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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 149 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.

  • Jeff thinks:

    I had my car parked in a space on a studio lot right in front of a security booth. Someone hit my car and scratched some paint off. The security witnessed it and they held the guy while I got his information. He wanted to go around insurance and pay after getting the estimate. Everything seemed totally fine and we were working it out. We’ve been playing phone tag and he’s been out of work and paying child support etc. so has had trouble getting the money and it’s now been a year and he hasn’t answered me for a couple months. I have voicemails, messages, texts, witnesses and pictures of him admitting guilt, offering to pay me and everything. Is it now too late to use any of that stuff to get him to pay me? What recourse do I have at this point?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Jeff, I think small claims court might be your only recourse now – or you could put a claim under your own collision insurance, and let them try to go after him.

  • Mary thinks:

    So my car was parked on the street and got hit. This person hit a car parked behind me and pushed it over my car, so there was one car on top of the other both were total losts. Now they admit guilt police report done claims done but its been a month and no solution. Since my car is a 92 honda only had liability insurance and my car was towed because it couldnt stay parked on public st. The tow truck has been calling me to pay and take out the car. The other insurance adjuster has not paid the towing nor solve any situation regarding my car. I would think if its a total lost they would now deal with the car and damages. I called her and she says shes only paying some days and i have to pay the rest and that i deal with the car on taking it to a junk. She also told me she wasnt sure if she was going to be able to pay the car and towing because she had a certain limit of money and disnt know if she had enough budget. So what should i do pay the towing and bring out the car? Do they have to pay legally all damages including all the days at the towing place?

  • Oriana thinks:

    Hi question a landscaper hit my car with the weedwacker causing 2779.00 worth if damage he wants to go thru there general contracting insurance. ..does the i surance pay me myself or a body shop…please let me know

  • Crystal thinks:

    Hi okay I was reversing. In my aunts drive way and I got my uncles car a dent and offered to fix it or pay the deductible because my dads car I was front had no insurance my uncle said no he wants insurance so what if he called the next day and said he was in the car he wasn’t even present when the accident happened and only two people were and saw everything what can we do and the name of the owner says another name and it isn’t the guys that has insurance for it

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Mary,
    It sounds like the person who was at-fault may have had very low liability insurance limits. If there’s not enough insurance to pay for all the damages, the insurer might pay a pro-rated percentage of everyone’s damage. Even then, the at-fault person is still legally responsible for the remainder. Of course, you might have to sue them to get the damages paid.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Oriana, you’ll want to ask the landscaper’s claim adjuster about that. They’ll likely pay the body shop directly if you have an agreed figure.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Crystal, that’s one confusing situation! I think you’re going to have to try to work that out between your relatives. The police don’t usually get involved in accidents on private property.

  • Sammy thinks:

    I parked my car on a private property, not driving it because the insurance had expired because I travelled to Africa. When I returned and was about to renew and start using it for my runs, a u haul backed up into it and destroyed the entire front. The police got me the owner of the business number. I called him and he said he was filing a claim. Is there any way they aren’t going to compensate me because my insurance has expired, or they have to pay everything including car that I would rent for all my commute. Am confused here, please help me.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Sammy, it doesn’t matter whether your car was insured or not. The other driver is responsible for repairing the damage, or the value of the vehicle, whichever is less. If the car was registered and insurance is not required in your state, they should pay for the rental, since the car was available for you to use. If it wasn’t “road legal”, they may argue about paying for the rental, since you couldn’t legally drive it.

    When you DO fix the car and insure it, we recommend using a local agent. They can give you the personal advice you need. If our response was helpful, would you mind reviewing our service here? That way, local people who are looking for an agent can see it when they do their research. Thank you!

  • Cesar L thinks:

    Someone hit my 2 month old truck while it was parked outside my home. I called my insurance and theirs so see what the next move was. I want to tow the truck to a shop but the Chevy dealer said to wait for the adjuster to contact me. Does me paying for the GAP insurance help me at all because I’ve heard various things about it.

  • Sean thinks:

    I had my car involved in a hit and run .The man was caught, owned up to it, and gave me his insurance. My question is if his insurance totals my car do I still have to buy it hack from the company or do they just pay for the market value and I get to keep my car?

  • Hunter thinks:

    My car was parked at my neighbor street and someone drove a new car, not used from a dealer (no license plate, but the Dealer logal plate) and hit my car (ball joint broke). My driver side was damaged! They failed to drive off because their car axle broke and person ran off (eye witness on scene). I got the vin# and called my insurance but they weren’t able to get the car identification to my claim. What should I do since my car can’t be driven?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Cesar,
    Gap insurance can vary by insurance company. The basic concept is that it pays the difference between what you vehicle’s market value is and what you owe on the loan or lease. It’s only relevant in the case of a total loss. You should check with your agent to find out how yours works.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Sean,
    If you want to buy your car back from the insurance company, they’ll tell you how to do that. You generally have to pay the salvage value of the vehicle.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Hunter, First, hopefully you had collision coverage on your vehicle. That way your insurance company can work on tracking down the responsible party while your vehicle is being fixed. If not, you’re going to have to do that on your own. Do you know what dealership the car was from? The dealer should have a record of the vehicle being taken for a test drive (again, hopefully they knew about it!). When someone test-drives on a dealer plate, they’re using the dealer’s insurance. That’s who will likely pay for your damage. Good luck!

  • Kristen thinks:

    I parked my car at a Payless parking facility next to an airport in Pennsylvania for vacation. When I returned, there was damage to my rear bumper. I immediately noticed, took pictures, and filed a claim with the company before leaving. Now the company is offering to repair the car, but only through their service provider. I don’t trust Payless to repair the car and would prefer to use my own bodyshop. Are they required to pay me to have it fixed elsewhere?

  • Nematullah thinks:

    Hi,
    A woman hit my car and damage my front and two second she run away . I couldn’t find chance to see her plate number. I call 911 and made police report. I had two withnees just the call module and make and color we told police .can police find her?

  • Rosa thinks:

    I live in a apt complex when a vehicle hit 4 cars and two of them were mine. The men insurance has $10,000 liability, and his insurance says he can’t give rentals because of the rest of the cars so he wants me to settle for $7,000 for both cars and the rest to other people. My two cars are 2014,2004 and the rest of the the others are 1999 and below. What can I do in my position without filling a claim from my insurance.

  • Elsie thinks:

    My car was parked and hit. I was able to get the owners DL and license plate but he did not have his insurance card on him. He stated which company he had a policy with but did not have the card to give me the policy #. Can I call his insurance and file a claim without his policy #? I have everything else like his phone #, address, pictures, etc
    He will not answer my calls now so that I can get his insurance details.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Kristen, you should be able to have your car fixed where you want. If Payless gives you a hard time, submit a claim to your own insurance company. Before committing to that route, make sure they’ll go after Payless so that you get your deductible back.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Nematullah, the chances of the police finding the car by the make and model alone are not good. We hope you had collision insurance on your car, so you can get it repaired. .

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Rosa,
    We’re sorry to hear about your cars. This doesn’t sound like it will end well with the other driver’s insurance company.

    We’re not sure where you are located, but most insurers in Maine do not surcharge you for a claim due to a crash when your car was legally parked. We recommend contacting your insurance agent or company to make sure you can get your car repaired.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Elsie,

    This sounds sketchy. In our experience, the other driver probably doesn’t have valid insurance. But, we might be surprised. You could try to report it to the insurance company he gave you, using his name and address. If you have an agent, they may be able to help you.

    If that fails, we suggest reporting the accident to the police with the information you have. For future reference, we recommend ALWAYS calling the police when you have an accident. They’ll gather information and take statements at the scene, which become a permanent record. It can be inconvenient in the case of a minor accident, but it could save a case of “he said/she said”, or a driver who turns uncooperative like this guy has.

  • Meghan thinks:

    Hi I need some input,
    My car was parked in a parking garage somewhat crooked in a spot and it seems as though the truck next to it hit it causing extensive damage and took off. Though I was crooked can I still file a claim if the parking garage security cameras can make out the license plate and I report it?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Meghan, it’s worth trying. The other driver should have owned up to hitting it. How crooked you were in the space might affect how the police and/or the two insurance companies might assign fault. If you have video showing the whole thing, it may be worth reporting to the police.

  • Monic thinks:

    This guy ran the stop sign and hit my car in 20 mile Lane he doesn’t think that he should pay for my damages he hit my Fender and busted my tire and the front light I called the police and have a report he fixed my car so now he thinks that I should pay him for fixing my car what should I do in a situation

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Monic, if the police report shows that the other driver was at fault, they should pay to fix your car, not the other way around. If he or his insurance company paid to fix your car, that should be the end of the story. You shouldn’t owe anything if he was 100% at fault.

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