Does hitting a parked car affect insurance?
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UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021
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- Every car insurance company has a different policy in terms of how it handles rate increases after a car accident
- If you hit a parked car and no one is injured, then your car insurance company may offer an accident forgiveness policy that does not count your first car accident against you
- The more claims you have against your policy within a short time period, the higher the rate you will pay for car insurance
- If you accidentally hit a parked car, you should make sure that you leave your contact information in a visible place for the owner of the hit car because you could suffer criminal penalties if you are caught without taking responsibility
- After you have a claim for hitting a parked car, you should try hard not to get any tickets or any other claims filed against you because the insurance company could refuse to renew your policy after the term is up
It goes without saying that if you hit a parked car, you need to alert that car’s owner about the damage. If the car’s owner files a claim against your insurance policy, then you will have a claim on your insurance, which could eventually affect your premium.
For your premium, the number of claims that you have within a certain period of time determines whether and by how much the rate that you pay for insurance will go up.
Accident Forgiveness for Your First Car Accident
Some car insurance companies help you to keep your rates at a manageable cost after an accident by offering an accident forgiveness policy.
This means that if you have only been involved in one car accident since taking out your car insurance policy, then your car insurance provider may not even consider the accident for the purpose of calculating your car insurance rate.
To find out if your car insurance company offer this as an option, you should speak with your auto insurance agent. If you are still shopping around for car insurance options, then you may want to ask the companies that you are considering about whether they offer something similar to this accident forgiveness policy.
This could give you considerable peace of mind down the line if you have a claim filed against you for a car accident.
Another option for reducing the cost of your car insurance premium could be to take a driver’s safety course and see if you are able to get a discount. This is an especially good idea if you have some negative driving history that you are trying to balance out.
Before you sign up for a safety course, talk with your insurance agent to see what you need to do to be able to qualify for the discount.
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Do Not Flee the Scene of a Car Accident with a Parked Car
If you hit a parked car, it can be tempting to drive away if no one saw the damage. This is definitely the wrong choice in that situation.
There could be surveillance cameras in the area where you hit the parked car or witnesses to the accident that you may not be aware of at the time of the accident. If you are caught fleeing the scene of the accident without making contact with the owner of the car that you hit, you could be in serious trouble.
The laws vary by state in terms of the penalties for fleeing the scene of a car accident. In some states, you could be forced to pay an expensive fine.
In others, you could even face jail time of months at a time. In addition, you could have your driver’s license taken away. In light of all of these possibilities, it is never a smart idea to abandon the scene of an accident that you caused.
If the driver of the parked car is not easily located, you could leave a note with your contact information on the windshield wiper of the car. You could also notify any surrounding businesses to see if there is a customer inside who is the owner of the hit car.
If all else fails, you should contact the closest police station to put your information on file and give them the details of the accident.
If you take that extra step in attempting to locate the owner of the hit car, you can be sure that you have done everything in your power to avoid being accused of hitting a car and trying to flee the scene of the accident.
Settling a Claim After Hitting a Parked Car
If you make contact with the driver of the parked car that you hit, you may want to consider paying out of pocket for the claim to avoid having your insurance rates go up. This is only a good idea if the damage appears to be minor and generally cosmetic in nature.
For any type of major damage, you should definitely go through your insurance company to avoid liability issues in the future.
If you do choose to settle the claim on your own with the other driver, then you need to be very careful. Get as many details as you can in writing so that you have proof that the other driver was in agreement with your proposal to pay out of pocket for the claim.
You will also want to make sure that there is at least one reasonable estimate of the damage to the car and that you are able to pay for the full cost of the repair out of your own pocket. If not, then you will need to work with your auto insurance company regarding the accident.
The Last Word on How Hitting a Parked Car Affects Insurance
If you hit a parked car, the first thing to remember is that you cannot leave the accident without at least leaving your contact information and being able to settle the claim with the other driver.
If the incident was completely your fault, it may count against you on your driving record in terms of the rate that you will need to pay for your car insurance premium.
Some insurance companies offer an accident forgiveness policy, so if you only have one accident in your driving history, it will not have an impact on the price that you pay. In general, if you have car accidents on your record that are your fault, you will pay more for auto insurance.