It happens all the time! Maybe you were trying to back out of a tight spot; or you didn’t brake soon enough; or you really didn’t see the other car—accidents happen, and when they do, it’s important to know how to deal with them.
If you’ve hit a parked car, you’re not alone. In fact, according to a 2010 study, 69% of hit and run accidents involved a parked car. The best course of action is to take responsibility. Regardless of how minor it might seem, a parking lot accident still counts as a collision—and it is against the law not to report a collision where there is damage exceeding $1,000. Even if there is very little or no visible damage, it’s a good idea to report the accident. You should also leave a note with your name, phone number, driver’s license number and license plate so that the driver of the other vehicle can contact you should there be any issues.
One concern in this situation is that the driver of the parked vehicle could attempt to claim that you caused damage to the vehicle that was actually already there. Here’s how you can avoid becoming a fraud victim…
- Take as many pictures at the scene of the collision as possible. Be sure to get a photo that clearly shows the positioning of both vehicles, and to take photos of any pre-existing damage on the other car.
- If there were any witnesses, ask them for their contact information. Their statements could help ensure that you aren’t deemed at fault for damage you did not cause.
- Tell your insurance company about the accident. You might be tempted to handle the situation privately, but you never know if the other driver is going to try to pull a fast one on you. Having your insurance company there for backup is a good way to deter the other driver from trying to commit fraud.
Pay for the damage
Not only will your insurance company help you avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud, but they’ll also work with you to help pay for any damage. That said, a parking lot accident is no different from any other collision—if you are found at fault and you use your insurance to cover any damage, you can expect your rates to go up.
If you are ever in a situation where you have hit a parked car, don’t panic! Instead, take responsibility, protect yourself and own up to any damage you may have caused. It’s how you deal with the situation that counts.