parked car:
- Call the police
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), an officer will document the incident and create an official accident report, which you will typically need to have when filing your claim with your insurance company. Be sure to ask for a copy of the accident report and the name and badge number of the officer assisting you.
- Document the accident
The III recommends gathering as much information about the accident and damage as possible. This should include the location, general time of day and the weather conditions. If it is safe to do so, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners suggests taking pictures of damage to your vehicle, landmarks or signage that identify the location and any other damage at the scene, such as debris or tire marks.
- Notify your insurer
Contact your insurer as soon as possible after the accident, as it will be easier to remember the related details, says the III. Your insurance provider will let you know what information is required to file the claim and what to expect during the claims process. Some insurance companies may also offer applications that allow you to file a claim and upload any photos of the damage through it. Talk to your insurance provider to see what's available where you live. And, keep in mind that if you were driving a company vehicle, you'll likely need to contact your business's insurance company.
If the driver who hit your parked car left a note, you should share the information they provided with both the police and your insurer. Typically, your insurance company will work with the other driver's insurer to settle the claim appropriately.
If the driver who hit your parked car is not at the scene and did not leave any contact information, the incident may be classified as a hit-and-run. If you are involved in a hit-and-run car accident, your insurance company may consider the fleeing driver as uninsured.
Some states have different penalties for hit-and-run offenders depending on whether the accident resulted in physical injuries, vehicle damage or both. For example, Nolo.com says many states only consider a hit-and-run accident a felony when someone was seriously injured. However, some states may consider a hit-and-run accident a felony if a vehicle sustained significant damage, regardless of injuries.
Will insurance pay if someone hits my parked car?
Depending on your policy's coverages, your insurance may help with the costs of repairing the damage to your parked car. If you purchased the following coverages, they may offer some protection if someone hits your car while it's parked:
- Collision coverage typically helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it's hit by another vehicle (or if you hit another vehicle or object), regardless of who is at fault. Even if you cannot find the other driver, you may be able to file a claim under your own auto insurance policy's collision coverage.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage may help pay for repairs if your car is damaged by a driver who is uninsured or who fled the scene of the accident. Keep in mind that this is typically an optional coverage, however, and it is not available in every state.
With both collision and uninsured motorist property damage coverage, you may be responsible for paying a deductible before your insurance provider will help pay for the damage. Your coverage will also be subject to your policy limits, which is the maximum amount your insurance will pay for a covered claim.