What do I do if I hit someone’s parked car?

What do you do if you hit someone's parked car?

Even the best and most experienced drivers may hit a parked car in their driving career. You may think, “How could someone possibly hit something that’s not moving?” But it’s more common than you think. In fact, a study showed that around 69 percent of hit-and-run accidents happened to parked cars. But how can you be the responsible party if you’ve made this small oopsie? Let’s take a look.

What if I hit a parked car?

You may be thinking, “I don’t want to get into trouble. I don’t want my insurance premiums to go up. It’s just a small scuff, maybe they won’t notice?” Firstly, if you’ve noticed damage to the other vehicle, chances are, the other driver will notice too. And if you’re found responsible in a hit-and-run case, you’re going to have a lot more trouble with the law than if you just owned up to a simple mistake. Therefore, the best way to handle this situation is as follows:

1. Stop your car and put your hazards on.

If you noticed that you hit a car, stop your car immediately in that spot and put your hazards on. This will give you and anyone around a point of reference for where and how your car hit the other vehicle.

2. Take a moment and breathe.

Everything will be okay. Like we said, hitting a parked car is more common than you think. You’re not the first or the last person it will happen to. The most important thing to do in this situation is to remain calm.

3. Search for the driver of the car.

If you have a pretty good idea of where the driver might be (in a nearby shop or restaurant) or if you can wait, wait until the driver of the car returns and calmly explain what happened. It’s better to exchange information in person.

4. If you can’t find them, leave a detailed note.

Everyone’s afraid to leave a note if they hit another car. However, not doing this can be one of the WORST things you can do in this situation. If you can’t find the other driver or if you’re in a rush, leave a detailed note about the incident and include your:

  • First and Last name
  • Best contact number
  • The name of your insurer
  • The best phone number for your insurance company
  • Your car insurance policy number

Be careful about sharing more information than that with the other driver. Someone could use it to steal your identity or wrongfully report you. Some states require you to leave more information, but the other driver’s insurance company can contact you using the contact number you left if they do need it.

5. Note any details about the incident.

If you have time, record as much detail of the incident as possible. Write down things that may have caused you to hit the other vehicle. Things like burned out streetlights, improper parking lot lighting, or a poorly parked car can all be legal explanations as to why you may have hit the vehicle. If possible, take photos and video of both your car and the other car from multiple angles. If you’ve stopped your car in the position it was in when you hit the other vehicle, the footage can help others clearly see what happened instead of having to take your word.

6. Call the police’s non-emergency line.

Usually, you’ll want to call the police if there’s any type of damage to the parked car. However, if the damage is minor, you may be able to ask a non-emergency operator if police are needed at the scene. However, if the damage done is more than a scuff, you’ll probably need the police to come out.

7. Call your insurance company.

As soon as you have a record of the event and you’ve called the authorities (if needed), call your insurance company to tell them what happened. They can explain the next steps and additional information that they’ll need to start processing the claim.

They’ll also tell you if you have the right coverage to cover damages to the other driver’s vehicle and to yours (which are not the same thing). If you have Georgia’s state-required amount of insurance, you’ll probably have enough property damage coverage to take care of the damages to the other car. However, your insurance could only help cover the costs of repairing your car if you have collision coverage – which is not required by the state.

You never quite know if you’re getting the best rates and car insurance coverage unless you shop around. However, our agents know that this process can be stressful and time-consuming. That’s why we’re here to take on the task for you. We’ll give you free, customized quotes on the coverage you need to handle almost any situation that comes your car’s way. So, make sure you’re not missing out on great rates! Call us today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today to start getting free quotes on the car insurance you need.