Car insurance can cover parking lot damage in many scenarios. However, which coverage type applies will depend on the scenario. If you’re hit in a parking lot and the at-fault driver stays, your vehicle repairs could be covered by the other driver’s liability coverage. Or, if they flee the scene, you may need to rely on uninsured motorist coverage to finance your vehicle repairs. Knowing which coverage applies when is an important are of knowing what to do after your car is hit in a parking lot. Bankrate’s team of insurance experts is here to explain what you need to know about parked cars and car insurance.

What kind of insurance covers a parked car?

Depending on the situation when someone hits your parked car, you may be covered by one of three different coverage types: the at-fault party’s property damage liability, your own collision coverage or your uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage. In certain instances, comprehensive coverage may cover damage to your parked car if it is damaged by something other than another driver’s vehicle.

Coverage type How it kicks in
Comprehensive coverage Comprehensive insurance, also called “other-than-collision” insurance, covers vandalism, theft, broken glass, hitting an animal and vehicle damage caused by natural disasters. If a storm caused a tree limb to fall and damage your parked car, your comprehensive coverage may pay to have your vehicle repaired, minus your deductible. Or, if a thief smashes your windows in order to access items in the car, the glass repair would normally be covered by your comprehensive coverage.
Collision coverage Collision coverage can help pay for damage to your vehicle. If you hit a parked car and damage your vehicle, collision insurance would usually pay for your car’s damage, minus your deductible. If it’s your car that’s damaged in a hit-and-run and you don’t have UMPD, you might be able to make a claim under your collision coverage.
Property damage liability Property damage liability is a part of most states’ insurance requirements. It is designed to cover the damage you cause during a collision or accident to someone else’s property. So, if you were the one to hit someone else’s parked car, your property damage liability coverage would help pay for the damages to the other person’s vehicle, up to your policy limit.
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) UMPD is available in some states and may have a state-mandated deductible that applies. It may pay if someone without car insurance hits your parked car. If you have UMPD coverage and the at-fault driver flees the scene, but is later found and they do not have insurance, your UMPD would likely cover the damage to your vehicle. If the at-fault driver fled the scene and cannot be found and identified, your UMPD may not apply — you’d need to rely on collision coverage instead. If it is not already on your policy, you might also have the option to purchase UMPD. If someone hits your vehicle and doesn’t have enough property damage liability to cover the entire cost, your underinsured motorist coverage could pay for the rest.

What do I do when someone hits my parked car?

When someone hits your parked car, you should treat it the same way you would any other accident. Take these steps if your parked car is hit or you are involved in an accident:

  1. Determine if you need to move your car. If your car is already parked, it may not need to be moved out of the roadway after being hit.
  2. Assess the damage to your vehicle and any possible injuries. Once you know everyone is okay, take pictures of your damaged car.
  3. Call the police. If there are injuries, an ambulance may be needed to provide medical attention. The police can also help facilitate the exchange of information. Get the names and badge numbers of the responding officers to get the accident report later.
  4. Gather information. This includes the name and contact information of the people involved and any witnesses. Ask for the driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Write down the information or take a picture with your phone to file a claim. Note the time of day, location of the accident and what the weather conditions were.
  5. File a claim. After you have all the information, you can file a claim online, over the phone or through the mobile app, depending on the insurance company.

There are a variety of scenarios you may find yourself in when dealing with someone hitting your parked car. How you handle the process for each situation can look different.

Someone hit my parked car while I was in it

If someone hit your parked car while you were in it, assess yourself to see if you have any injuries. Call the police, especially if you feel you need medical attention. Even if you do not immediately feel injured, you may feel the effects of the car accident later. It is not uncommon to go to sleep and wake up the next day with whiplash or other minor injuries. If the other driver stayed on the scene, be sure to exchange insurance and contact information with them.

Once you are ready to file a claim, you can file it under the other driver’s liability insurance. The bodily injury liability portion will usually take care of your injuries while the property damage liability coverage can fix the damage to your car.

Depending on your state, you’ll have medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, where you can file for injuries under your own insurance. PIP also provides coverage for lost wages and other accident-related expenses.

Someone hit my parked car and left a note

If someone hit your parked car and left the scene, but also left a note, you should call the police. Provide the information the at-fault driver left and get the police report number to provide to the insurance company.

If the note only included the person’s contact information but did not provide insurance information, you may need to call them to get it. If the note provided insurance information, you can call the company directly to file a claim under the at-fault driver’s liability property damage coverage.

You can also file an insurance claim under your own collision insurance or uninsured motorist property damage coverage if they do not have insurance. If you file with your own insurance company, you may have to pay the coverage deductible to get your car fixed.

Someone hit my parked car and I was injured

If you are injured after someone hits your parked car, you should assess yourself to see how seriously you are injured. Calling the police can help you get medical attention if needed.

Get the driver’s insurance information so you can file a claim under their liability insurance. You can have your injuries covered under the bodily injury and your car damage under the property damage liability.

If you have PIP or medical payments coverage, you may also be able to file for medical expenses and other accident-related costs you may incur.

Parked car hit-and-run

If someone hit your parked car and left the scene without a note, it is considered a hit-and-run. You should check for security cameras or any witnesses who may have seen the accident. If you are parked near a business, they may have security cameras that caught what happened, which can be used to determine who hit your parked car.

Walk around all sides of your car to see the damage. Take pictures or videos from every angle before moving the car from its parked spot.

If you have collision insurance, you can file a claim to get the damage fixed. However, hit-and-run may also be covered under uninsured motorist property damage insurance. If you have both coverage types and are unsure which coverage would apply, your insurance company and claims adjuster will help you with determining the coverage that applies to your situation.

Frequently asked questions

    • In general, your insurance does cover parked cars. If you hit a parked car, your property damage liability insurance will pay for the damage you cause, up to your coverage limit. This is one reason almost every state requires a certain amount of liability insurance because it helps financially protect the other party if you cause damage or injuries.
    • Most states have minimum insurance requirements on all registered vehicles, even those that are parked and not being driven. Whether you park your car on the street, in your driveway or in a garage, having the right insurance coverage will protect your parked car. If your vehicle is stored in your garage and is not driven for extended time periods, you could consider placing your vehicle in storage status if your insurer offers this option while it is not being driven.
    • Filing a claim with your insurer for any reason may cause insurance rates to increase, including if someone hits your parked car. Insurance rates may increase more if you are responsible for hitting someone else’s parked car. Consider getting a quote on the cost to repair your car’s damage before filing a claim to see if the cost outweighs the potential impact to your policy, especially if you have to pay a deductible. For example, if your car needs $700 in repairs but you have a $500 deductible, you may determine that a $200 payout is not worth it if your insurance rates will increase for the next three to five years.