With more people working from home, it’s common to leave your car parked only to come back and notice another car has hit it. Don’t let this give you anxiety; these types of accidents are common and, with the right resources, aren’t too complicated to manage. A driver may have hit your vehicle and left a note, or hit and drove away. Both of these situations use similar steps to resolve.
The first step is to remain calm. Finding your vehicle hit after safely leaving it parked can cause most people significant distress. It’s best to collect your thoughts before proceeding to ensure rational and logical decisions.
If the driver is still around, calmly collect their contact information and car insurance policy. You’ll need this information when you report this accident to your insurance company and the police (if you choose to file a report). If the driver isn’t around but left a note, contact them to confirm that you have the correct information. If there isn’t a note or a driver around, glance around for any witnesses. Depending on the area, security cameras may be able to help identify what happened.
Most people may be hesitant to call the police, especially if no one is injured and your vehicle only suffered minor damage. Alerting the police is always a good idea because they can help locate cameras, determine what happened, and document the accident with a police report. Getting a police report is an essential step in getting reimbursed for the damages to your car.
Once the police are alerted, and it’s safe to do so - take detailed notes and pictures of your car. Make sure some of your images are up close and show the damage to your vehicle in detail. Step a few feet back and take pictures from a distance zoomed-out. Make sure you take pictures from different angles. If the other driver is still around, take photos of their license plate and any damage to their vehicle.
The last step is to file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. If you have the other drivers’ insurance information, call them and file a third-party claim. When someone hits your vehicle, their liability insurance should pay for the cost of repairs. If the driver’s insurance does not cover the damage, your uninsured motorist coverage should cover the cost. Uninsured motorist coverage also may cover repair costs if this accident was a hit and run. Some policies have collision coverage that covers the repair cost no matter who is at fault; follow up with your insurance company to see whether collision coverage is included in your policy. Collision coverage typically has a deductible you’re required to pay first.
All accidents are different! Remember to stay calm, breathe, and collect your thoughts before making decisions. Your auto insurance company is there to help you handle all claims in a manner that’s best based on your specific situation and policy coverage. Your policy rates may or may not go up depending on the provider, no matter who is at fault. It may be best to discuss these potential scenarios with your insurance company before they arise so you can be informed. Damage to your vehicle, while it’s parked, does not have to be the end of the world, these tools are excellent guidelines to help manage the situation.