What should you do if someone hits your car?

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Knowing what to do if someone hits your car can help you stay safe while protecting yourself financially. Learn what to do after an accident. (Shutterstock)

There are few things that can make you more upset than someone hitting your car. With your heart racing and a million thoughts running through your head, it can be hard to pull yourself together and take action.

If someone hits your car, you need to know what your options are. This guide will help you know what to do if someone hits your car and what to do if the other person leaves the scene.

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What to do if someone hits your parked car

When you get to your parked car and find that someone has hit their car, treat the situation like any other accident, and follow the steps below:

1. Call the police

Stay on the scene and call 911. In some areas, especially in larger cities, the police may not respond to every accident, but you should still try to notify the police.

Once on the scene, the responding officer will file a police report, which can be useful when you file a claim with insurance.

2. Record the accident

Try to collect as much information as possible from the scene of the accident. While you’re waiting for the police to respond, try to find the person who hit your car, if possible, and share insurance information. If there are eyewitnesses, record their information as well.

In addition, it is important to take a lot of pictures. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so it’s best to use your smartphone to document the damage to your car and the location of the incident. This can provide you with proof of identity when you submit your claim.

If you find the driver who hit your car, also take pictures of their car and license plate to document it. If the driver has left a note with their information, make sure to keep it in a safe place so you can have it when you need it.

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3. Notify your car insurance company and file a claim

The sooner you contact your insurance agent while the information is fresh in your memory, the better. Your agent should let you know how the appeal will work and let you know what they want.

Others car insurance providers allow you to submit a claim and upload photos from their mobile app, which allows you to submit a claim directly from the scene of the accident. If you know who hit your car, the insurance agent will work with the driver’s insurance to settle the claim.

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What if someone hits your parked car and drives away?

An incident can be considered a hit-and-run if someone hits your parked car and leaves the scene without leaving any clues. In this case, the insurance provider may treat the other driver as uninsured.

Follow these steps if someone hits your parked car and flees the scene:

1. Call the police

Since hit and run is a crime, contact the police immediately to file a report. They can help you identify the driver who crashed into your car.

2. Talk to your insurance agent

Your agent can help you review your policy to see if it covers damage caused by a hit-and-run. You may need to hit or damage the property of an uninsured motorist to pay for damages, but it depends on the state.

As with any other car accident, it is important to document the damage and the location where you live.

The consequences of fleeing drivers in hit-and-run accidents vary by state. Many states consider a hit-and-run accident a serious crime if someone is seriously injured or the vehicle is seriously damaged, whether or not someone else is injured.

Hit-and-runs can also be classified as misdemeanors. For example, in Pennsylvania, fleeing from an accident is a third offense – you can receive a fine of $2,500, be sent to jail for up to one year, or both.

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What to do if someone hits your car while driving

If someone crashes into your car while you’re driving, the first thing you should do is make sure you and your passengers, if you have one, are safe. Here are the steps you can take if someone hits your car on the road:

1. Pull to a safe place

If possible, move to a safer area to stay out of harm’s way. Yes, there are times when you may need to stay quiet until medical personnel arrive. Your safety is the most important thing in the event of a car accident.

2. Call 911

If you or others drivers or passengers in the accident need medical attention, call 911 immediately. Although no one is injured, it is best to call the police. The police can write an accident report, which can be very important in supporting your claim when you file an insurance claim.

3. Exchange information with all drivers

Find the names, addresses, and license numbers of all the drivers involved in the accident. You will also need to obtain all driver’s licenses and license plates. Remember, asking to see a driver’s license and vehicle registration is the best way to verify a driver’s information.

When gathering information, it’s a good idea to get the names and contact information of other travelers and any witnesses at the scene.

4. Take pictures

Use your camera or cell phone to record the damage and other important information at the accident scene, such as skid marks or the weather.

5. Contact your insurance provider

Notify the insurance provider as soon as possible after the accident so that they can file a claim. Your agent can advise you on the following examples and what to expect during the appeal process.

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Will your insurance go up if your car is hit?

In general, your car insurance premiums and insurance provider can increase when you have an accident. Unfortunately, it is the same even if you were not at fault when someone hit your car, although this depends on your country, your insurance, and the amount of damage.

For example, if an uninsured motorist hits your car, the insurance carrier can raise your premiums after using your uninsured/underinsured vehicle to pay for the damages. However, the effect on your premium is usually small if you are at fault.

Paying a lot of money for an accident you didn’t cause is frustrating, to say the least. But you can prevent any escalation by taking action save money on your car insurance.

Accidental forgiveness

If you have an accident waiver through your insurance provider, your premiums will not increase after your first accident, even if you are at fault. You can buy this as a premium for your car insurance, or earn it by driving for a long time without an accident.

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