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Common insurance situations – How Do You Deal With a Hit and Run?

August 19, 2009

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.

Car Hit in Parking Lot

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.

Related Articles

Common insurance situations – part two

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.

  • Lyris

    if someone stole a car and hits a number of parked cars my car inclueded now do I get my car fixed

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hi Lyris,

    You will need to go through your insurance company and report the accident. The insurance company will set-up a claim to repair the damages.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Have a conversation with your insurance professional to see why they are not covering your damage.
    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You can report the incident to a collision reporting center. Give them the licence plate number of the person who hit you. Once you have the report from the collision reporting center you can discuss it will your insurance professional who will be able to offer you the appropriate advice.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello
    You might be. You will have to prove that you were not there somehow.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You will have to prove that the lot owner damaged you vehicle in order for them to pay to repair your vehicle.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You should report the damage to the police. This is considered a “hit and run”. Your insurance company may pay but you will have to pay your collision deductible.

    Thank you

  • http://www.mybrooklyn.com/ MyBrooklyn

    Dear sir/Madam
    My car was recently involved in hit and run accident. My car was parked when I came back the next morning I saw a pretty significant damage to my car. To my surprise someone left me a note with a description of the car. I hate to say it even having a note that was left by a good decent person still did not helped me…I was even able to locate a car and a driver on my own by per luck apparently they also reside in my area. What should I do. I know many details but even cops refuse to write report. They gave me a civilian form so I can fill out myself …. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am sorry but since you went to the police already, there is not much more you can do.
    Report the damage to your insurance to see if you have coverage.

    Thank you

  • Richard

    My girlfriends car was hit while at work in the parking garage. The car is still on top of her bumper. She has taken pictures and a picture of the license plate. She has been standing out in the parking garage for over an hour. She doesn’t know if the owner of the car works at the hospital, or if they are a patient, but she can’t stand out there all day. The police will not come out because no one was injured and it’s less than $5000 in damage. What should she do? How does she prove it was their fault, and what if she doesn’t see them?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    She should report the incident to her insurance company as well as a collision reporting center. The police should be able to locate the owner of the vehicle by the licence plate.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    First you should get a police report from your neighborhood police station then provide that to your insurance company

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You should report it to your local police and your insurance company. You should be ok with the 2 week delay in reporting.

    thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You should report this as a hit and run to your police department. Then let your insurance company know.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am sorry but I don’t know what else you can do.
    Anyone have a suggestion for Laura?

    Thanks

  • nick

    We have a single row parking and there was a car parked at the back of my car(outside the area) I was backing my car, misjudged and accidentally hit his car. How much I’m reliable for it and does parking at the wrong spot count in this case?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    Most of the time, the driver who is reversing is the driver who is at fault.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You should report to the police as a “hit and run”.
    Check with your insurance company to see if they will cover that.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I am sorry but if you only have liability and you have no information on the vehicle or driver who hit you, you will likely have no coverage for the damage.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    I don’t know what the rules are since I don’t know what province this happened in.

    You would be best to report this to the police department and let your insurance company know. It might be that the other driver didn’t have insurance.

    Thanks

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You are best to discuss it with your local police. it may be that you have to try to collect from small claims court.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello

    You should contact your local police to see what options you may have.

    Thank you

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