Discovering that your parked car has been hit can be a frustrating and stressful experience. Beyond the inconvenience of vehicle damage, you might be concerned about the impact on your auto insurance rates. In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that determine whether your insurance premiums will increase when your parked car is hit and provide valuable insights into what to expect.
Understanding Parked Car Accidents
What Constitutes a Parked Car Accident?
A parked car accident occurs when your vehicle is stationary, and another vehicle or object collides with it. These accidents can happen in parking lots, on the street, or even in your driveway.
How Fault is Determined
Determining fault in parked car accidents can be more straightforward than in moving vehicle accidents. Generally, if your car is legally parked, and another driver hits it, they are typically considered at fault.
Will Your Insurance Rates Go Up?
Reporting the Incident
The first step to consider is whether you should report the incident to your insurance company. In most cases, it’s advisable to report the accident, even if you were not in the car when it was hit.
Impact on Rates
The good news is that, in many cases, your insurance rates are unlikely to go up after a parked car accident. Here’s why:
1. No Fault on Your Part
Since you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident and your car was legally parked, the accident is usually deemed entirely the fault of the other driver. This means that your insurance company is less likely to increase your rates.
2. Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your uninsured motorist coverage (if you have it) may cover the cost of repairs without affecting your rates.
When Rates Might Increase
While parked car accidents typically don’t result in rate hikes, there are exceptions:
1. Frequent Claims
If you have a history of frequent insurance claims, even if they are not your fault, your insurer might raise your rates as you may be considered a higher risk.
2. No Information on the At-Fault Driver
If the identity of the at-fault driver remains unknown or they are uninsured, you may have to rely on your own insurance to cover the damages. This could lead to a rate increase, albeit a minor one.
In conclusion, if your parked car was hit, you may not need to worry about your insurance rates going up. In most cases, the accident is deemed the fault of the other driver, which should not impact your premiums. However, it’s essential to report the incident to your insurer and consider your own claims history when assessing the potential consequences.
1. Should I report a parked car accident to my insurance company even if there’s no visible damage?
Yes, it’s advisable to report the accident to your insurance company. Sometimes, internal damage that isn’t immediately visible can lead to problems later on, and it’s essential to have a record of the incident.
2. Will my rates increase if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your uninsured motorist coverage may cover the damages. While this shouldn’t result in a significant rate increase, it’s best to check with your insurer.
3. Can I avoid a rate increase by paying for repairs out of pocket?
Paying for repairs out of pocket might help you avoid an insurance claim, but it won’t necessarily prevent a rate increase if the incident is reported to your insurer.
4. How long should I wait before reporting a parked car accident to my insurance company?
It’s best to report the accident as soon as possible, regardless of the apparent severity of the damage. Timely reporting can help expedite the claims process.
5. Can I choose not to involve my insurance company if the other driver offers to pay for the damages?
While it’s possible to settle privately with the other driver, it’s recommended to consult with your insurance company to understand your options and protect your interests.