Even if you’re only driving across town to the grocery store, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it home without any problems.
One out of every five car accidents takes place in a parking lot.
So, what should you do if you get into a parking lot accident?
Almost 70% of hit-and-run accidents involve unattended cars and many are in parking lots. Maybe a car accidentally backs into yours, or a shopper dings your side panel with a shopping cart.
If it happens, first check for a note on your windshield. If the driver didn’t leave a note, check the parking lot for potential witnesses who may be able to provide a description of the vehicle.
Or ask the store manager if there are any security cameras that might show the car’s license plate number.
Then contact the police and file a report.
If the person who damaged your car can’t be found, you’ll be responsible for paying your insurance deductible for the repair costs.
If the circumstances are reversed, and you damage a parked car, here’s what to do:
Stop and take down the license plate number. Then ask the store to page the car owner so you can give him or her your insurance information.
If you aren’t sure how to locate the damaged car’s owner, leave a note on the windshield with your name, phone number, and insurance information.
Failing to leave this information can result in a misdemeanor hit-and-run conviction, carrying a fine of up to $10,000 in some states, and even a jail sentence.
If the accident involves you and another driver, stop and exchange insurance information. If there are witnesses, get their contact information as well.
Then call the police and file a report.
Depending on who’s at fault, one of you will be responsible for filing an insurance claim and paying the insurance deductible for necessary repairs.
If the accident is your fault, your insurance premium may go up. Making a claim can cause your rates to increase by as much as 67 percent.
So, if the damage is minimal, you may not want to involve your insurance company.
To find out whether you should file a claim, use the claim calculator at insurancequotes.com under the Auto tab.
In any parking lot accident, there are 3 important steps you should take:
#1 Exchange contact and insurance details with the other driver, and get phone numbers from any witnesses.
#2 File a police report if the damage is significant or there is a dispute over how the accident happened.
#3 If the damage is severe and the other party isn’t covering your costs, contact your insurance company to file a claim.
So what can you do to avoid the consequences of a parking lot accident in the first place?
#1 Park far away from other vehicles.
#2 Check your mirrors and blind spot. If your car doesn’t come with a back-up camera, consider installing one.
#3 Always drive at or below the parking lot speed limit, which is usually 5 or 10 miles per hour.