What to do if the other driver is there
Sometimes, people do the responsible thing and wait for you to come back to your car. If you’re in this situation, take a deep breath. The other driver is probably embarrassed and panicking as much as you are. Plus, they probably had no idea they were that close to hitting your car. Give them some credit – they stayed to fess up!
This can also be one of the best scenarios you could ask for. If they haven’t already, ask them to write down their:
- First and Last Name
- Best contact number
- License plate number
- Insurance company’s name and number
- Auto insurance policy number
Take pictures of the damages immediately. In some states, it may be required to call the police and report the incident if the damages look like they’ll be over a certain amount to repair. Be careful about accepting cash or early settlements from the driver instead of going through insurance. You don’t want to be stuck with a fixed amount of money if a repair shop says the damages cost more to repair than you first thought.
What to do if the other driver isn’t there
Sometimes, a driver may ditch the scene so they don’t have to deal with the fallout. If you don’t see the person that hit you, look for a note with the above information.
If there isn’t a note, you may have to call the police about a hit-and-run case. While the police are on their way, take pictures of the damages. Write down the most accurate account you can detailing the damages, your surroundings, how you parked, when you left your car in the parking lot, and when you returned to find the damages.
It can be helpful to have security footage of the lot to identify the person who hit you. However, the business may only allow police access to the footage. In any case, get a copy of the police report. If your agent or carrier needs information about the car and the driver from the footage, they can get it from the police with that report.
Who pays for the damages?
Now we come to a vital question – your poor car is damaged. So, who’s paying for it?
You could file a claim through the other driver’s insurance
If you have the other driver’s insurance information, the best course of action can be to file a claim through their insurance. That way, you won’t risk raising your insurance premium. Even if they only have the state-required minimum for auto insurance, the required limits of their property damage coverage should be able to cover any minor to semi-major damage.
You could file a claim through your insurance
If going through the other driver’s insurance takes longer than expected, you could file a claim through your car insurance to help the process go more quickly. Beware, though, if you’ve had a fair number of claims in the past. Your premium may still rise even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Additionally, your insurance might only cover the damages to your car if you have collision insurance. It usually isn’t required by your state, but the coverage may have been required by the company that issued your car loan. This is because collision coverage can help you repair your car if something collides with you or vice versa (as opposed to your property damage coverage). Your InsuranceHub agent has probably included collision coverage in your quote and policy, but if you have any doubt, feel free to contact them.
In a hit-and-run or if the other driver isn’t insured, you could use UM/UIM coverage
If the person is driving without insurance or you can’t get a hold of their insurance information (such as in a hit-and-run), you may be able to use uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to take care of your vehicle. UM/UIM coverage can help you cover damages to your car if the other driver in the incident doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage. UM/UIM considers hit-and-run drivers uninsured motorists. Again, if you’re not sure that you have this coverage, feel free to ask your InsuranceHub agent.
The bottom line:
It’s common for cars to be hit in parking lots. If you want to reduce your risk:
- Make sure you’re parked properly
- Don’t park too close to other cars or parking lines
- Be aware of your surroundings and any nearby reckless drivers.
- Review your policy to make sure you have the right coverage to handle this little surprise.
Our experts are here to field any questions you have and walk you though any part of your policy you need. If you need to add coverage or your circumstances have changed, call 770.497.1200 or email your agent directly.
Not a current auto insurance customer? We can fix that. Give us a call today at 770.497.1200.
In the event that someone hits your car, we created an Accident Report Card just in case