Did you know that 1 in 5 car accidents occur in parking lots? In one year, that equals approximately 50,000 crashes (CBS News). Slower speeds and the illusion of less traffic in parking lots lulls drivers into a false sense of security, which can lead to distracting behavior – primarily cell phone use. In turn, this behavior can lead to accidents.
If your car was hit.
If you are the victim, there are a couple factors that will determine how your claim will go.
Can you identify who hit you?
Yes? Good. They are likely at-fault and their insurance company will cover your damages (that is, as long as they accept liability). It’s a good idea to ask around for witnesses who can corroborate your story if an investigation is needed to determine fault. If applicable, check with the business whose lot you are parked in to see if they have video footage of the incident.
If the individual who hit you doesn’t have insurance and will not pay out of pocket, you can file a claim with your own insurance company, depending on the type of coverage you have and the circumstances of the accident.
No? Don’t panic yet. Ask yourself:
Do you have insurance? Yes? Collision? You are likely covered. If you do not have collision but you have uninsured motorist property damage, you may also be covered. *This coverage is not offered in every state. Call your insurance company to file a claim but remember you may be responsible for your deductible (the amount you pay if you have an accident or claim).
If you don’t have the proper coverage, sorry, but you’re likely on the hook. You will have to pay for your repairs out-of-pocket. Don’t let this happen to you again! Get a free quote from SafeAuto.
If you’re the driver.
Do not drive away. If you are caught, you could face hit-and-run charges. Do your best to track down the other driver. If you are unable to locate them, leave a note. Include your basic information such as your name, phone number, and a brief explanation of the accident. Snap a photo of the damage and jot down the license plate before you leave.
Especially if the damage is extensive, call the police. Not only can they help document the accident, they can help you locate the car’s owner. It doesn’t hurt to have some back-up.
When driving through parking lots, stay alert. You can’t always prevent an accident but you can make sure you are properly insured. SafeAuto can help Call 1-800-SAFEAUTO (1-800-723-3288) or get a quote online.