What to do if Someone Hits or Damages Your Parked Car
Crowded car parks, tight car parking spaces and ever-growing vehicles on the road are unfortunately leading to more and more car park accidents. The growing number of cars and vans on the road means that parking prangs are now costing us more than £1.4 billion per year, according to Yahoo Finance UK! A separate piece of research, conducted by RAC Insurance, has found that a whopping two-thirds of British motorists have returned to their vehicle to find that their car was damaged in a car park, with an average bill of £2,050!
Supermarket car parks are the number one place for British motorists to pick up damage to their car. With so many cars packed into such a small space, unfortunate accidents occur, with 48% of people who picked up a parking prang saying that the supermarket car park was where they picked up a car scratch or dent.
Having your car hit while parked can be a stressful experience, so what should you do if someone hits your car? Also, what car park consumer rights do you have?
If you’re unsure of what to do after a car accident of this sort, ChipsAway can clear a few things up. Throughout the course of this page, we have laid out a few a set of core criteria to check and the next steps to help you alleviate some of that stress when your car has been hit.
Step by Step Guide: After Your Car Has Been Hit
If you have come back to your parked car to find it scratched or dented then there are a few core steps to take. These steps will help you reduce the stress of not knowing what to do if someone hits your car.
Step 1: Check to see if there’s a note on your car
The first thing to check for, if someone has damaged your car whilst it has been parked, is whether the third party who bumped or dented your car has left a note.
By law, a third party who hit your parked car is obligated to leave a note with their contact information if you weren’t present. The note should also ideally include their name, address, licence plate number and an explanation of the accident. If the third party does not leave a note and is caught, then it is possible that they could face a hit-and-run claim for bumping your car.
Of course, it is not always the case that someone who bumped your parked car will leave a note. RAC Insurance claims that the chances of someone leaving a note after hitting a car is currently only a shocking 9%, which is shockingly low. If you fall into the 91% of people that weren’t fortunate enough for someone to leave a note, see our next point and look for witnesses or CCTV camera.
Step 2: Look for Witnesses or a CCTV Camera
If there is no note on your car, then the next best course of action is to look for a witness or a CCTV camera covering the area.
Ask anyone if they saw the vehicle that hit your parked car and if they saw the licence plate number. If they happen to have seen something, even better if they managed to note the licence plate of the car, then take their name, phone number and the licence plate.
If there were no witnesses and you are parked in a supermarket or leisure centre car park, check to see if they have any CCTV cameras that could have covered the area you were parked in. If they do then they may have caught who bumped your car on their system.
Step 3: Take Photos of the Damage
No matter whether there was a note, a witness, or a CCTV camera overlooking the accident, it is important to take clear and concise pictures of the damage that was attributed to your car when the other driver bumped or scratched it.
Take several clear, high-resolution photographs of the damage to your car, and the location of your car. These may come in handy when claiming insurance. If using a smartphone, it will be helpful that the photographs are location, time and date stamped as well. It all goes to help support your insurance claim.
Step 4: Contact the Third Party
If the third party left a note on your parked vehicle, contact them and decide whether you want to go through an insurance company or pay the repair bill yourself. It is important to remember that 99% of the time, the accident was an honest mistake and a resolution can be reached amicably. Sometimes, the third party will be prepared to pay for the damage to be repaired. If that is the case then you can get a quote for the cost of the repair and discuss it with them.
When an accident occurs, 32% of people believe the damage to their car to have been caused by a car door that was opened onto it. If a third party opened their car door and hit a parked car, then they would also automatically be at fault. Likewise, if a third-party hit your car when it was parked legally, regardless of the circumstances, then they are automatically at fault. The only time you may be held responsible is if your car was parked illegally.
Step 5: Contact your Insurance Company
If you do not have the details of the third party who hit your car and want to get the damage to your car repaired, you unfortunately only have two options. In the case that the person who damaged your car couldn’t be found, then you either have to pay for the damage to be repaired or you can claim through your insurance company for them to pay for the repairs. If you decide to go down the latter route, and contact your insurance company, then it is worth noting that you may still have to pay the excess amount, so it is worth getting a quote for the repair cost before deciding.
Remember: that you will still need to inform your insurance of the minor damage even if you do not wish to make a claim. Many insurance companies have a rule that if you don’t tell them about the damage it can invalidate your insurance policy.
Minor Car Body Repairs with ChipsAway
At ChipsAway, our specialists are capable of removing scratches from a car, operating from fully-equipped mobile workshops and fixed-base Car Care Centres – we can save you both time and money! It is often the case that our repairs come in cheaper than your car insurance excess. Request your free, no-obligation estimate online.