What should you do when someone hits your car?

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Knowing what to do when someone hits your car can help you stay safe while protecting yourself financially. Learn the steps to take after an accident. (Shutterstock)

Few things can get on your nerves as much as someone hitting your car. With your heart racing and a million thoughts running through your head, it can be challenging to pull yourself together and take the right action.

If someone hits your car, you need to know your options. This guide will help you understand what to do when someone hits your car and what to do if the other person leaves the scene.

With Credible, you can easily compare car insurance quotes from major insurance companies.

What to do if someone hits your car while it’s parked

If you walk up to your parked car and find that someone has hit it with their vehicle, treat the situation like any other accident and take the necessary steps:

1. Call the police

Stay at the scene and call 911. In some areas, especially major metropolitan areas, law enforcement may not respond to every accident, but you should try to notify the police.

Once at the scene, the responding officer will write a police report, which can be helpful when you file an insurance claim for the damage.

2. Document the accident

Try to gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. While you wait for the police to respond, try to find the person who hit your car, if possible, and share contact and insurance information. If there are eyewitnesses, also note their contact information.

In addition, it is important to take a lot of photos. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so it’s a good idea to use your smartphone to document the damage to your car and the location of the incident. This can provide supporting evidence when you submit your claim.

If you find the driver who hit your vehicle, also take a picture of their vehicle and their license plates for your record. If a driver has left a note with their contact information, be sure to keep it in a safe place so you have it when you need it.


3. Notify your auto insurance provider and file a claim

The sooner you contact your insurance company while the details are fresh in your memory, the better. Your agent should inform you of how the claims process will work and let you know what information they need.

some car insurance providers allow you to file a claim and upload photos from their mobile app, which allows you to file a claim directly from the scene of the accident. If you know who hit your vehicle, your insurance company will work with that driver’s insurer to settle the claim.


What if someone hits your parked car and drives away?

An incident can be considered a hit and run if someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene without leaving any contact information. In this case, the insurance provider may treat the other driver as uninsured.

Follow these steps if someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene:

1. Call the police

Since hit-and-run is a crime, contact the police immediately to file a report. They may be able to help you identify the driver who crashed your vehicle.

2. Talk to your insurance agent

Your agent can help you review your policy to see if it covers damages resulting from a hit and run. You may need collision or uninsured property damage coverage to pay for damages, but it depends on the state.

As with any other car accident, it is also essential to document the damage and your surroundings.

Consequences for hit-and-run drivers vary by state. Many states view a hit-and-run accident as a felony if someone is seriously injured or a vehicle sustains significant damage, regardless of whether someone is injured or not.

A running hit may also be classified as a foul. For example, in Pennsylvania, leaving the scene of an accident is a third-degree misdemeanor — you can be fined $2,500, sent to jail for up to a year, or both.


What to do if someone hits your car while driving

When someone crashes into your car while you are driving, your first priority is to ensure your safety and that of your passengers, if any. Here are the steps to follow after someone hits your car on the road:

1. Pull to a safe area

If possible, move to a safer area out of harm’s way. Of course, there are times when you may need to stay still until medical personnel arrive. Your safety is your highest priority after a car accident.

2. Call 911

If you or another motorists or passengers in the accident need medical attention, immediately call 911. Even if none of the parties involved are injured, it is still wise to call law enforcement. The police can write an accident report, which can be invaluable in supporting your statements when making an insurance claim.

3. Share information with all leaders

Get the names, contact information and driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved in the accident. You will also want to obtain all driver license plates and vehicle identification numbers. Remember, looking to see a driver’s license and vehicle registration is a great way to verify a driver’s information.

When gathering information, it is helpful to obtain the names and contact information of other passengers and any witnesses at the scene.

4. Take pictures

Use your camera or smartphone to take pictures of the damage and other relevant information at the accident scene, such as skid marks or weather conditions.

5. Contact your insurance company

Notify your insurance agent immediately after an accident to start your claim. Your agent can advise you on next steps and what to expect during the claims process.

You can visit Credible at compare auto insurance quotes from multiple carriers, all in one place.

Will your insurance go up if your car gets hit?

In general, your car insurance premium with your insurance company may increase when you are at fault for an accident. Unfortunately, the same is true even if it’s not your fault that someone hits your car, although it depends on your state, your insurer, and the amount of damage.

For example, if an uninsured motorist hits your car, your insurance company may raise your premium after using your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to pay for the damages. However, the impact on your premium is usually less if you are not at fault.

Paying higher premiums for an accident you did not cause is frustrating, to say the least. But you may be able to offset any rate hikes by taking steps toward it save on your car insurance premium.

Excuse the accident

If you have accident forgiveness coverage through your insurance carrier, your premium will not increase after your first accident, even if you are at fault. You can usually buy this as an optional cover on your car insurance, or earn it by driving for a certain period of time without any accidents.

With Credible, you can compare car insurance quotes from various insurance carriers in minutes.

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