It was a nice sunny day, and you decided to head to a picnic. You parked the vehicle and spent the day outside. Once you returned, you discovered that your car was hit while parked! That is never a pleasant thing to see, regardless of the damage severity. The first thing to do is to take a couple of seconds to calm down. You will need to assume control of the situation, and here is how to do that.
Did They Leave a Note?
The best-case scenario is that you are dealing with a conscious driver. Perhaps someone was parking out of their space and hit your parked car accidentally. They might have seen what happened but didn’t have the time to wait. That is why they might have left a note with their contact details on the windshield. Check to see if there is any phone number there. If you find it, give it a call immediately. You want to confirm that they are willing to take the blame. The next step is to determine how much a repair would cost and whether they are ready to pay for the expenses. Even if you have their word for it, make sure to take photos of the car before moving. That way, you have proof of what happened – think of it as protection if the other party changes their story.
Call the Police
If there is no note on the vehicle, you might be facing a hit and run situation. That means someone hit your parked car and ran away, hoping they will never get caught. If this is the case, call the police immediately. You shouldn’t move the vehicle, but you are free to take photos. Use your smartphone or a digital camera, and take multiple photos from various angles. Another good move is to look for potential witnesses. Were you parked in front of a store? Perhaps people working there saw what happened. You could use them to confirm your story, and it would be even better if they wrote down the vehicle’s license number. Please note that the deadline for a police report is 24 hours from the incident.
File An Insurance Claim
Do you have a valid insurance policy? If the answer is yes, it is time to file an insurance claim. That will require preparing the required paperwork, which could be a tedious process. For starters, the company will ask for a police report and investigation results. It helps if you have damaged photos taken at the scene. Next, you will need a receipt for damage repair. That is why you need to take the vehicle to an authorized workshop that employs a licensed adjuster. Their task is to determine the damage and come up with the repair cost.
You can ask the workshop to provide an estimated repair time and issue a CART document – compensation for the actual repair time. That could increase the compensation you receive from the insurance company.
Once you have these documents ready, contact the insurance agency. They will ask you to file an official claim by completing their form. Follow the procedure, and try to provide as much information as necessary. Please note that there might be a deadline for submitting a claim after the incident. That is why you shouldn’t waste any time, so start preparing the paperwork right away!