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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 53 comments for “What Should I Do When Someone Hit My Parked Car?”
  • James thinks:

    I was parked the other guy hit me now his insurance is playing around I am not able to drive the truck for work or get to school I got liability insurance and I have bills plus I have paid 200 dollars for rides to school and home from school

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    James, if someone hit your legally parked car, and they had valid insurance, they should pay for damage to your truck. They should also pay reasonable costs for your transportation while your truck is not driveable. Even though you didn’t have collision coverage on your truck, your local insurance agent might be able to help you deal with the other company. We hope you can resolve your issue soon and satisfactorily.

  • JOSE thinks:


  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Jose, it doesn’t matter whether your car was registered or insured. If your car was legally parked and someone hit it, their insurance should pay for it.

  • Angelica thinks:

    My neighbor hit my parked car in the parking lot. I got his insurance information and just waiting for them to tell us what’s going to happen. My neighbor told me he wasn’t going to park next to me and that only lasted a week! He is parking next to me again…the owner said he would fix the problem but they don’t listen to him. What should I do? I’m so stressed about it. The police say they can’t do much since its on private property!

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Angie, sorry to hear about your car being hit. Neighbor issues are always touchy. The police are correct: they don’t have any control about parking on private property. It’s really up to you, your landlord and your neighbor to work out. Once your neighbor’s insurance rates increase after his insurance company pays to fix your car, he may be more careful about parking.

  • giovanni Rodriguez thinks:

    My car was parked on the Richmond CA,two cars were involved in an accident don’t know who was at fault,one car hit the other on the side in an intersection,then as a result the car spins and hits my car in the rear. ,I filed a claim against the insurance of the person who hit the car in the fist place,but they denied my claim because they said there insures did not file any loss against her car.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Giovanni, We’re sorry your car was hit while it was parked. The responsible driver’s insurance (if they had any) should pay for damage to your car, regardless of whether they had collision coverage on their own car. The liability portion of their policy is what pays for damage to your car.

  • kathy thinks:

    my car was parked and i was sitting in it when a landscape truck drove by and took off my mirror with a leaf blower hanging on the side of the truck.
    the driver spit at me and told me he was going to tell the police i was pulling ouT! now his insurance cmpany has said they are not paying because i was pulling out..which i was not! i was sitting there at 11:25 waiting to go into see a client at 11:30.

  • danel thinks:

    Someone backed into my wife’s car. Took it to their Progressive) they estimated about $1000.00 damage. I took it to a body shop my ins co recommended and got an estimate of over $2000.00. Progressive said they could cut me a check if I just wanted the money or I could take it to any body shop and get it fixed and they would cover the whole thing. Why would they not cut me a check for amount of my body shop estmate. Does this sound right?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:


    The “his word against yours” cases are difficult. It’s always a good idea to call the police to an accident scene, because stories can change after the fact. If you have collision coverage on your car, your company could pay you and then go after the landscaper’s insurance company. Depending on the amount of damage, they may determine that it’s not worth pursuing.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Danel, Some people prefer to “take the money” and not repair the damage. If Progressive told you they’d pay for the body shop to fix it, I recommend getting the work done and letting them pay the shop directly. Sometimes, the insurance company can/will negotiate a better price for the same work, which is why they prefer to pay the shop directly. As long as the work is done to your satisfaction, this should work out OK for you.

  • Joseph thinks:

    My car was parked at work. A man running from the police crashed into it. He has no insurance and all I had was liability. I am now without a car. He is ordered to pay restitution but fair market value will not buy me a car. My question is since it was on private property does my employer have to help me out at all.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Joseph, Sorry to hear about your bad luck. Your employer really wasn’t at fault for the damage, any more than you were. We don’t see how they share any responsibility for the damage.

    If the “bad guy” is actually paying the fair market value, that’s what your insurance company would have paid if you had collision coverage. That should be enough to replace your car with a similar one. Do you think the FMV was too low, or are there just no similar vehicles available in your area?

  • jJoe thinks:

    My car was parked on private property. Some guy nailed the back of it and I had to pay for towing and a car rental while it’s being fixed. His insurance company is not reimbursing me. I’m obviously at zero fault, what am I supposed to do?

  • Rae thinks:

    A driver hit one vehicle then hit my vehicle then my vehicle was pushed into another vehicle. All vehicles that was hit was parked.. Will my insurance be liable for The vehicle my vehicle was pushed into.Thanks.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    You should have no liability if your car was parked legally. The driver that hit you is responsible for all the damage from that point on. Another reason to pay attention to your “third number“.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Joe, is the driver’s insurance company paying for the repairs to your car? If so, they should also pay related expenses like towing and rental. Perhaps your insurance agent can make a call to the other company on your behalf. An agent can be your advocate in cases where the other company isn’t responding.

  • robert k thinks:

    My car was parked legally in a parking lot some one hit my bumper smash my rail light screwed amogst other wire and socket damage no cameras no witnesses i came out to no info and a damaged truck what can i do short of pating for everything my self

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Sorry to hear that Robert. Unfortunately if you can’t identify the person or vehicle that hit your car, you’re going to have to either pay for it yourself or put in a claim under the collision coverage of your auto policy.

  • Brooks thinks:

    I hit a parked car and exchanged insurance information. My car was a total loss but only minor damage on their car. My insurance is paying me for the value and I canceled my coverage after the car was totaled. Can the other person still use my insurance given that I was insured when the accident happened?

  • alex thinks:

    the signal was stop,so i waited the go signal but suddenly someone bumped my car and hit the back portion, the owner promise to pay for the damages, but can i request where i want my car to be fix?or just wait for them where they want my car fixed.

  • Sindy thinks:

    Two there was an accident outside my house involving two vehicles on the road. One car crashed into the other and that car hit my parked car and my parked car was pushed back into another parked car. The person who was at fault took responsibility of the accident but his insurance company is telling us that his policy might not cover everyone’s damages and that we might not get anything reimbursed for our rental since our car was not drivable. And they said they are not going to order the police report since they’d have to pay for it and wait up to six weeks. I am very disappointed in geico and am not sure what to do next.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Brooks, if you were insured when the accident happened, your insurance company will pay for damages, even if the policy is later canceled.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Alex, the insurance adjuster for the company should have that answer for you. In Maine, you are allowed to take your car wherever you want. I’m not sure about other states.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Sindy, The police report may not be needed if the at-fault driver and their insurance company have accepted responsibility.

    Once they do, they should pay for your damage, including renting a replacement vehicle while yours is not driveable. It’s possible that the person didn’t have enough property damage liability insurance to pay for all the damage they caused. Once the policy limit is reached, the insurance company is no longer responsible, but the driver still is. That’s why it’s so important to choose adequate liability insurance limits.

  • anacleto thinks:

    i do have just liability insurance had my car legally parked outside my house and the insurance of the girl that hit my car dont want to pay me because the police report said that the fault was in another vehicle the other vehicle insurance dont want to pay because the driver was not included what i can do i do

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Anacleto, since you didn’t buy collision coverage, your insurance company won’t be able to pay you or go after the responsible party. If the person who owns the car that caused the damage wasn’t the driver, damage would still usually be covered as long as the driver had the owner’s permission. Some insurance policies might have different wording. If you don’t have an agent to help you, and the responsible party’s insurance company isn’t giving you a satisfactory answer, you might contact your state’s insurance department.

    If this answer has been helpful to you, perhaps you’d do us the favor of a positive review? Potential customers rely on reviews these days. If you’re willing to review us, it would help others to find us when searching for a local agent.

  • Wendy thinks:

    My car was hit I do not know when or where, it has a small dent in the back passanger panel, and a long deep scratch, with some scuff marks around the bumper. I did NOT notice it until today. I am trying to re-track my steps for the last few days, and the only conclusion I can come up with it must of happened when I was last a the store. I don’t know what to do, I want to put a claim into my insurance, but I am afraid my rates will go up and be on my record as it was my fault. If that is the case, I do not want to have my rates go up and my record marked for something I did not do or caused, but at the same time, I have only had my car for only 7 months, and want it fixed. Will it be considered my fault? Will my rates go up? What should I do?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Wendy, your local agent should be able to answer this question for you. The answer may depend upon which insurance company you have, how much the damage is, and what your driving/claim record looks like otherwise. This is a classic example of when a local agent’s advice is priceless!

  • Radek thinks:

    I had my vehicle parked at a friend’s house in her driveway. Keep in mind my vehicle was parked in her driveway on private property. I went there because her ex boyfriend was threatening to kill her and she asked me to come over so I did. The following morning her ex boyfriend decided to come over and before he left he decided to smash into the back of my car and do $7000+ in damage. I am a Washington State resident and in the state of Washington I can’t go after my insurance for diminished value. I had a brand new car that was hit. Can I go after her homeowners insurance to pay for damages or at least go after her homeowners insurance for the diminished value and my deductible? The person that hit my car didn’t have insurance and he was arrested for Felony Malicious Mischief DV first degree. Also my insurance is trying to say that it is considered an accident and not a comprehensive claim. How is it considered a collision and not a comprehensive claim when my vehicle was parked and I was in the house?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Radek, that’s a most unfortunate situation! When someone hits your car and has no assets or insurance, your only option is to use your own auto insurance policy. If the person was convicted of a crime, they may be forced to pay restitution, but this can take a long time to collect, if ever.

    Your friend’s homeowners policy probably won’t help: she would have to be legally liable for the damage to your car. It wasn’t her fault that the ex-boyfriend slammed into your car. Your accident IS considered a collision claim. Almost any moving object – and certainly any vehicle – that strikes your vehicle is considered collision.

    The good news is that it sounds like you DO have collision coverage, which should pay the cost to repair your car. Good luck!

  • matt thinks:

    Hello. I spent hours replacing my bumper and fixing my bumper cover. Less than three hours later I went outside and someone had backed into my truck. They didn’t leave any info just left. I have liability but I have uninsured under insured motorist coverage. However my insurance is refusing to pay unless I can find the other person, how should I proceed? In the meanwhile I have put up a flyer asking for info and offering a reward. Distraught in Rhode Island

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Matt – people can be cold, can’t they? In Maine, you need to have collision coverage for the insurance company to repair your car. Uninsured/underinsured Motorist is only a bodily injury coverage in Maine. I know some states feature UM coverage for Property Damage as well. My understanding is that UMPD covers damage to your car by an uninsured driver, but not a hit-and-run. I think that’s why your insurance company is saying you need to find the culprit. If they had no insurance, your UMPD might pay.

    You might want to check into collision coverage for the truck. It might be more affordable than you think, especially if you choose a higher deductible.

  • John Doe thinks:

    My car was parked outside my girlfriends job. Her jobs company vehicle hit my car and does not want to give me their information of their insurance. What steps can I take to resolve this??

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Awkward! It might strain your girlfriend’s relationship with her employer, but they really should pay for damage they caused to your car. If they don’t respond to your request, you could always ask the police if they might help. Even just a phone call from the cops can shake loose some information. If you don’t want to push the issue, and bought collision coverage, you could put a claim in under your policy and let your insurance company do the dirty work. You would have to pay your collision deductible until they collected back from the at-fault driver or their insurance company.

  • Jesus thinks:

    I hit a car when i was parking but i only scraped it and it didnt dent she didn’t report it we just trade #s do I still have to pay even tho she didn’t report it.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Jesus, you would still be responsible for damage you caused even if it wasn’t reported to police. If you have liability insurance, they will pay for it if you report it to them. You can also choose to pay for the damage yourself without involving the insurance company. Just a warning: even a little scratch can be more expensive than you think. Almost any repair job costs more than $1,000.

  • Shirin Cooks thinks:

    My mom’s car was hit overnight while parked, we didn’t know what happened. No one left a note or anything. Two weeks later she gets a call from her insurance company (geico) saying they’d like to inspect the car for damages from the accident. Apparently two cars were involved in a Collison and hit my mother’s car also. All three cars are insured with geico, no police report but both drivers reported it to geico. My mom has Collison coverage, geico says of course my mom isn’t at fault, total damages are around $1700,my question is does she have to pay a deductible?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Shirin, your mom’s a lucky woman in an unlucky situation.

    Because her insurance company insured all 3 cars involved, they should be able to identify the at-fault party. Many people aren’t so lucky: they just come out in the morning to damage and never know who caused it.

    Your mom shouldn’t have to pay her deductible. The insurance company should charge all damages against the at-fault party’s insurance – from dollar one. If she needs a rental car while hers is in the shop being repaired, she should also be able to get that and charge it to the at-fault party’s policy.

  • Patty thinks:

    I was parked near a driveway and the guy who hit my car is blaming be because I was parked” too close” to his drive way. I parked close to his drive way but no where near in blocking his driveway. I have pictures, but is that enough to validate it wasn’t my fault?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Patty, this is probably going to be an argument between your insurance company and the other guy’s. If you have collision coverage, I suggest reporting it to you company, since the other guy isn’t readily admitting fault.

    You were smart to take pictures at the scene. It’s hard to say whether you’ll be judged to have parked too close to his driveway. You might check with your city or town to see what the allowable distance is for parking from a driveway. If you were beyond that, you can point that out to the other guy’s insurance company.

    Good luck!

  • Mesha thinks:

    My car was parked outside my apartment when this girl hit my car and fled. A witness saw it and informed me. I tracked down her car got her tag number and gave it to the officer doing my accident report.. He found the vehicle and traced evidence off it and informed me that vehicle hit my car. Now I don’t kno what to do because I paid 200$ out of pocket and my insurance paid 1,006$ and to addn rental for 11 days. The officer tells me that if convicted she will get a misdemeanor. What can I do to get her insurance information or for her to refund me and my insurance company. I dont kno what to do.. Any advice

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Mesha, if the police gave you the other driver’s information or the accident report number, pass it along to your insurance company. If the other driver had insurance, they may try to collect from her insurance company. If your insurance company collects, they’ll reimburse your $200 deductible. Good luck!

  • Desiree thinks:

    My boyfriends car and 3 other cars were hit in front of our house at 3:00 am by our neighbor. She told the police when they arrived that her vehicle was stolen, the weird thing is she was going towards her house and not away from her house, the insurance company is claiming they may not accept liability and we have not heard back from the insurance company for over a month now. What should my next step be?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Desiree, fortunately, we don’t see many car thefts here in Maine. Normally, the person whose car is stolen isn’t liable for damage that the thief causes while driving it. That’s why the other insurance company is not accepting liability. Hopefully your boyfriend purchased collision coverage on his car. If he did, he should report the claim to his insurance company.

  • Jackie thinks:

    My car was hit in my employers parking lot while I was working the girl that hit me did stay and called police they responded as well as the security officers of my employer, I filled a claim with her insurance company and they set me up with a rental car however after they decided to declare it totaled.They told me I had to return the rental car. Now I have no wheels to get to work and have to wait on them to send me a check in the mail. I’m the victim and out a car with no cash for my loss and soon to be fired.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Jackie, that doesn’t sound right. Insurance companies we work with would pay for the rental until you had the check – and sometimes for a day or two after to allow you time to find another vehicle. I’d appeal to the adjuster and ask to speak with their supervisor if you don’t get satisfaction.

  • luke thinks:

    I Have liability and some girl was coming down the street and hit the car behind me into my bumper I don’t know what to do

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Luke, if you have “liability only” insurance, you’re going to have to go against the driver who was at-fault. Hopefully you got her info at the scene. If so, her insurance company should pay for your damage as well as the car that was between hers and yours.

  • luke thinks:

    Thank you I only got her phone number

  • Ramona thinks:

    My daughters car was parked on the street in front of our house when a drunk driver hit it and totaled it. Cops were on scene and took him to jail but he has no insurance. Our insurance kicked in but it isn’t compensating very much especially after our $500.00 deductible is taken out. I believe our insurance will go after him but we are still out a car and the money that we are getting doesn’t cover any car that we have found in the area that is in approx the same condition. I am so frustrated. Is there anything I can do?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Ramona, We’re sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your claim.

    If you purchased your insurance from an agent, ask them for help. You bought collision coverage, which should pay you the fair market value of your car (less your deductible). If you can’t buy a comparable car with like mileage and condition at that price, your agent can work with the adjuster to show you where their numbers come from, or adjust your settlement.

    Good luck!

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