Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Someone hit my parked car. Will my insurance go up?

 Nothing can ruin an outing faster than going back to your car, ready to head home or arms full of groceries only to realize that someone hit your parked car. Now you want to know: will my insurance go up?

If someone hit your parked car, there are a lot of factors that can influence whether or not your insurance goes up, and what to do next. 

These include:

  • Whether the other driver stuck around, provided contact information, and/or had insurance
  • What your history of claims has been
  • What insurance provider you have, and their internal policy
  • What your state policy is 

What to do if someone hit your parked car

Let's start with the basics. Much the same as with any accident, if you walk out to your car and you see that someone has hit it, you want to treat it like a car accident scene and do the same as you would in any other car accident.

  1. Start by looking for the other driver. In some cases the other driver stuck around and waited for you to come out, in other cases they left a note in which case you might have the information you need to reach out to them or simply call your insurance provider and exchange details. In the worst of situations, they are nowhere to be found.
  2. Whether you found the culprit or not, take pictures of the scene. It's up to you to find as much evidence as you can in order to get reimbursed by your car insurance company.
  3. Contact the police to file an official police report, something you will need if you choose to submit a claim with your insurance provider and something you will need to verify that you were in fact not the one at fault.
  4. Finally, reach out to your insurance provider to let them know what happened.

Am I covered with my car insurance?

If someone hit your parked car, and you have collision coverage or uninsured driver property damage, chances are any damages your car sustained will be covered by your policy.

Let’s look at some other situations in more detail.

Let's assume they left a note. 

If the individual who hit your car left a note, hopefully that note contains their contact information and their insurance information. If they don't provide their insurance information, you need to contact them to get their details. It will also behoove you to look around the area--whether it's a parking lot or street--and see if anyone nearby happened to see what transpired.

There are a few different reasons why your insurance might go up. One of them is filing small claims. If you file small claims regularly, it can result in higher premiums. So, if your vehicle is involved in a hit-and-run while you were in the grocery store or you drove down the highway and a rock hit your windshield, you can choose to report these things and file claims to get the reimbursement or you can simply cover the limited cost out of pocket and avoid filing a small claim.

The reason it might be in your best interest to avoid filing a small claim is that, again, the more often you file small claims, the more of a financial risk you are considered, and the higher the likelihood that your premiums will increase. If you evaluate the damage your parked car sustained and it's something you can afford no matter how inconvenient, choosing not to file a claim can help reduce the chances of your insurance going up. This is entirely up to you.

If the damages are severe, and it's larger than your deductible, it will obviously be better for you to have your insurance step in and cover the costs. 

Also, if the other person left a note or they stuck around, it's going to reduce the chances that your car insurance will go up because you can file with the other driver’s insurance.

Let's assume it was a hit and run.

If there was no note, the first thing you want to do is check the area for any businesses that might have security cameras or any witnesses. Once you call the police to file a report, they can obviously help in the attempt to acquire evidence. It is very rare that a security camera in front of a grocery store or an office park will provide clear enough footage to get information like a license plate but it might go a long way toward helping narrow down the make, model, and color of the vehicle.

The same steps need to be followed wherein you take pictures of any evidence and you document all the damage to your car, even minor paint scratches. In this situation, obviously you may not be able to pinpoint the culprit and if you have uninsured motorist property damage coverage, you can use that to offset the costs if you file a claim with your insurance provider.

But in this case the same principle applies: your car insurance can go up if you file multiple minor claims resulting from a hit and run, so consider your claims history before you dial your insurance provider.

The Mitigating Factors

The other reason your car insurance might go up is simply reporting that you were involved in an accident. The more accidents you have, the worse it reflects on your record, and the higher your premiums will be.

In the event that your parked car was hit, your insurance company will likely view it as an accident where you were not at fault. Whether or not they increase your rate is contingent upon the state in which you live and what your state policy is. It will also go up based on the internal guidelines for your insurance company. Realistically your insurance company is the only one who can tell you what their internal policies are for parked car collisions.

However, the biggest factor influencing whether or not your rates go up regardless of your being at fault, is whether you have a history of filing a lot of claims. If you recently filed two or three claims in the last few months, that could hurt you.

But if the accident was not your fault, the likelihood of your insurance rates going up is limited. Certain insurance providers will charge you for any accident over a certain monetary amount regardless of who was at fault, although these are typically programs designed for high-risk drivers. By comparison other insurance companies will make a determination based on who was at fault, and whether the person at fault was ticketed in the accident.

Source - https://www.insurancepanda.com/faq/car-hit-when-you-are-not-there/

 

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