What To Do When You Hit a Parked Car: Steps to Handle a Claim
Accidents happen; unfortunately, even when your car is parked, it’s not immune to being involved in one. Discovering that your parked car has been hit can be frustrating and stressful, but knowing the right steps to take can help you navigate the situation easily.
1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
The first and most important thing to do when you discover that you have hit a parked car is to stay calm. Take a deep breath and assess the situation. Check for any immediate dangers, such as leaking fluids or potential hazards. If it is safe to do so, park your car nearby and turn off the engine.
2. Gather Information and Document the Accident
Once you have ensured your safety and the safety of others, it’s time to gather information and document the accident. Start by taking clear photographs of both your car and the parked car. Capture the damage from multiple angles, including any scratches, dents, or paint transfers. These photographs will serve as evidence for insurance purposes.
Next, look for any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Ask for their contact information; their statements can be valuable when filing an insurance claim. If there are no witnesses, note the accident’s time, date, and location.
3. Locate the Owner of the Parked Car
If possible, try to locate the owner of the parked car. Look for a note left by the owner with their contact information and insurance details. If you cannot find the owner, check if there are any nearby businesses or homes with security cameras. They may have captured the accident, which can help identify the responsible party.
4. Assess the Damage and Determine Liability
Once you have gathered all the necessary information and documented the accident, it’s time to assess the damage and determine liability. Review the photographs you took earlier and compare the damage to both cars. This will help you understand the extent of the damage and who may be at fault.
It’s important to note that liability can vary depending on your province’s circumstances and laws. In most cases, if you hit a legally parked car, you will be considered at fault. However, it’s always best to consult with your insurance provider to understand your area’s specific guidelines and regulations.
5. Contact the Police and Your Insurance Provider
In certain situations, it is necessary to involve the police. If the accident involves injuries, a hit-and-run, an impaired driver, or if the parked car needs to be towed, contact the police immediately. Provide them with all the relevant information, including the details of the accident and any witness statements.
After notifying the police, it’s time to contact your insurance provider. Inform them about the accident and provide them with all the necessary details, including the photographs you took and any witness statements. They will guide you through the claims process and help you understand your coverage.
6. File an Insurance Claim
Once you have contacted your insurance provider, they will guide you through the process of filing an insurance claim. They will ask for the necessary documentation, such as photographs, witness statements, and a detailed accident description. Be prepared to provide accurate and comprehensive information to expedite the claims process.
In Saskatchewan, the insurance claims process is handled by SGI (Saskatchewan Government Insurance). If you have an Auto Pak policy with SGI, you can file your claim online using their 24/7 service, eClaim. If your policy is with another insurer, contact them directly to initiate the claims process.
7. Understand Your Coverage and Deductibles
Before finalizing your insurance claim, it’s important to understand your coverage and deductibles. Review your insurance policy to determine what is covered and what is not. Some policies may have specific coverage for parked car accidents, while others may have exclusions or limitations.
Additionally, familiarize yourself with the deductible amount you will be responsible for. The deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. Understanding these details will help you manage your expectations and make informed decisions regarding repairs and potential out-of-pocket expenses.
8. Repairing Your Car
Once your insurance claim has been approved, you can repair your car. Your insurance provider will provide you with a list of approved repair shops or recommend a preferred provider. However, it’s important to note that you have the right to choose your own repair shop so long as it’s SGI accredited.
When selecting a repair shop, consider their reputation, expertise, and repair warranty. Keep all receipts and documentation related to the repairs, as they may be required for reimbursement or future reference.
Dealing with Uninsured or Hit-and-Run Accidents
In some unfortunate cases, the driver who hit your parked car may be uninsured or may have fled the scene. If you are unable to locate the responsible party or they are uninsured, you may need to rely on your own insurance coverage.
If you have uninsured automobile coverage, it can help compensate you for the damages done to your car. Contact your insurance provider to understand your policy’s specific coverage and benefits. They will guide you through the process of filing a claim and help you navigate the situation.
Learn from the Experience and Prevent Future Accidents
Experiencing a car accident, even when your car is parked, can be a stressful and inconvenient situation. However, it also provides an opportunity to learn from the experience and take preventive measures to avoid future accidents.
Consider the circumstances that led to the accident and identify any actions you could have taken to prevent it. This may include parking in well-lit areas, avoiding congested parking lots, or using additional safety measures such as parking sensors or cameras. Taking proactive steps can help minimize the risk of future accidents and protect your vehicle.
Discovering that your parked car has been hit can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. However, you can effectively handle the situation by following the appropriate steps and involving the necessary parties. Remember to stay calm, gather information, and contact the police and your insurance provider. Understanding your coverage, filing an insurance claim, and repairing your car are vital steps in the process. By learning from the experience and taking preventive measures, you can minimize the risk of future accidents.
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