In the upcoming months, our monthly newsletter will cover various common insurance situations that you, as a driver, may face and how to handle them in the most effective way. To get started, let’s look at a very common scenario: another driver has hit your car in a parking lot, denting your car.
So, you’ve just left the grocery store and you’re heading to the parking lot when you find that someone has hit your car. Upon closer inspection, you see it’s got a pretty nasty dent in it - and there’s no note or guilty driver waiting around to deal with the situation. What do you do? Do you report it to your insurance company? Do you report it to the police? Do you just fix it yourself?
The first thing you should do is ask anyone in the parking lot if they saw who hit your car and if they saw the license plate number. Take their names, phone numbers and the license plate information if they have it. Even if any witnesses didn’t get the license plate number, take down their names and phone numbers anyway.
The next thing you should do is visit a collision reporting center, regardless of the extent of the damage to your vehicle. Provide the representatives there with all the information you’ve gathered, as well as the names and numbers of any witnesses. They will give you a report number. Reporting the damage to the police is very important if you are going to be making a claim.
Some insurance companies require that any “hit and run” damage be reported to the police within 24 hours for the claim to be considered a hit and run and thus a “not at fault” accident. Otherwise the claim may be considered a chargeable loss.
If the driver of the vehicle who hit you is not identified, this claim will be paid out under the collision section of your automobile insurance policy and subject to your deductible. If you have no collision coverage, you may not have any coverage for the damage through your auto insurance policy. This is why speaking to any potential witnesses is important. If the driver who hit your car can be identified, the loss may be paid out under the direct compensation section of your policy, which is typically not subject to a deductible.
Know that if another driver hits your car in a parking lot, and you report the incident to the police and your insurance company, where you are found not at fault, your insurance rates will not increase.
In part two of our series on common insurance situations, we’ll look at the converse of this scenario: if you hit another person’s vehicle in a parking lot.
Our second installment of this series looks at the other side of part one’s situation. You have hit a parked car in a parking lot, but no one else is around. What do you do? Walk away? Leave a note? Do you report it to your insurance company? Do you report it to the police?…read more.