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What Should I Do When Someone Hit My Parked Car?

January 28th, 2011     Noyes Hall & Allen

 

This week alone, two of my friends’ parked cars have been hit by someone else. A responsible person would leave their contact information for the poor victim, but that doesn’t always happen. If you can’t identify who hit your car, you have little recourse but to use your own insurance.  However, if you can identify the other party, this information may be helpful.

Flickr photo by gillicious

Flickr photo by gillicious

What To Do If Someone Hits Your Car?

  • If it’s safe to do so, get the person’s name, address, phone number and insurance company information – BEFORE the police arrive!
  • Call the police if the total damage (both vehicles) appears to be more than $1,000. If there’s visible damage – even minor – it’s probably more than $1,000.
  • Give your statement to the police. Don’t admit any fault to the other driver, or argue about whose fault the accident was.
  • Report the accident to your Maine auto insurance agent.

Should I Use My Insurance or Theirs?

If the accident was clearly the other driver’s fault, try their insurance first.  Using their insurance avoids having to pay your collision deductible, allows you to keep your Maine car insurance discounts, and contains no daily limit on rental coverage. Of course, if  you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you have no choice but to use your own insurance. Your local insurance agent can help you start the process.

Use their insurance if:

  • You got their insurance information at the scene, or can quickly get the police report (many police reports aren’t available for several days).
  • Their insurance company accepts responsibility quickly (within 24 hours after you contact them).
  • You did not buy collision coverage on your own policy.

The Other Company isn’t Responding After the Accident

The other insurance company will not accept responsibility for the accident until they can confirm liability. They do this in one of three ways:

  • Their insured tells them that they were clearly at fault (e.g. hit your parked car, rear-ended you at a stop light).
  • The police report says the other driver was at fault (but remember police reports may not be available for several days).
  • Based upon their discussions with you and with their insured, they determine that their insured was at fault.

If it’s taking too long for the insurance company to accept responsibility, you may want to make a claim on your own policy.  Although you’ll have to pay your collision deductible, and any auto rental expense that might be above the car rental limit you bought on your policy, at least you’ll get your car fixed, and put the accident behind you.

Will I Get My Deductible Back if My Insurance Company Collects from the Other Insurance Company?

Yes. After they collect from the other insurance company (a process called “subrogation”), your insurance company will reimburse your deductible, and wipe the accident off your record.

Who Will Help Me Deal With The Other Insurance Company?

That depends on where you bought your insurance. Technically, your claim against the other insurance company has no effect on your insurance company or your policy. If you bought your car insurance or Maine commercial vehicle insurance from an independent local Maine insurance agent like Noyes Hall & Allen, we will help you report that claim to the other company. If you bought your Maine car insurance online, you’re probably on your own.

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There are 121 comments for “What Should I Do When Someone Hit My Parked Car?”
  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Julie, whether you have insurance or not doesn’t affect the other person’s liability. If they were at fault, their insurance should pay for your damages. Your case is certainly weaker because you parked in a “no parking” zone. It’s hard for us to say without knowing the area. Some “no parking” areas are because it’s not a safe place to park. The road might be narrow, or the lines of sight can be restricted. We really can’t tell in your case.

  • Shawna thinks:

    My car was parked, hit and totaled out. Called their insurance, the car was reported stolen. I lost my car and have to come out of my pocket to purchase another car. What can I do?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Shawna,
    We’re sorry to hear about your car. That’s terrible luck! Unfortunately, the owner isn’t responsible for the damage a thief causes with their car. You could go after the thief for damages, but that doesn’t seem likely to be fruitful. If you didn’t buy collision coverage on your car, we’re afraid you have to pay to replace it. Wish we had better news.

  • Lisa young thinks:

    My car was hit, while I was inside my parked car. The next day I woke up my back was aching with sharpe pain. If I go to the emergency room will I give them the persons at fault information?

  • Shawn Smith thinks:

    My car was parked someone turned too soon and swiped the side of my car the lady gave me all her information do I still have to call the police? Do I even have to let the person or the police know what insurance I have?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Lisa, If you don’t live in a “no fault” state, your auto insurance has Medical Payments coverage, which should pay for your ER visit. We recommend reporting the claim to your insurance company and letting them go after the at-fault party.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Shawn, We suggest reporting the claim to the lady’s insurance company, using the information she gave to you. If she had valid insurance, they should pay to fix your car. In Maine, any accident with more than $1,000 damage should be reported to the police. The law may be different in your area.

  • Laura thinks:

    Hi, any advice for my situation…

    My car was parked all day when at work on a side street. When walking to my car, noticed the car behind me was almost hanging into the alley and super close to my car. Checked my bumper and there was a little damage from what was obvious the car that was there tapping my car. (I took a picture of their plate and the damage on scene… It was lined up perfectly with the screws on her license plate and her car was 0.5-1 inch from my bumper) It is really small, but it was also a brand new car (2 weeks old) and it angered me! I left a note on the other car. I took it to my dealership and the little damaged she caused is actually $350 to fix. The girl called me back and we played phone tag all week, when finally talked to her, she claims she did not hit my car. I have her license plate, first name, and phone number, but nothing else. How do I get her to pay for the damage she obviously caused but claims she didn’t?

  • steve thinks:

    My parked car was backed into by a family friend (on accident) and he has PLPD. His company won’t pay out until he files a claim per their internal policy. My personal policy is their client caused damage so they need to pay for my repairs regardless. I am considering court because it has been 3 weeks and my car is still broken. Any suggestions?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Steve, It sounds like you’ve reported the claim to their insurer, but they have not. Some insurers won’t process a claim on their client’s policy without their permission. Insurance doesn’t change responsibility or legal liability. If the other driver is at fault, they’re responsible for your damage, whether or not they use insurance. They have the right to pay for damages out of pocket instead of using insurance. Of course, you have the right to take legal action if they aren’t forthcoming.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Hi Laura,

    We’re sorry to hear about your new car. It’s frustrating and aggravating when a brand new vehicle gets its first scratch.

    In Maine, the police won’t get involved in any damage less than $1,000. We’re not sure about your area. It’s hard to prove damage in a “he said/she said” situation. You’ve asked her to pay for the damage, and she’s refused, saying she’s not responsible. Honestly, we don’t see much chance that she’d be forced to pay without admitting that she hit your car – even in small claims court.

    If you believe in karma, you can hope that if she’s lying about not hitting your car that she may be on the other end of that situation some day.

  • Arjang thinks:

    Hi there, someone hit and run my bmw when it was parked in legal street spot, she fleet the scene , one good Samaritan took pics, license plate pic enhanced with 6 digits and alphabet, I report it to police, they are working on that, I don’t have collision nor property because I just bought the car few days ago, I had no time to go to insurance for edit my coverage but I do have liability though,
    I had some friends in Dmw they didn’t give me the name or address but we found last digit based on the vehicle discriptuon, I said to cops , they told me that also have possible match, what can be happened here ? If the other person ignore involvement due to borrowing truck to someone or so? What’s is my options ?thanks

  • Jaime thinks:

    Hi I need advice on how to proceed…

    My car was parked outside near where I live. In the morning I discover that my car was hit badly and looted. I find a notification from the police stating they made a police report of the collision. How should I proceed?

  • Gilead thinks:

    Hello, i would like to get your advice on this. I parked my car on the street right in front of my house. Around evening time, i was in my house, when i heard a knock on my door by a lady who told me thats she accidentally hit my car while backing out from the house opposite mine. Well she gave me her name and phone number. Another man was there who witnessed it. The lady told me that she gonna contact her insurance to let them know about the accident. My question are: do i need to contact the police and report it..? Do i need to let my insurance company know about the incident? What are the right steps to follow to ensure that the lady insurance fix my car..? She only damage the driver’s side front door with a dent and scratches. Looking forward for your feedback.

  • Lessa thinks:

    I was comming out the store when a guy backed into my car.I then got in the the car to call 911. He then backed into to the front of my car again. my police report says he hit my car and he admitted it. Even though officer didnt report me in the vehicle.the store has cameras how do i pursue my claim?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Arjang, if the police have identified the person who hit your car, you can see if they captured their insurance information. Then perhaps you can report a claim.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Jaime, if you have collision coverage, report the claim to your insurance company. They’ll payto fix your car (minus the deductible).

    If the police captured the driver’s insurance info, your insurer may recover from them and reimburse your deductible.

    If you didn’t purchase collision coverage, you’ll have to do that on your own.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Gilead,

    As long as the woman reported the accident to her insurer, and gave them your contact info, you shouldn’t need to involve the police or your insurance company.

    The woman’s insurer should contact you within 48 hours after the woman reports it.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Lessa, that sounds like double bad luck! If the police came, and their report puts the other driver at fault, you should have no trouble having their insurer pay to fix your car.

    If you got their insurance info, you can contact their insurer to start the claim. If not, you can report it to your insurer (assuming you bought collision coverage). They can pay to fix your car and try to recover from the other driver’s insurer.

  • Cheryl thinks:

    My boyfriend’s van was parked in front of my house, and a young lady hit and caused damage to his axle. Her insurance had lapsed at the time of the accident. What can he do to get her to pay for damages.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Cheryl, if she had no insurance, the best your boyfriend could do is try to get her to pay the damages “out of pocket”. The odds probably aren’t high. He could sue in small claims court to put the force of law behind the obligation. If your boyfriend had insurance, it may be better just to put the claim in and bite the bullet.

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