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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 (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 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).
  • 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 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 get on with your life.

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.  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. Technically, your claim against the other insurance company has no effect on your insurance company or your policy. If you bought your Maine car insurance online, you’re probably on your own. Just one more reason to buy insurance from a local agency. 

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There are 187 comments for “What Should I Do When Someone Hit My Parked Car?”
  • Humberto thinks:

    They hit my car while its was parking. The guy give all his info and insurance ,but my problem is why his insurance don’t answer ..

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Larry, if the at-fault party had liability coverage, it should pay for the damage to your daughter’s vehicle. If they didn’t buy high enough liability limits, the collision coverage on a policy that lists that vehicle would pay for the car.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Humberto, hopefully you’ve connected with the other driver’s company by now. Insurance companies usually want to start the process as soon as they can.

  • Darcel Murphy thinks:

    Hi, I have a cleaning business and was parked in a clients driveway . We were in the house cleaning , came out my front bumper was hit tore my license plate off really needs new bumper .. my client hit it.. but started screaming at us and refused to pay us and refused to give us her insurance .. what do I do?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Hi Darcel, It’s always uncomfortable when there’s an adversarial condition with a customer. If you put a claim in on your auto policy, your insurer will pay (less the deductible), but they will likely go after your client’s insurance company for reimbursement. If they collect from your client’s insurer, your insurance company will reimburse your deductible as well.

    Good luck!

  • Steven thinks:

    My car was parked.it got ran into on the drivers side.the car that hit mines turned out to be stolen after almost 2 months the adjustor for my claim calls and says were not at fault because the car was stolen.i have state minimum liability insurance which is no help.what can i do now?just take the loss?or is there a lawyer out there who can help me?.

  • Joann thinks:

    Hi!!! My car was hit this morning in our parking lot.and now I’m responsible for getting my car repaired.this was not my fault and I feel like it is through my insurance…is there anything I can do? Please help

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Hi Steven, it sounds like your car didn’t have collision coverage, which means you would have to pay to fix it, and try to recover from the party that was at fault. In this case, that’s the person driving the stolen car. You should speak with an attorney if you’d like to pursue that. Possibly the local district attorney’s office is pressing charges already, and they could advise you?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Joann,
    Sorry to hear about your car. As you said, this isn’t your fault. It does sound like you purchased collision insurance, so your insurer should pay for repairs (minus your deductible). Most insurance companies won’t surcharge your rates for a not-at-fault claim like this. Talk to your agent about how your insurer will handle it. If you use an independent agent, they represent more than one company. If your insurer isn’t treating you properly, they can help you find another. Good luck!

  • Carry h thinks:

    My son went into a giant eagle and came out and found a guy with a one ton truck had hit his grand am GT so hard it bent frame and moved motor over to passenger side of the car. Now we have paid 2800$ for this car plus have alot of money in updates. The insurance company doesn’t want to even come close to paying what is needed to replace the car. I am really upset but greatfull that my son wasn’t loading his grocery into the car. I want them to pay enough to replace the car.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Carry, yes, thank goodness your son wasn’t in the car! It can be tricky when you’ve just put money into a vehicle. The bottom line is that the insurance company should pay you a fair price to replace the vehicle with one of similar quality. If you have an agent, they may be able to help you, even though you’re working with the other guy’s insurance company.

  • Enrico thinks:

    Hi. My car got hit while parked outside. The door on the drivers side got scrathed and bent. I dont know who hit it. Should i call police to report it or i can go to police station to report it? Thanks

  • Roxanne salas thinks:

    Just got hit a few days ago.. my car is severely damaged in the front.. didn’t realize I had collision and collateral..so I am covered. Do I still need police report?.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Enrico, Sorry about our bad luck. We’re not sure about your area. In Maine, we would suggest calling the police to report, and they will instruct you.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Roxanne, hooray for collision coverage! We suggest reporting the incident to the police even if you’re putting the claim through your insurance. Good luck!

  • Simpn thinks:

    I was parked at a retail car park when my car was struck by an duty police officer who for some reason was unable to park their car between the white lines. Despite the car being repaired at the cost of the police force Insurance company or should I say the tax payer I’ve now incurred an increase of £52 for a non fault claim even though my Insurance company didn’t have anything to claim back? This is also to be on my Insurance at an additional cost for a period of 3 years so could be £156. On duty Sargent at the time of incident advised me I didn’t have to inform my Insurance company but I did anyway so am I penalised for being honest or could My premium of been loaded more for not doing so?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Wow, Simpn! Now there’s a story we haven’t heard before! Unfortunately, our insurance knowledge doesn’t extend to your side of the pond. If you have an agent, perhaps they can go to bat for you.

  • Adrian thinks:

    I was sitting in my truck while in the hotel parking lot, when a speeding car hit the truck next to mine and pushed it into my truck. It damaged my rear bumper, exhaust, the side, and the truck bed is slightly crooked. It can probably be repaired but that’s value gone from my vehicle. What if I want my vehicle replaced?

  • Daisy thinks:

    I parked my car outside my friends house and her mom hit the back of my car when she was leaving. I don’t know if I should just let it slide or get the cops involved. since it’s just a couple scratches

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Daisy…awwwkward! You probably don’t need to involve the police if it’s minor damage. In Maine, the police only respond to accidents with over $1,000 damage. We’re not sure about your area. You can check with your friend’s mom if you want, or, if you can live with the scratches, you can let it go.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Adrian, sorry to hear about your accident. Assuming the speeding car had insurance, and you have their insurance info, their insurance company should pay to have your car fixed. Good luck!

  • tan howard thinks:

    Omg! This was extremely helpful, clear, and very useful! finally a website with news you can actually use. Thanks!

  • Nick thinks:

    I was parking my car.. I stopped and put my car in reverse and started to move into the spot.. Mind you I was already one quarter in when this lady hits the left side of my bumper… When I looked before she was not there so I get a call from her insurance telling me they are holding me responsible…

  • Luis Planas thinks:

    My truck was parked legally, on the road, in front of my residence. Behind my truck was another vehicle parked. The car behind me got hit first and totaled the rear axle. Brand new Audi SUV. Then the same car that hit the Audi my truck. Messed up the the drivers side rear fender and bumper and I found out later that it bent the rear axle differential bearing. Received info from the insured driver but not the other victim of the Audi.Police was at the scene already and just handed me his business card. My ins. co. told me to go ahead and call the drivers ins.co. to make a report. They told me to bring it in which I did although I drove it slow because of the damage. They provided a rental car for a week and then they notified me telling me my truck was fixed. Went to the shop . They gave a warranty on the repairs and drove off the lot . When I got up to 30 mph the truck made a rubbing noise and it felt weird as I drove . I went straight back to the shop and they told me to take to the analyst at another location who over looked, what the problem was. So I took it there and they told me rear axle was bent. I then called repair shop who only repaired the body work,that told me to go there to take it now to a specialist . At this point I’m livid but I kept cool so I went to rear
    axle repair shop . we drove around the block and the repairman said to me that he was surprised I got my truck back like this. I got an estimate for 653.00 called the other shop back and they said now you file another claim and email it with no phone number. The rear axle repair man said my truck could be in hiates for a while without the phone number to confirm. so I told to go ahead fix it, which I paid for. Got it fixed same day picked it up and the rear axle repairman even wrote the invoice saying that due to the accident thats what caused the damage. I called my insurance which is AAA and they told to fax or email the invoice which I did and then they told me to call Geicos claims dept. Its been about 3 months now Geico is telling me that they’re waiting on the victim’s claim and they wern’t sure if the driver’s insurance policy covers everything. I heard from the other victims friend that that she just brought the Audi back because it was leased. My question is. How long is this gonna take. It seems really unfair and I had to spend my own money for it.

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Luis, we agree: you should have been reimbursed by now. Although it’s unusual for a repair garage to not repair everything in one visit, it does happen sometimes. They should have caught the problem on a post-repair test drive.

    If GEICO paid for the initial repair, they should pay for the axle, too. We wonder if the at-fault driver’s policy may not have had enough insurance for GEICO to pay for all of the damage. If that’s the case, you’d have to go against the other driver personally, or make a claim under your AAA policy and let them go after the driver.

  • Patsy thinks:

    My uncle gave me a car friday evening i insured it saturday morning only to wake up sunday morning to my car and the grass somebody hit it its not even drivable i have full coverage should i report it to my insurance company

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Patsy, Sorry to hear about your new car! Thank goodness you had put collision coverage on it right away! Yes, you should definitely report it to your insurer. They will pay for your damage, and if the person who hit your car is known, your insurer may try to collect from them. If they’re successful, you’ll get your deductible back. Good luck Patsy!

  • Dana thinks:

    My car was in an accident and the other persons insurance is going to pay for repairs. Tonight I got off work and my car was hit by somebody in the same corner of my bumper from the other accident. No note was left. How do I still get the insurance company from my first accident to cover the repairs from the original accident ?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Dana, we’re sorry to hear about your double-bad luck! Contact the insurance company from the first accident to let them know. Hopefully, they have already appraised the damage to your car and will pay by that estimate. They’re not responsible for the damage from the second accident, of course. If the damage was in exactly the same parts, the first insurer may have planned to replace those parts anyway. Time for some good luck!

  • Emily thinks:

    At 4am thanksgiving morning my parked car was totaled by a drunk driver on Liberty Ave. I have the accident on security camera but there’s no identifiable info about the car that hit me. I also have no collision coverage as I have never had an accident and the car is 15 years old.

    The police can’t find any useful camera footage to get a plate number and it looks like I’m just out a car and all the money I put into it. Is there any recourse I can take since I don’t know who hit me?

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Emily, sorry for the delay in responding to your post. That’s not like us!

    Unfortunately, if you don’t know who hit the car, and you didn’t have collision coverage, you don’t have any recourse. It’s not uncommon for people to take physical damage coverage off a car that old. But, the downside is that in a situation like this, you’re out the whole value of the vehicle.

    Sorry to be the bearers of bad news!

  • Kate thinks:

    My parked car was involved in a hit and run but we found the car but no driver that she tried to hide but no driver I called the police got a report she came back late in the afternoon and left a note on my car to call her we did we were suppose to meet so I could get her insurance information but she stopped taking our calls but my insurance tricked her when they called she gave up the information she told them she didnt run she parked her car yeah whatever now im dealing with Mercury Insurance. This has got me stressed out my car is totaled I had some body shops come to me to look at it was told insurance will pay me for the value of my car and her liability on her insurance is $10,000 I just want to know what I can get since my car is totaled which was a 2000 Dodge Durango Sport 3rd seat low miles and it has a tow package I just want enough to cover the cost of replacing it. Thanks

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Kate, you’re lucky that you found the driver who hit your car, and that she had insurance. $10,000 property damage coverage is very low, but it’s better than no insurance. You said your truck is totaled. If so, Mercury should pay you the book value for your truck or $10,000, whichever is less. If the book value is higher, you could sue the woman. She is still responsible, whether she has insurance or not.

    This is a good reason to pay attention to your “third number” when you buy liability insurance. You might want to check your own policy, so you don’t end up in a situation where you don’t have enough insurance to pay for damage you might cause. Good luck!

  • Kate thinks:

    I don’t have the kind of money to go out and buy another truck and the value is between 1800 and 3000 all I want is enough to cover my losses so I can replace my truck so if they give me only 1800 and I dont except it will I have to sue the person so I can replace my truck? It has been 2 weeks my family has been without our family vehicle

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Kate, it sounds like $10,000 will be sufficient. The insurance company should pay the book value of your truck, which should be enough to buy a comparable one. Many insurers have access to a database that shows vehicles for sale. They should be able to justify their offer by showing you vehicles in your area for sale for that price.

    If you have a local agent, they can answer questions like these and help you with the process – even if you’re not using your insurance company. If you bought your insurance without an agent, you may be on your own to negotiate.

  • deona coleman thinks:

    my truck was hit about a week ago it was like it was right out of the movies. so it was a lady in a car and another lady in a truck trying to turn before the car got pass so when the truck turned the lady in the car hit her brakes and started sliding the hit both started spinning and the car hit my truck and my truck hit another car. so the lady in the car jump out and start shooting at the lady in the other truck the cops come that had to chase the girl and taz her. so any way the officer said i could get crimes victims im not sure if he said compensation but please i need to know what can i do to get this started i need my truck fixed and she didnt have insurance. i didnt either but my truck was parked. please i need to ask questions or i need to know who to talk too. thanks in advance

  • Noyes Hall & Allen thinks:

    Deona, Wow! That kind of stuff doesn’t happen here in Maine – at least not that we hear about! If neither you nor the driver had insurance, I think your only hope is to file charges and hope the lady who hit you has some assets to pay for your damage. That doesn’t sound likely, though. I’d recommend starting with the police. Good luck!

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