Your car gets hit in a parking lot – or while parked on the street – or while parked in a driveway (anyone else back into a car parked in your driveway before?). What the heck do you do?
Michigan is a no-fault state. This means that the majority of the time, if there is physical damage to your car, you have to go back to your own insurance policy for the repairs – you must carry Comprehensive and Collision coverage for this to be covered. However, if your car is hit while parked, the at-fault driver is actually responsible for all of the damage to your car (and providing a rental car if needed while it’s being repaired).
So what does this mean? If it’s at all possible to find out who hit your car – do it! Hopefully, people are nice and leave a message if they can’t find you themselves, but that doesn’t always happen.
I’m optimistic that someone was able to track this driver down, given the video footage.
There are two scenarios:
- You know who hit your car. In this case, get a police report, an estimate for repair, and file the claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance company. The adjuster for that company may contact you to verify details of the accident and possibly inspect the car. But, the claim process should be fairly smooth. If you’re running into issues, your agent may be able to help smooth the process – give them a call.
- You don’t know who hit your car and have no way to find out. In this case, you will need to file the claim under your own policy – assuming you have collision coverage. Your policy will pay to repair the car, and depending on the type of collision coverage, maybe even waive the deductible.
Scenario one is the best all around – your policy never gets involved, you don’t have a claim on your record with your carrier, and the at-fault driver takes responsibility for the damage.
Scenario two is okay, but there is a downside. The good news first – your car is fixed!! (assuming you have collision coverage) Yay!!! The bad news, however, is you now have a claim on your record. We have been finding that any claim, regardless of fault, is affecting premiums these days. This wouldn’t be a surchargeable accident, but you could lose a claim free discount that may be on the policy which would end up increasing your premium. It sucks, but unfortunately, that’s the direction the industry has moved.
Bottom line: If your car is hit while parked, do your very best to find out who hit you. It’s going to be in your best interest to file the claim under their policy.
One more thing: If you happen to be the at-fault driver who hit a parked car – what does this mean for you? First, if you have auto insurance (regardless if you carry physical damage coverage), your policy will pay for damages to the parked car. It will also cover the cost of a rental car for the other party if needed. It will be considered an at-fault accident which is usually chargeable and your premiums will be affected by it. At-Fault Accidents are typically charged for 3 years – but each company may have their own rules – so be sure to ask your agent.
Tip of the Day
- Broad Collision = You only pay deductible if you’re over 50% at fault in accident
- Regular Collision = The deductible always applies regardless of fault
- Limited Collision = Coverage only applies if you’re less than 50% at fault in accident