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When you’re backing up your car, the hard crunch of a fiberglass composite bumper is a sickening feeling. Your first thought may be: “I hit a parked car – will my insurance go up?”

Parking lot collisions are among the most common types of car accidents, which makes sense. In a parking lot, there are a high number of vehicles in a small space. Parking lots also lead to many people driving in reverse.

It’s important to follow the right steps to ensure your mistake isn’t compounded by a series of subsequent bad choices. This article will walk you through the steps of what to do after you hit a parked car and discuss how hitting a parked car will affect your insurance rates.

It is only after you try to file a claim that you learn for yourself if your car insurance company is worth its premiums. Even if you like your provider, it never hurts to compare quotes. Read our review of the best car insurance companies and try our free quote tool to start comparing rates. You can also call our team at (844) 246-8209 to get free quotes seven days a week.

 

In this article:

 

What Should You Do After You Hit A Parked Car?

How you should proceed after hitting a parked car depends on the circumstance. The first thing you should do is check to see if you have damaged the other vehicle. If you are driving slowly enough, there is a chance you did not damage the other car.

However, car bumpers are designed to crumple. This is a safety feature that reduces impact force on passengers in the event of a full speed collision. It is really easy to destroy another car’s bumper even at low speeds.

If you have damaged the other car, the worst thing you can do is drive away and hope that nobody saw you. Hit and runs can result in steep fines and even possible jail time. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Check to see if anyone was in the other vehicle and if they are injured.
  2. Call emergency services if necessary. In many states, you are required to notify the police after a car accident if someone is injured or damages exceed a certain value.
  3. If the vehicle is empty, stay and look for the car’s owner.
  4. If you can’t find the car’s owner, leave a note on the windshield with your name and contact information. 
  5. If you do find the other driver, exchange information. Make sure to include your name, insurance information (provider, policy number, etc.), and contact info. If you do not have car insurance, make sure to leave your contact information at the very least.
  6. Take pictures of the damages.

Usually when you hit a parked car, you are considered at fault. An exception is if the car you ran into was parked illegally. In this case, be sure to document this fact. Take pictures and collect contact information from witnesses (if there are any). If there are any security cameras nearby, ask the owners for a copy of the footage. If the other car was indeed parked illegally, you may end up filing a claim against the person whose car you hit.

If you are at fault, your liability insurance will cover the damage. You may try to settle the issue without contacting insurers. However, if the other driver insists on involving insurance companies, there is little you can do to prevent it.

 


 

You Hit A Parked Car – Will Your Insurance Go Up?

Anytime you file a claim with your insurance company, there is a chance your rates will increase. When you hit a parked car, it is treated the same as a road collision by insurance companies. Most likely, you will be found at fault and your insurance rates will increase.

Accident Forgiveness

Many providers offer accident forgiveness insurance policies. These policies are a guarantee that your rates will not rise after you file a claim. Such policies usually go into effect after a certain amount of time without filing a claim (usually five years) and work for one accident.

Geico, USAA, and Progressive all offer accident forgiveness policies. Contact your provider and ask if it offers an accident forgiveness policy as well. It’s possible you have one and don’t even know it.

 


 

Do You Have To Pay A Deductible If You Hit A Parked Car?

Whether or not you pay a deductible after an accident depends on your insurance policy. When you hit a parked car, the other car will be covered under your liability auto insurance. It will also pay for any medical expenses for the other driver if they are hurt in the accident. Liability coverage policies do not generally have a deductible.

To pay for repairs to your own vehicle, you will file a claim through your collision coverage. Collision usually comes with a deductible. It is not required by law, and if you do not have collision coverage, you will need to pay for your own repairs out of pocket.

 


 

Our Recommendations For Car Insurance

If your claim process turns out to be a nightmare, it may be a good time to look at other options. Or you may be forced to consider alternatives if you are dropped for filing too many claims. In either case, it certainly doesn’t hurt to look at car insurance quotes, which you can do by using the quote comparison tool below or by calling (844) 246-8209.

 

Also consider learning more about two of our top recommended providers: Geico and USAA. Read about these companies below and see how they compare to one another in our comparison of Geico vs USAA.

#1 Best Overall: Geico

Geico Insurance logo

We give Geico 4.5 out of 5.0 stars, and it is our highest-rated provider that is available to everyone. Geico is the second largest insurance company in the U.S. and regularly ranks highly in the J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance StudySM Overall Customer Satisfaction Index. It has an AM Best financial strength rating of A++ and a Better Business Bureau rating of A+.

We think Geico is a good choice because of its high customer satisfaction levels and low premiums. One reason that Geico is cheap for so many customers is that it offers a wide range of discounts, including:

  • Good student discount
  • Defensive driver discount
  • Discounts for airbags, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices
  • Federal employee discount
  • Military discount
  • Good driver discount
  • Multiple policy discount
  • Multiple vehicle discount

While prices will vary by customer and region, the U.S. News & World Report found that the average Geico annual premium is $1,063.10 ($89/month).

Geico offers a free accident forgiveness policy that forgives one accident for drivers over 21 who have been accident-free for five years or more.

Fun fact: Ever wonder why other insurance companies have human spokespeople, but Geico uses a digital gecko? In 1999 when Geico first started running the gecko ads, there was a Screen Actors Guild strike that prevented the use of live actors. For more information, read our full Geico review.

 


 

#2 Best For Military: USAA

USAA Insurance logo

USAA was founded as a mutual self-insurance collective in 1922. It is today one of the largest U.S. corporations in terms of total revenue. USAA was started by military officers and continues to offer insurance and banking products specifically for servicepeople. This is why USAA is only available to military members and their families.

If you hit a parked car, your insurance may not go up with a USAA policy. USAA customers will not see an increase in premiums for one at-fault accident after five years of membership. This feature is free in some states, but included for a fee in others.

We think a USAA policy is among the best options for those that are eligible. USAA often offers the lowest rates for some of the best coverage. And by all accounts, USAA customers are overwhelmingly pleased with the service and claims processes. It is the only provider that we rate a full 5.0 stars out of 5.0.

Every year, J.D. Power conducts a survey of the top insurers by contacting over 40,000 customers. It asks customers to rank their insurers by the following factors:

  • Interaction
  • Policy offerings
  • Price
  • Billing process
  • Policy information
  • Claims

In the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study Overall Customer Satisfaction Index (by U.S. region), USAA scored a full 5 out of 5 (“among the best”) in every region. USAA also receives top marks from AM Best with an A++ financial strength rating. Read our USAA insurance review for more information.

Fun Fact: Current USAA CEO Wayne Peacock is the first USAA CEO who is not a veteran of the U.S. armed forces.

 


 

FAQ: Does Auto Insurance Go Up After Hitting A Parked Car?

Does your insurance go up if you hit something?

Hitting or bumping into something it can turn into an expensive mistake. And unfortunately, it's not uncommon to see your auto insurance rates increase after damage has been done or when a claim has been filed.

What happens if I hit a parked car without insurance?

Generally, without car insurance, causing an accident means you will have to pay out-of-pocket. But, it's illegal in almost every state to drive a car uninsured and without proof of insurance, and the consequences of driving or being involved in an accident without proper insurance can be severe. It's important to make sure you have proper coverage so that your insurance company will pay for the damage and injuries you caused in the event of hitting a parked car.

What do you do if you bump a parked car and the owner is not around?

If you hit a car and the owner is not around, it is against the law to leave the scene and can be considered a hit and run if you flee. Odds are someone saw you hit the car, so running from the accident won't do anyone any good. The best option is to stay and wait for the owner to arrive back at their vehicle. If you can’t find the car’s owner, leave a note on the windshield with your name and contact information.

 


 

Methodology

In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
  • Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.

 

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