Am I covered by car insurance if I hit a parked car?

It’s been a busy week, and you’re in a real rush getting out of the grocery store. You’ve got to get home because the kids have soccer practice and you need to get them ready. Work ran late, and as a consequence, you’re running late. Anyways, you hop in the car and get going…but then you accidentally hit a parked car. Uh oh. Now there’s a good-sized section of the back of that car that’s smooshed, and your own car…well, there’s a good amount of damage there, too. The question is no longer how late you’re going to be, but this – am I covered by car insurance if I hit someone else’s parked car?

First of all…

It’s probably a good idea to leave the other driver a detailed note with the necessary information if you can’t find the person. That way they can get a hold of you so you can work on getting the damage to their car fixed. If you don’t leave a note after hitting a parked car, that could just lead to way more trouble for you if you end up getting caught. Hit-and-run…not a great plan.

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The damage to the other driver’s car.

If you hit a parked car, your car insurance could help you with repairing the damage to the other driver’s car if you have liability insurance. (And, well, you probably should have liability insurance, as it’s most likely required by your state. Driving without the state-required insurance…not a good idea.)

Liability insurance generally consists of two parts: bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Property damage liability is the coverage that can help you cover the repairs of the other driver’s car if you’re at-fault in an accident. (It also may help you if you happen to crash into other property, for example, a fence.) It can also help you out by covering legal expenses if you get sued.

Anyways, in our hitting a parked car scenario, your property damage liability could help you get the other driver’s car all fixed up. Which is a relief…and hopefully the other driver won’t be too angry, considering that your insurance could help take care of the expenses.

(On another note, bodily injury liability is the coverage that can help you cover expenses like the other driver’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you’re at fault in an accident.)

What about the damage to my car?

Okay, so that’s the other driver’s car. But what about your own car? Maybe you accidentally picked a fight with an SUV and it left some significant damage on your beloved car.

If you have collision coverage as part of your car insurance, that could help you repair the damage to your vehicle. Collision coverage helps cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle if you’re involved in an accident or if you, well, collide with something. It’s a helpful coverage.

Now, you have to consider your car insurance deductible with all of this. (Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a claim – you pay your chunk, the insurance company pays theirs.) If the damage to your car does not exceed your deductible, your collision coverage might not be too much help to you.

If you only have liability insurance for your car, you’d be out of luck when it comes to getting your car repaired. As we explained, bodily injury liability helps cover the other driver’s medical expenses if you’re at fault in an accident. Property damage liability helps cover the repairs to the other driver’s car. But your property damage liability is not going to cover repairs to your car. That’s just not really what it typically does.

Okay, so that’s what could happen if you hit a parked car. Your property damage liability insurance could help with the repairs of the other driver’s car. Collision coverage could help with the repairs to your own vehicle. It’s really important to understand how the different car insurance coverages work – and how they work together to protect you and your bank account.

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