AutoInsurance.com
Published: April 21, 2022Last updated: October 19, 2022

What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car

Does car insurance cover hit-and-runs?

You park your car, run into a convenience store, and by the time you get back, someone has hit your car and left without a note. You see property damage — your rear bumper is bent and hanging on by a thread. What should you do? Does your car insurance cover hit-and-runs? As with most incidents that cause damage to your car, the answers to these questions depend on a variety of factors.

What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car and Leaves

Here is what to do if someone hits your car and leaves, commonly known as a hit-and-run car accident:

  1. Stay at the scene of the accident.
  2. Contact the police and file a report.
  3. Collect evidence of the damage including pictures and notes about the time of day, the location, and so on.
  4. File an insurance claim if you have uninsured motorist coverage. collision coverage, medical payments coverage, or personal injury protection (more on that below). Or, if you want your insurance agent to file a claim for you, notify your insurance agent to begin the claims process.
  5. If you filed a collision claim, pay the deductible.
  6. Get your car repaired.
  7. If your insurance provider covered the claim, wait for them to reimburse you for repairs.

If They Leave a Note

A hit-and-run is a much better situation if the driver who hit you leaves a note. If that’s the case, take the following steps:

  1. Contact the person who hit you to get their insurance information.
  2. File a third-party claim for your property damages and bodily injuries, if any.

If They Don’t Leave a Note

If the party that hit you doesn’t leave a note, take the actions listed below:

  1. File a first-party claim with your insurance provider.
  2. If you lack uninsured motorist or collision insurance, pay out of pocket for your repairs.
  3. If you lack medical payments coverage or personal injury protection, pay out of pocket for your injuries or get your health insurance to cover them.

If You’re Injured

If you are injured in a hit-and-run, here’s what you should do:

  1. Call 911 to summon an ambulance if needed.
  2. Get medical attention for your injuries.
  3. If you have medical payments coverage or personal injury protection, file a first-party claim.

Will You Have to Pay?

You may or may not have to pay for the damages or injuries from a hit-and-run; it depends on what coverages you have and the limits for those coverages. If you have collision, medical payments, or uninsured motorist coverage, you could get some or all of your injuries and damages covered, and vice versa if you don’t.

Do You Have to File a Police Report?

Your state’s laws determine whether or not you have to file a police report. Find your state’s accident-reporting requirements below.

State When do you have to file a police report? Time period to file a police report (from date of the accident) Consequences for not meeting accident-reporting requirements
Alabama Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 by an uninsured motorist 30 days Class A misdemeanor (up to $1,000 fine) for accidents resulting in property damages

Class C felony ($2,500-$6,000 fine) for accidents resulting in death or injury

Alaska Injury, property damage, or death worth over $2,000 10 days License suspension for no more than 30 days

$200 maximum fine, imprisonment of 90 days maximum, or both

Arizona No state law requiring the driver involved in an accident to file a police report N/A None
Arkansas Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately for death or injury

30 days for property damage

License suspension
California Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 10 days 90 days to 4 years in prison and/or $1,000-$10,000 fine
Colorado Death, injury, or any property damage 10 days 10-90 days in jail, $150-$300 fine, or both
Connecticut Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 5 days $75-$600 fine, imprisonment for no more than 1 year, or both

For subsequent offenses: $100-$1,000 fine, imprisonment for no more than 1 year, or both

Delaware Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 Immediately $25-$75 fine

For subsequent offenses: $57.50-$95 fine

District of Columbia None None None
Florida Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 As soon as possible $30 fine
Georgia Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 Immediately 3 points on driving record
Hawaii Injury, property damage, or death worth over $3,000 Immediately $100 fine
Idaho Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,500 Immediately Fines or license suspension
Illinois Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,500 or $500 if any vehicle is uninsured 10 days License suspension
Indiana Injury, property damage, or death worth over $750 Immediately License and vehicle registration suspension
Iowa Death, injury, or damage worth over $1,500, unless the accident was investigated by the police 3 days if report is required License suspension
Kansas Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,500 Immediately License suspension, $500 maximum fine
Kentucky Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 10 days $20-$100 fine
Louisiana None None None
Maine Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately Imprisonment for 6 months and $1,000 fine
Maryland Death or injury 15 days 5 points and $140 fine
Massachusetts Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 5 days License suspension
Michigan Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately Imprisonment for no more than 90 days, a fine of no more than $100, or both
Minnesota Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 10 days License suspension
Mississippi Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 10 days License suspension
Missouri Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 5 days License suspension, fine, or possible misdemeanor charge
Montana Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately Misdemeanor ($200-$300 fine or imprisonment for 20 days)
Nebraska Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 10 days Class V misdemeanor (maximum fine of $100)
Nevada All crashes Immediately Driving privileges suspension for a maximum of 1 year
New Hampshire Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000, unless police file report 5 days Felony (for operators) if the accident caused death or injury; misdemeanor if there was only property damage
New Jersey Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 Immediately License suspension, $30-$100 fine
New Mexico Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 Immediately License suspension
New York Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,500 10 days $250 fine maximum, 15 days of imprisonment, or both
North Carolina Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately $100 fine maximum
North Dakota Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 (not required for property damage only with an undomesticated animal) Immediately License suspension
Ohio All crashes Immediately $150 fine maximum
Oklahoma Injury, property damage, or death worth over $500 Immediately for death or injury

6 months for property damage

License suspension
Oregon Injury or death

More than $2,500 in damage to driver’s vehicle

More than $2,500 in damage to any vehicle

Any vehicle towed from the scene

 

More than $2,500 of any property damage (not including a vehicle)

Any injury or fatality (involved driver must call 911)

72 hours $300 fine maximum
Pennsylvania Death, injury, or if the vehicle is disabled 5 days Driving privileges suspension
Rhode Island Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 21 days $500 fine maximum
South Carolina Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 15 days $100-$5,000 fine, 1 year of imprisonment, or both
South Dakota Death, injury, property damage worth over $1,000 to 1 person’s property, or $2,000 of total property damage Immediately Class 2 misdemeanor (up to 30 days of imprisonment, $500 fine, or both)
Tennessee Injury, property damage, or death worth over $50 Immediately for death, injury, or property damage $50-$400

20 days for death, injury, or property damage worth over $400

License and registration suspension
Texas Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately for death or injury

10 days for property damage

License suspension
Utah Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 10 days License suspension
Vermont Injury, property damage, or death worth over $3,000 3 days Fine
Virginia Death or injury Immediately $250 fine maximum
Washington Injury, property damage, or death worth over $700 4 days License suspension
West Virginia Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately License suspension
Wisconsin Death, injury, property damage worth over $1,000, or government property damage of $200 or more Immediately to law enforcement by quickest means of communication $40-$200 fine
Wyoming Injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 Immediately $200 fine1

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Even if it’s not legally required, file a police report for your claim. This will provide evidence that could help you get coverage.

Can You Sue?

If you know the person’s information and you meet your state’s monetary or serious injury threshold (if any), you may be able to sue for damages. Here are the states with thresholds for civil suits:

State Monetary threshold for suing Serious injury threshold for suing
Florida None Permanent injury

Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

Hawaii PIP benefit amount Significant and permanent loss of use of a bodily function or body part

Permanent and serious disfigurement resulting in emotional or mental distress

Kansas PIP benefit amount Permanent disfigurement

Fracture of a weight-bearing compound or bone

Comminuted, displaced, or compressed fracture of any bone

Permanent injury

Permanent loss of a bodily function

Kentucky $1,000 Permanent disfigurement

Fracture of weight-bearing compound or bone

Comminuted, displaced, or compressed fracture of any bone

Permanent injury

Permanent loss of a bodily function

Massachusetts $2,000 Permanent and serious disfigurement

Fractured bone

Substantial loss of sight or hearing

Michigan None Serious impairment of a bodily function

Serious and permanent disfigurement

Minnesota $4,000 60 days of disability

Permanent injury

Permanent disfigurement

New Jersey None Dismemberment

Significant scarring or disfigurement

Loss of a fetus

Displaced fractures

Permanent injury other than disfigurement or scarring

New York None Bone fracture

Significant disfigurement

Permanent limitation of use of a body member or organ

Significant limitation of a bodily system or function

Substantially full disability for 90 days

North Dakota $2,500 Permanent and serious disability

Disfigurement of at least 60 days

Pennsylvania None Serious injury
Utah $3,000 Permanent disfigurement

Permanent disability

Bone fracture

Washington, D.C. PIP benefit amount Substantial permanent disfigurement or scarring

Substantial permanent impairment

Substantially total impairment lasting 6 months2

Hit-and-Run Accidents

From the years of 2015 to 2019, nearly 4 million drivers in the U.S. experienced hit-and-runs, which is 2 percent of all licensed drivers3. Here’s how those hit-and-runs break down:

  • Fatal hit-and-runs: 0.004 percent
  • Hit-and-runs with injury only: 0.47 percent
  • Hit-and-runs with property damage only: 1 percent

As you can see, 73 percent of hit-and-runs cause only property damage, which is preferable to injuries or fatalities4.

Will Insurance Cover Someone Hitting My Parked Car?

If you have the proper coverage, insurance can cover someone hitting your parked car.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Hit-and-runs fall under uninsured motorist coverage — insurance for accidents involving people who are driving without insurance. If you can’t get the person’s insurance information, they’re an uninsured motorist as far as the insurance company is concerned.

CheckDID YOU KNOW?

Across the U.S., an estimated 12 percent of drivers are uninsured as of 20195. Learn more in our uninsured motorist research.

Collision Coverage

Although collision coverage is usually applied to at-fault accidents, technically, you can apply it to any damage from collisions whether it was your fault or not. But note that collision coverage comes with a deductible, which you pay first in a covered claim, so it should be your last result in a hit-and-run.

Medical Payments Coverage

Similarly, while medical payments coverage is usually for your injuries in accidents you’ve caused, you can use medical payments coverage for a hit-and-run if the driver didn’t leave a note. If you have personal injury protection, you can get lost wages and childcare covered as well.

Will My Insurance Increase if Someone Hits My Parked Car?

Any claim that you file with your own insurance provider could increase the cost of auto insurance, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. That includes hit-and-runs. However, if the person left a note and you filed a third-party insurance claim, your rates won’t increase.

What Should I Do if I Hit a Parked Car?

If you hit a parked car, follow these steps:

  1. Remain at the scene to avoid being accused of a hit-and-run, for which you could be held legally and financially liable.
  2. Try to find the car’s owner by going into nearby stores, describing the car you hit, and leaving a note with employees, if need be. You can also ask employees to announce the information on a loudspeaker.
  3. If you find the other driver, exchange insurance information so they can file a third-party claim with your provider.
  4. If you’re unable to find the other driver, write a note that includes your phone number, name, and a description of the accident. Leave it somewhere secure, like between the car’s windshield and wipers.
  5. Call the police.
  6. Document the accident.
  7. File first-party claims for your damages or injuries, if any.

What Should I Do if I Witness a Crash in a Parking Lot?

If you witness a crash in a parking lot and want to help out, do the following:

  1. Help the victim document the damage.
  2. Give them your contact information. That way, you can stand in as a witness if the insurance company needs further proof of the hit-and-run.6

Is There Ever a Defense for Hit-and-Runs?

There are two common defenses for hit-and-runs:

  • The person says that they didn’t know if they hit a person or vehicle, or that there was no damage from the collision.
  • If the victim was present at the time of the hit-and-run and said there were no damages at the time, the driver can use that as a defense, even if they left without giving any contact or insurance information.

These defenses may or may not work in the court of law, but if you get hit, assess the damages before you let the perpetrator run off without exchanging information.

Recap

What to do in a hit-and-run is one of the most frequently asked questions about car insurance. Although you can’t help someone hitting your car when it’s parked, having more than the minimum coverage is necessary if you don’t want to pay out of pocket for injuries and damages.

Citations

  1. State-by-State Laws & Requirements for Reporting a Car Accident. Enjuris. (2022). https://www.enjuris.com/car-accident/accident-reporting-requirements.html

  2. No Fault Car Insurance: States with “Serious Injury” Thresholds. Nolo. (2022). https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/no-fault-car-insurance-states-with-serious-injury-thresholds.html

  3. Highway Statistics 2019. U.S. Department of Transportation. (2021, Mar). https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2019/dl201.cfm

  4. Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST). NHTSA. (2022, Mar). https://cdan.dot.gov/query

  5. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar). https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UM%20NR%20032221.pdf

  6. How to deal with parking lot accidents. State Farm. (2022). https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/auto-and-vehicles/how-to-deal-with-parking-lot-accidents