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.
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 (e.g. you were legally parked), 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 own 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 must confirm liability before they accept responsibility to fix your car. They do this in one of three ways:
- Their customer admits to 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 (police reports may not be available for several days).
- After their own investigation, the insurance company determines that their customer was at fault.
If it’s taking too long for the insurance company to accept responsibility, you may choose to make a claim on your own policy. You’ll have to pay your collision deductible, but at least you’ll get your car fixed, and get on with your life.
Will I Get My Deductible Back if My Insurance Company Collects from the Other Insurance Company?
Yes. if 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. If you bought your car insurance or Maine commercial vehicle insurance from an independent local Maine insurance agent like Noyes Hall & Allen, they can help you report that claim to the other company. Your claim against the other insurance company should not affect your insurance company or your policy.
If you bought your Maine car insurance online, you’re probably on your own. One more reason to buy insurance from a local agency instead of a computer or 800 number.
Of course, if you have no insurance at all on your vehicle, you’re really on your own.