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Few things can get on your nerves quite like someone hitting your car. With your heart racing and a million thoughts racing through your head, it can be a challenge to get back on your feet and take the right action.
If someone hits your car, you need to know your options. This guide will help you understand what to do when someone hits your car and what to do if the other person leaves the scene.
With Credible, you can easily compare auto insurance quotes of the best insurance companies.
What to do if someone hits your car when it’s parked
If you walk to your parked car and discover someone hit you with their vehicle, handle the situation like any other accident and take the necessary steps:
1. Call the police
Stay put and call 911. In some areas, especially major metropolitan regions, law enforcement may not respond to all accidents, but you should still try to notify the police.
Once on scene, the responding officer will write a police report, which can be helpful when filing an insurance claim for the damage.
2. Document the accident
Try to gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. While you wait for the police to respond, try to locate the person who hit your car, if possible, and exchange contact and insurance information. If there are eyewitnesses, record their contact information as well.
In addition, it is important to take many photos. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so it’s a good idea to use your smartphone to document your car damage and the location of the event. This can provide supporting evidence when you file your claim.
If you locate the driver who hit your vehicle, also take photos of their vehicle and its license plate for your records. If a driver left a note with their contact information, be sure to keep it in a safe place so you have it when you need it.
3. Notify your auto insurance provider and file a claim
The sooner you contact your insurance company while the details are fresh in your mind, the better. Your agent should tell you how the claims process will work and what information is needed.
Some Car insurance Providers allow you to file a claim and upload photos from their mobile app, allowing you to file a claim directly from the scene of the accident. If you know who hit your vehicle, your insurance company will work with that driver’s insurer to settle the claim.
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What if someone hits your parked car and drives away?
An incident can be considered a hit and run if someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene without leaving any contact information. In this case, the insurance provider may treat the other driver as if he had no insurance.
Follow these steps if someone hits your parked car and flees the scene:
1. Call the police
Since a hit and run is a crime, contact the police immediately to file a report. They may be able to help you identify the driver who hit your vehicle.
2. Talk to your insurance agent
Your agent can help you review your policy to see if it covers damage resulting from a hit and run. You may need collision property damage or uninsured motorist coverage to pay for damage, but it depends on the state.
As with any other car accident, documenting the damage and your surroundings is also essential.
Consequences for hit-and-run drivers vary by state. Many states view a hit and run accident as a felony if someone is seriously injured or a vehicle is substantially damaged, whether or not someone is injured.
A hit and run can also be classified as a misdemeanor. For example, in Pennsylvania, fleeing the scene of an accident is a third-degree misdemeanor: You could be fined $2,500, sent to jail for up to a year, or both.
What to do if someone hits your car while driving
When someone crashes into your car while driving, your first priority is to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers, if you have any. Here are the steps to take after someone hits your car on the road:
1. Pull over in a safe area
If possible, move to a safer area out of harm’s way. Of course, there are cases where you may need to lie still until medical personnel arrive. Your safety is your top priority after a car accident.
2. Call 911
If you or another drivers or passengers in the accident need medical attention, call 911 immediately. Even if neither party is injured, it is still wise to call the police. The police can write an accident report, which can be invaluable in supporting your statements when filing an insurance claim.
3. Exchange information with all drivers
Obtain the names, contact information, and driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved in the accident. You will also want to obtain all license plate and vehicle identification numbers. Remember, asking to see a driver’s license and vehicle registration is a great way to verify a driver’s information.
When gathering information, it is beneficial to obtain the names and contact information of other passengers and witnesses at the scene.
4. Take photos
Use your camera or smartphone to take photos of the damage and other pertinent information at the accident scene, such as skid marks or weather conditions.
5. Contact your insurance company
Notify your insurance agent immediately after an accident to start your claim. Your agent can advise you on the next steps and what to expect during the claims process.
You can visit Credible for compare auto insurance quotes from multiple carriers, all in one place.
Will your insurance go up if they crash into your car?
In general, your car insurance premium with your insurance company may increase when you are at fault for an accident. Unfortunately, the same is true even if someone hits your car through no fault of your own, although this depends on your state, your insurer, and the amount of damage.
For example, if your car is hit by an uninsured motorist, your insurance company may increase your premium after taking advantage of your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to pay for the damages. However, the impact on your premium is usually less if you are not at fault.
Paying higher premiums for an accident that you did not cause is disappointing, to say the least. But you may be able to offset any rate increases by taking steps to save on your auto insurance premium.
If you have accident forgiveness coverage through your insurance company, your premium will not increase after your first accident, even if you are at fault. You can usually buy this as optional coverage for your car insurance, or earn it by driving for a certain period of time without an accident.
With Credible, you can compare auto insurance quotes from multiple insurance companies in minutes.