What To Do if You Hit a Parked Car

If you're wondering what to do if you hit a parked car, you should know it's best to wait for the owner so you can trade information. If you leave the scene of the crime because you didn't know what to do if you hit a parked car, you'll risk being faced with a hit-and-run charge. To avoid facing negative consequences because you didn't know what to do if you hit a parked car, be prepared with insurance information on hand.

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent Cynthia Lanctot

UPDATED: Jun 3, 2022

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A Concise Overview

  • If you hit a parked car, you should stay on the scene
  • Wait for the owner or leave a note with your contact information
  • If there’s severe damage or injury, call the proper authorities to document the scene

Are you wondering what to do if you hit a parked car? Well, you should know it’s not the worst thing ever if you handle it responsibly. Luckily, there are auto insurance coverages that can take care of damages. However, if you leave the scene you risk being charged with a hit-and-run, which could cause you to lose your license or worse.

While you’re finding out what to do if you hit a parked car, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to ensure that you have enough coverage should the worst occur.

What do I do if I hit a parked car?

Accidents happen all the time, whether it be simple oversight or a momentary distraction. The important thing is to handle it responsibly so you don’t feel guilty later. For example, it’s better to face up to the consequences instead of trying to figure out what to do if you hit a parked car and left after the fact.

The situation is probably stressful, but it doesn’t need to be complicated or taxing. The first thing you should do is wait for the vehicle owner. Move your vehicle out of the way of other cars and locate the owner of the vehicle. In the meantime, you can:

  • Document the damages for insurance
  • Look for any witnesses
  • Call the police (for significant damage)
  • Contact your insurance company

When you locate the owner, they may be frustrated or shocked by the sudden news. Just try to remain calm and give the person your insurance information. While it can be stressful, you don’t have to be there longer than that.

It’s better to confront the situation than to leave and face charges later. While you might have to pay a little more for insurance if you get into an accident, you could lose your license and face other consequences for a hit-and-run charge.

If you have to be somewhere else immediately, you can also leave a note with your:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • An explanation
  • Your policy information

If all goes well, the person may never need to contact you. But in case they do be prepared to discuss what happened and provide evidence that you documented at the scene.

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When should I leave a note on the vehicle?

Curious about what to do if you hit a parked car and can’t find the owner? It’s best to handle these things in person to avoid miscommunications, but sometimes you have to prioritize.

If you’ve waited a while for the driver and need to leave, it’s best to place a note in a place where the owner will see it. Make sure it contains essential information like your name and contact info so they can contact you if need be.

I hit a parked car and left a note, what now? Next, you should contact your auto insurance company and tell them what happened. If you have collision insurance and suffered significant damage, you may even be able to start a claim. Then you have to wait and see if the insurance company or other driver will need any further information.

What should I do when I unknowingly hit a parked car?

If you’re unaware you hit a parked car due to sudden damage to your vehicle but aren’t sure when it happened, you should try to do the right thing. As far as you know, the inverse could be true and someone could have hit your vehicle. Getting to the bottom of the mystery could help you attend to damages.

For starters, consider going to the police station and seeing if anyone has reported any similar damage. If they haven’t, you may want to visit some past places you have visited with your car that day. Once you’ve exhausted these options, the only thing you can do is wait and see if anyone reports similar damages.

What if someone hits my parked car?

Realizing your car has been damaged is a shocking experience that can cause you stress. However, it doesn’t have to be the worst thing in the world if you’re prepared. This can mean everything from having your insurance information on hand to installing a backup camera to help with reversing.

According to The Higgins Firm, many accidents in parking lots happen due to negligence on behalf of the driver. A pedestrian or parked car will usually be damaged at that driver’s fault. After an accident where your car gets hit, you should do the following:

  • Call the police – Having an officer document what happened and create a report will help keep a record of what happened, so make sure you ask for a copy.
  • Document the accident – It’s also crucial that you document evidence, such as photographs and videos that show the level of damage to your vehicle.
  • Call your insurance company – Once you have the evidence and have filed a police report, you should call your insurance company and give them the information about the accident while it’s fresh in your mind.

As long as you stay calm and take the appropriate steps, you’ll be able to get your car repaired in no time. It may not be at your own expense if you can locate the other driver.

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Will auto insurance cover damage to a parked car?

The question of whether or not auto insurance will cover damage to a parked car often depends on which side of the accident you’re on. If you hit someone else’s car, for instance, your liability coverage will help pay for the repairs on their vehicle. But, as a result, you’ll pay increased rates each period to cover the new risk.

On the other hand, if your car gets hit and the driver is nowhere to be found, you’ll need collision insurance to help cover repairs after you pay the deductible. If you don’t have collision insurance, you’ll need to try and find the driver of the other vehicle so they can pay for the damages they caused.

What should I do if I witness a parked car get hit?

Witnessing a parked car get hit might feel like being in the right place at the wrong time, but that’s not all bad. If the person leaves, you’re now in a position to report what you’ve seen to the police. If the person sticks around, you can still provide a third objective view of the situation as it happened.

If there’s no one to be found, you could consider leaving a note on the vehicle that was damaged. You can leave your name, contact information, and any important details about the car that collided with the parked vehicle. Put the note somewhere the driver will see it and then wait to be contacted.

Parked Car Accidents: The Bottom Line

Now that you know what to do if you hit a parked car, you know it isn’t the end of the world. However, it’s crucial to face the consequences as they happen. Otherwise, you risk the situation getting much worse. In most cases, some form of insurance can pay for the damages, which means everyone will be better off by being honest.

Since you know what to do if you hit a parked car, make sure you have a good liability policy by entering your ZIP code into our free quote tool today.

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