What Should I Do if Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left?

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If someone hit your parked car and left, your first step is to document the incident without moving your car. Check if the driver left a note, take photos of the damage and surroundings, look for potential witnesses or surveillance cameras and file a police report as soon as possible. Informing your insurance company promptly is also crucial. Remember, prompt and detailed documentation is key to navigating this situation effectively.

Learn about collision and uninsured motorist coverage, as well as additional insurance types that may help cover your costs should you be the victim of a hit-and-run.

Key Takeaways

  • Under normal circumstances, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance would be responsible for damages that they cause to your legally parked car.
  • However, if they commit a hit-and-run, you will need an auto policy with collision coverage or uninsured motorist insurance to cover your damages.
  • If you were injured, then you will need a policy with medical payments coverage or personal injury protection to pay for your medical bills.
  • On the other hand, if you hit a parked car and are unable to locate the owner, you should leave a detailed note with your contact information, document the scene, report it to the police and inform your insurance company.

Am I Covered if Someone Hits My Parked Car?

Two types of auto insurance coverage can come into play if another driver hits your parked car and flees: collision insurance or uninsured motorist insurance. In general, collision insurance covers all collision-type damages, whether if it’s with a tree, fence or another driver’s car. Meanwhile, uninsured motorist insurance pays toward your losses if the other driver is at fault but does not have enough insurance. Vehicle hit-and-runs count as an encounter with an uninsured driver.

On the other hand, if the driver does not flee the scene in the first place, their liability insurance should pay toward your repair bills. If a driver flees and is later found, your insurance company may go after their insurance company to recoup whatever amount they paid to fulfill your insurance claim.

Keep in mind that collision insurance is optional but is usually required if you’re still paying off your car. Uninsured motorist insurance may be legally required in certain states.

What if My Parked Car Was Hit on the Street?

Whether your car was legally parked in a store parking lot or on a public street, the same rules apply. If the at-fault driver sticks around, their liability insurance will pay your repair bills and if they flee, collision insurance and uninsured motorist insurance will cover your losses.

Am I Covered if Someone Hits My Parked Car and I’m Injured?

If you were inside the car when your parked car was hit and suffered injuries, personal injury protection (if you have it) can cover your medical expenses. This coverage is mandatory in some states and optional in others.[1] Alternatively, medical payments coverage can also provide assistance for medical expenses.[2]

In the event of a hit-and-run, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage can be crucial if the at-fault driver cannot be found or is uninsured. Should the offending party remain at the scene, the bodily injury portion of their liability coverage should also pay for/reimburse your medical costs.

Will My Insurance Rates Go Up if Someone Hits My Parked Car and Leaves?

Unfortunately, filing any car insurance claim that results in a payout can lead to your car insurance rate going up.[3] Fortunately, there are some insurance companies like American Family that do not increase your rateafter a hit-and-run accident.[4]

In addition, some state laws prohibit insurance companies from raising rates for not-at-fault auto accidents.

For example, in California, if your car was legally parked and it was damaged in a hit-and-run accident, then your insurance company is not allowed to increase your rate if you file a claim.[5]

That said, if your car was illegally parked, then it is more likely like that you will face increased rates. One of the major determining factors when calculating rates is perceived risk and If you’re illegally parked, you’re partly to blame for the accident. Therefore, your insurance company can increase your rate to reflect your higher risk profile.

What Happens if I Don’t Have Coverage for a Hit and Run?

In the absence of uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage, you are essentially responsible for all repair costs. This means paying out of pocket for any damages your vehicle sustains in a hit-and-run accident.

It’s also important to consider the potential indirect costs of not having hit-and-run coverage, such as the inability to use your vehicle while it's damaged, which can affect your daily life and work.

What Should I Do if I Hit a Parked Car?

If you’ve hit a parked car, do not flee the scene or it can count as a hit-and-run incident, which is a misdemeanor or felony in some states.[6] For example, in California, committing a hit-and-run can result in imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000.[7] A hit-and-run can also lead to your license being revoked.[6]

Instead, try to locate the owner of the parked car. If you're unable to find them, leave a note in a visible spot on the vehicle that includes your contact information, insurance details and a brief explanation of the incident.

Additionally, take photos of the damage to both vehicles for your records and as part of the forthcoming insurance claim process. It's also advisable to document the location and any relevant environmental conditions. If there are witnesses, get their contact information as they can provide statements if needed.

Next, report the incident to the police. Finally, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the car accident. Provide them with all the details, including the note you left, photographs, witness information and the police report. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process and work with the other party's insurer if necessary.

How To File a Claim if Someone Hits Your Parked Car and Leaves

Below, we’ve listed the steps on how to file a car insurance claim after someone hits your parked car.

  1. Do not move your car immediately (if safe): If it's safe and feasible, don't move your vehicle until you've documented the scene and, if possible, until the police arrive. Moving your car might alter the evidence.
  2. Document everything: Take clear photos of the damage to your vehicle from multiple angles. Pertinent details include tire marks or debris.
  3. Look for witnesses or surveillance cameras: Check if anyone witnessed the incident or if nearby businesses or homes have surveillance cameras that might have recorded it. Witnesses can provide statements, and video footage can be crucial in identifying the responsible driver.
  4. File a police report: Contact the police as soon as possible to file a report. This is a critical step, especially in a hit-and-run situation, as it officially documents the incident and can be vital for insurance claims.
  5. Contact your insurance company immediately: Have your car insurance policy number and the incident details ready. Inquire as to whether you have rental car reimbursement in case you need a substitute vehicle if your car is out of commission.
  6. Complete the claim form: Use detailed and accurate information about the incident. You’ll also need to submit the evidence you gathered prior.
  7. Cooperate with the insurance adjuster: Make sure they inspect the car thoroughly. They may request that you take it to a certified mechanic for an estimate.
  8. Review the settlement offer: Ensure it covers your repair costs adequately.
  9. Negotiate if necessary: Don’t hesitate to negotiate with your insurance company for a better offer if you feel the settlement is insufficient. You can then proceed with getting repairs to your vehicle once you’ve agreed on a settlement.
  10. Follow up as needed: Stay in contact with your insurance company throughout the claims process to ensure everything is progressing smoothly.
  11. Seek legal advice if necessary: Consult an attorney if you feel you’re entitled to a larger settlement. They might be able to help you negotiate a larger claim payout or if necessary, represent you in court.

What if They Left a Note?

If someone hit your parked car and they left a note, it typically should contain their contact and insurance information. You can contact the individual to acknowledge the note and discuss the incident. Next, inform your car insurance company about the incident and provide them with the details from the note. Your insurer may handle the claims process directly with the other party's insurance company.

You should also take photos of the note, the damage and the surrounding area as evidence. If the note lacks sufficient details or you encounter issues contacting the individual, you may still need to follow the standard procedure for hit-and-run incidents, including getting a police report.

Are You Covered for Hit-and-Run Accidents?


Does car insurance cover a hit-and-run accident?

If your car insurance policy includes collision insurance and/or uninsured motorist coverage, then your repair bills should be covered for damages resulting from a hit-and-run accident. If you’re injured, then personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, if you have either, can cover your medical bills.

Is it considered a hit-and-run if someone hits my parked car and leaves?

Yes, it is considered a hit-and-run accident if someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene without providing contact information. In such cases, it's important to document the incident and report it to the police and your insurance company.

Should I leave a note if I hit a parked car?

Yes, if you hit a parked car, you should leave a clearly visible note on the hit vehicle with your contact information, insurance details and a brief explanation of the incident. This is a responsible and legally advisable step to take, as leaving the scene without doing so can be considered a misdemeanor or felony.[6]


  1. Allstate. “Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage (AKA No-Fault Insurance).” Accessed Jan. 25, 2024. 
  2. Allstate. “What Is Medical Payments Coverage?” Accessed Jan. 25, 2024.
  3. USAA. “Why Did My Car Insurance Premium Go Up?” Accessed Jan. 31, 2024.
  4. American Family Insurance. “Hit & Run Insurance Coverage.” Accessed Jan. 31, 2024.
  5. Calif. Dept. of Insurance. “Introduction to Auto Insurance.” Accessed Jan. 31, 2024.
  6. Nolo. “Hit-And-Run Criminal Charges and Conviction Penalties.” Accessed Jan. 25, 2024. 
  7. Justia. “2022 California Code Vehicle Code - VEH Division 10 - Accidents and Accident Reports.” Accessed Jan. 25, 2024.

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