What to do when someone hits your parked car
There are essentially countless scenarios in which you leave your vehicle parked and unattended in public places, sometimes for long periods of time. Generally speaking, when you return for your vehicle, it’s in the same condition you left it in. But of course, now and then, people discover that their vehicle has been damaged somehow.
If you’re fortunate, whomever hit your vehicle left a note. If they didn’t, that’s a hit-and-run. Whichever turns out to be your reality – note or no note – here’s some suggestions for how to handle each situation.
Someone hit your parked car but left a note
If you find that your car has been hit while parked, check for a note, with the most common place to leave a note being under the windshield wiper. Hopefully it will contain contact information such as the driver’s full name, phone number, and their licence plate number.
The next step will be to contact the police. Give them with as many details and as much information as possible. Provide the police with the note that was left, show them pictures of the damages, and any witness statements if you have them. Once they have all the information, they will open a case and get in contact with the other driver.
Once the police have been brought up to speed, it’s time to contact with your insurance provider. Give them with the same details and information that you gave the police. At this point, your insurance company will get in contact with the other driver’s insurance company to settle all the details related to your claim.
Someone hit your parked car but didn’t leave a note
While we can hope that most people would leave a note in this situation, hit-and-runs are quite common in Canada. Here’s what we recommend if it happens to you.
Gather as much information and details as you possibly can. The more information you have the better. Document all details surrounding the accident, including:
Where the hit-and-run happened
The date and estimated time of the hit-and-run
The weather conditions
If anyone might have been a witness
Check if there are any video cameras around. Shopping mall or grocery store parking lots might have surveillance. In the event of a hit and run you can ask for a copy of the footage.
Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, any debris left behind, any identifiers of the location, any damage in the surrounding area, such as other cars damaged nearby, tire marks, etc.
Inform the police immediately
If your car is safe to drive, it is recommended that your immediately go to your nearest accident reporting center to file a report. If your car is damaged the point where you are unable to operate it safely, stay put and call the police.
Provide the responding officer with all of the details and photos that you collected. They will most likely assess the scene for any evidence, and try to gather any witness statements if possible. The officer will create an official accident report. Ask for a copy of the accident report for your own records, and insurance claims purposes.
It also important for you to get the name and badge number of the police officer for your reference.
Get in touch with your insurance provider
After any sort of accident, it’s important to contact your insurance provider, especially if the accident is a hit-and-run. Let them know right off the bat that the accident was a hit-and-run, and that an official police report has been filed. Provide them with the exact same details and information that you gave the responding officer. Once they have created their own report, they will assess the situation and do their own internal investigation. From here, your insurance broker will let you know what additional information may be needed.
How can a broker help if someone hit my parked car?
If you have an insurance broker, you have someone in your corner. In the event that you return to your car and find it damaged, you can call your broker/CSR for advice on what to do next. They will walk you through the entire process and offer independent advice.