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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.

If you end up fixing the car yourself, check out this do it yourself dent kit. And if you can’t be bothered to fix your car, why not add some laughter to your day.

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.

You can’t control what another driver does, but you can control how much you pay for your car insurance. Ensure that you’re always paying the best rate by comparing quotes at InsuranceHotline.com.

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

  • Linda

    Hi In June someone hit my car which was parked on the street. The person left a note “Sorry” along with a phone number. I called, found out it was her son that was driving the car. She asked if I would get an estimate and she would pay. Going thru divorce and moving I did not get an estimate for 5 months. She still agreed to pay but when I went to her autobody place she had decided not to pay, At the time of the accident I did not report it to police. until today because I was trying to be the nice guy The police said it doesnt pay to be the nice guy and he could not take a report He gave me a form to fill out, My insurance co says my insurance will go up if i report the accident. I wasnt even there. I was working Why should this come back on me? Can I take her to small claims court Her son is the one who left the scene of the accident without calling the police. i live in NJ What should my next step be?

  • SmittyT21

    Hi, I live in Massachusetts and I do have FULL coverage on my car as it is state law due to it being financed and I was hit in a restaurant parking lot and unfortunately no note, no witnesses, and of course no security cameras outside! My drivers side headlight is pretty scrapped up, fender is pretty dented and bumper is cracked… what should I do and is my insurance company going to charge me now?

  • Cameron

    Hello, my fiancée and I are from Montana, flathead valley region, and a delivery truck of some type hit her car and tore the driver side mirror clean off. We filed a hit & run report, and now the insurance company claims she isn’t covered even though she changed the coverage when we got our apartment to cover streetside parking damages because of how bad the roads get in the winter. We are needless to say very frustrated right now and i don’t know what we can do.. Any advice?

  • Carla

    Hi i live in texas and i went into walmart (no car had been parked next to me at the time i went in) for about 10 minutes and when i got outside there was a white car fairly close to me and when i proceeded to opening the door i realized there was a long white scratch the height of the car parked next to me. I politley knocked on the window to talk to the driver and asked if there had been anyone there befor her and she said no. So i againg politley asked her if she had been the one to cause the damage and proceeded to yell at me and say she just got there and no one was there before her. As i looked at her vehicle i saw she had also a scratch on her front side that faced me. She had a kid in the car, although she still cursed ALOT i did not call the police and no witnesses to talk to but i did get her plate number, what do i do now???

  • Natt

    Hi, I live in Ontario…. Today while I was at work I came outside to get something from my car parked in front only to notice that the front bumper was scratched, I checked the cameras at work to see if any of them could see what had happened to my car but I can only get the footage tomorrow when my boss comes in … Long story short what do i do ? Should I go to the collision reporting station ? Should I wait to get the footage and than go… If the footage shows the person swiping my car will I be able to contact there insurance ?

  • Karsten

    Hello, my 2015 Chevy crude was hit today in a back parking lot at tea garden and left a big dent in my front bumper. No notes on car or anything. Do my insurance rates and premiums go up or does my insurance pay this repair and that’s it?

  • omar h

    hello, i hit someones car in a parking lot but i did not have insurance then. so he took a picture of my driver licence and i took a picture of his. the i agreed to pay what he asked for.
    after several days he said that he wants more money but it was only scratches and i dont have what he asked for. so i told i am not going to pay more than what we agreed. now he wants to claim hit and run, can he?

  • Laurie

    Hi . My car was parked on the street were I live . And in the morning i notice that my was hit on the left side rear bumper . (Someone was going back to park and hit it . ) no note nothing . I look back at the car that was parked . Notice there is a hit whit a white color of my car on hes right front bumper ! . Now I am certain 90 % is him but dont have witness . So i took picture of the accident and hes plate number . But dont know what to do ? Make a report ? Claim it ? Pls help . Thx

  • Leo

    Hi, my car was backing in the parking lot and I saw the other car suddenly back out. So I stopped my car but the other car did not stop and hit the end of my car. How should I deal with it? and should it be the other driver’s fault? How could I prove it to the insurance company?

  • Tyler

    Hi I was passing a car and then once I was almost past it started to speed up and then I was out of the passing zone and a car was headed straight towards mine that came up over the hill, to avoid the collision head on I hit the gas and swerved over missing the head on collision but the other driver blasted my mirror off, I was scared so I kept driving, what are the consequences for this?

  • Eric

    I live in Palm Bay, FL and was the victim of a hit and run accident. Following the accident I gave the Palm Bay Police Dept the vehicle make, model and even the license plate number (G08 3VM). The driver of the vehicle was located and of course denied any involvement. There was Approx $900.00 damage to my vehicle, the driver that fled the scene was found to have Allstate insurance. Allstate stated that they did not find any damage to the other vehicle, even though it was found two weeks following the accident giving them plenty of time to fix/erase any damage. Allstate denied the claim even though I had a police report, etc. I have made multiple phone calls, etc to the Palm Bay Police Dept as well as Allstate insurance company with no reply. does anyone have any advice for me? Thank

  • Leo D. Calle

    hello. i live in the hood… aka kind of a ‘bad’ neighborhood in the northern nyc area. i was hit while my car was parked in the street. anyone who knows about this type of neighborhood also knows there is no chance of the person guilty leaving a note.
    there’s a nasty dent in the front, the bumper is set ajar, and the radiator cover on the bottom now drags on the floor.
    what can i do in this situation?

  • Julie

    Reverse phone number look up on whitepages will work if it’s not a cell phone, try typing in the phone number on facebook if they have it connected it should pop up and the rest of the information should be easy to acquire from there.

  • John

    Hello, I was hit by a driver on my street. I know who hit me because I inspect my vehicle daily and take pictures of who is parked in front and behind me. When I got to my vehicle in the morning, there was significant damage. I found the car that was parked behind me and noticed damage to their car in the exact spot and color of my vehicle where they hit me. Although I didn’t see it, can I still file a report against them?

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

    File a police report and show them your evidence. They police may investigate.

  • John

    Thanks for the response. I called the police but they refused to do anything. They said I have “no proof”.

  • Jay

    I was driving down and a narrow street and when I pulled over to the side. The side of my car hit the front corner bumper on my car. I panicked and a left. I calmed down and went back to leave a note on the car, but it was already gone. What do I do?

  • Jay

    I was driving down a narrow street and when I pulled over to the side, the side of my car hit the front corner bumper of a parked vehicle. I didn’t see any damage to their car but I panicked and left. I calmed down and went back to leave a note on the car, just in case, but it was already gone. What do I do?

  • Quinton

    I was at a donut shop and a lady hopped out her car and said that I hit her car with my door and she said there was a scratch on her car . I didn’t see any damage to her car … And I didn’t get out my car … So I just drove of … I seen her recording me and I’m pretty sure she got my license plate on video … Can I be accused of a hit and run , will I got to jail ? Or should I just not worry about this and go on about my daily life … I’m freaking out .. Someone help me please!!!!!

  • Roxy

    hi I live in los angeles,ca. I was sitting in my car parked on the street, when a car drove by and hit my mirror on the driver side. I turned my car on and followed the driver till they came to a stop and I told them that they hit my mirror. the driver gave me her insurance number and name. I took a photo of the damage to my mirror and her license plate number. the problem is, I lost the paper she gave me. it had the information I needed to file the claim. now I’m stuck with just her license number from the photo. is there any way I can get her insurance info or anything with just her license number?

  • Yuki

    Hi, I hit a car in a garage today hen I was backing up. Left a message with my info including my phone number. I wonder if there is any time limit for the other party to contact me about the damage or file a claim? Thanks a lot!

  • Jessica

    My boyfriend hit a car that was parked but no one was around. We got scarred and left but came back 5 minutes after. We asked around the stores to find the owner but no one claimed it. It was late at night and we had to get home. We left a note with my boyfriends number and name. He said was worry and will pay for the damage. We took photos of the damage and we left. This is his first accident. We live in California. What will happen? Will we both get in huge trouble?

  • Modi

    There was a hit and run on my parked motorcycle in front of place. My motorcycle was not insured at the time and it took a while for police to locate offending party. After a year I have all the relevant information (i.e. police reports), so I am ready to make claim with their insurance company. Do you have any advise as to how I should go about doing this.

  • InsuranceHotline

    If you have their insurance company information on the police report you can check the company website for their contact info.

  • Baowie

    I parked my car outside on street, and someone hit me and didn’t leave a note or anything, I heard my alarm go off, so I went outside and I didn’t see anything so I turn my alarm off. I went to look at it this morning and my side has been hit! My mirror is broken and I’m going to need to replace my bumper. What do I do?

  • InsuranceHotline

    You should see if there were any witnesses and get the other driver information.
    Report the damage to the police and then your insurance company

  • Steven

    Similar to the situation described in this article, I went to the grocery store before work one morning. When I got to work (which is about 10 minutes away from this grocery store), I noticed that my car had been hit in the rear on the passenger side. I figured this had to have happened while I was parked at the grocery store because I know this dent was not on my car when I left my house that morning. I also didn’t walk along the passenger side of my car when I was walking out of the store.
    There unfortunately was no note on my car and no witnesses in the area. I didn’t have time to drive back to that store to see if anyone may have noticed anything.
    I don’t quite know if there’s anything I should do specifically since there seemed to be nobody present at the time of the collision. If nothing else, I’m glad my car isn’t extensively damaged. No windows broken. No lights broken. There is, however, and nice-sized dent from what I would assume was some sort of large truck.
    Any thoughts?

  • InsuranceHotline

    you can report it to the police and then to your insurance company as a hit and run. In Ontario if the driver how struck your vehicle is unidentified you may receive a payout under the collison section of your policy if you had purchased that coverage. Depending upon the amount of damage, you may end up with a payout but you will have to pay the collision deductible.

  • Juana Lopez

    Hi, I live in South Carolina. Last night I had a hit and run: someone hit my car while I was inside a restaurant. There is even yellow paint on my car. I was freaking out so much I forgot to even call the police or my insurance company. Is it too late to do any of that??

  • InsuranceHotline

    You should let the police and the insurance company know now.

  • Rosee

    Hi! I live in Florida. A car hit me and left the scene, but my witness went after the car and get the tag number for me. The police has all of the informations. I have the insurance info and whom the car registered. I have no choice, I call my insurance. The other party is not accepting liability, it could take couple weeks. I have to work, and go to school. I have no other way to get around. Should I wait for the other party to accept liability or let my insurance fix my car under my policy?

  • Abel

    Hello I was involved in a hit and run. I am a new driver and got in this accident i was going north bound but as soon as I got to the light a lady decides to take the turn and I hit her rear end. At this point I panic and leave the scene my house was 2 blocks away didn’t think it was a big deal. However, I would like to know if the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover the damage done to my car?

  • freddy

    hi was was involved in an accident. some random guy saw me comming and ran into the street so i swerved right to avoid him and side swiped a parked car. damage was minimal to the car and execpt for a bit of paint scratch my car is fine too. a few day later i tried to find the owner i asked around let him know when i couldn’t. i took pictures and left. what else should i have done.

  • Corey

    So I got into an accident last Thursday, I rear ended a truck with my focus. We didn’t call the cops because he had no damage to the car, but mine was pretty banged up. We exchanged phone numbers that’s it. He said he was gonna give me a break, and we could both just leave. Now he’s calling me a week later telling me there is “damage” to his truck. I didn’t take any pics because I was so shaken at the time. I haven’t called my insurance yet and made a claim because I’ve been so busy & didn’t think I’d have to until I needed my car fixed. What should I do ?

  • InsuranceHotline

    You should report it to your insurance company if you don’t plan on paying for his damage yourself

  • Youme

    This is covered under comprehensive if you don’t find the person. I’ve had someone hit my past three cars without finding out who did it. Each time it was under comprehensive coverage. NOT collision.

  • austen

    a man just hit my car it was late at night and he wrecked my rear quarter panel he gave me his name his number and the actual owners name and number. he didnt have the inusrance policy on him so we got the plates and took pictures of the truck (the vehicle he was driving) and my car. i called the owner he said that hes not at fault, true, and that his truck was so old the insurance policy wouldnt fix my car, that doesnt sound right. i also refrained from calling the cops cause i just didnt want to be up all night waiting on them but now i think i should have. i want my car fixed it isnt totaled but it was a near pristene looking 1989 chevy caprice broham. what can i do if anything

  • InsuranceHotline

    which province are you in? In Ontario, it’s covered under the collision section.

  • Chris

    I left my car at the BP gas station for a state and emissions inspection yesterday morning while I went to go cut a neighbors lawn. Today I realize I have a dent and scrape on the side of my car. My car was in my driveway all day so I know it occurred at the gas station, but I have no idea who was at fault. Someone using the pumps, or the individual who inspected my car. Should I call the police?

  • Chris

    or attempt to ask for video footage of the parking lot from the gas station?

  • InsuranceHotline

    Contact the gas station. Maybe there is video that can help you see what might have happened.

  • Lor

    Hello I was at a car dealership looking to purchase a car when I slowly backed up and then mistaked the gas instead of the break. Resulting in three parked vehicles- (used cars for sale) getting body damage. Maybe 2000 damage.

    What do I do?

  • InsuranceHotline

    i suggest that you contact the police department and have them track him down. You should also let your insurance company know.