Any kind of minor automobile accident is upsetting. When it’s a hit-and-run on your parked car, it can be deeply frustrating as well. Obviously, with the responsible party having left the scene and no note left, you can’t simply exchange information and file a claim with the driver’s insurance. However, you don’t need to stand in the parking lot gaping at the damage to your car feeling like you have nowhere to turn. There are steps you can and should take.
Although you may not have witnessed the hit and run, someone else could have. Take the time to canvas the lot in search of someone who saw something. Asking around at the establishments serviced by the parking lot might net you a witness. If someone is willing and able to provide an account, collect that person’s name and contact number as well as any information that he or she can provide.
Witness or not, your next step should be to report the hit-and-run accident to the police. Call them as soon as possible, and while you await their arrival, it may be a good idea to take a few photos of the damage just for future reference. Most insurance companies require a police report to accompany a hit-and-run claim as a way to prevent people from fraudulently reporting the origins of damage to their cars. Some companies want the report filed within 24 hours of the incident for it to qualify as a not-at-fault accident, so don’t delay.
With the police report filed, you can begin the process of repairing your car. Of course, this will have to be handled under your own policy, so contact your insurance company. A hit-and-run accident is included under collision coverage; no other coverage applies to this kind of incident. For example, your liability coverage only applies to damage done to other vehicles. If you do not have the optional collision coverage, then you may nothave insurance benefits to address the damage from a hit and run. By filing in this way and providing a police report, your out-of-pocket expense should be limited to the collision deductible.The silver lining in this otherwise unpleasant experience is that you won’t see an increase in your premiums because you were not at fault.
After squaring away your insurance claim, get your vehicle to a reputable auto body shop to restore it to its pre-accident condition. Quality shops are ASE certified and the finest establishments are I-CAR Gold members.
One thing is for sure, a hit-and-run accident, whether while driving or against your legally parked vehicle, is a serious violation of the law. Take swift action. Filing a police report will not only smooth the way for you to repair the damage but could also result in the offender being held accountable.
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