Returning to your car to find it has been damaged can be a stressful situation, no matter what the circumstances. With almost one in five British drivers admitting to crashing into a parked car and driving away, parked cars being hit and damaged in some way is unfortunately a semi-regular occurrence. This, of course, can be a concern for the more than 32.4 million British drivers.
If you find yourself in this predicament it can be a highly emotional and infuriating experience, so we’ve pulled together some tips to help simplify the process:
Take a deep breath
Being caught in this circumstance can be frustrating and upsetting. Take a moment to compose yourself, and think about the next course of action.
Firstly you should look for a note. The third party who hit your car is legally obligated to leave their contact information when you are not present. If they haven’t left any details this is a crime and they can risk criminal charges. The note should usually include:
- Their name
- Licence plate number
- An explanation of what happened
While this is the correct course of action, it is not always adhered to. With only 9% of motorists finding a note on their car after the damage was caused, this unfortunately leaves 91% of affected motorists without any information as to who hit them.
Also remember that the same applies to you – if you hit another car and there is no one else present you should always leave a note with your details included.
Smile, you’re on camera
If you’re left with a damaged car and no information as to who is at fault, the next solution is to see whether there is any CCTV in the area that would have footage of the incident. If there is no CCTV, it’s worth trying to see if someone else was around to see the incident. If the accident occurs in a busy or fairly populated area, there’s a high chance someone has witnessed your car being hit – and may be able to identify what the third party’s vehicle looks like.
Remember to take pictures of the damage your vehicle has received, before getting it fixed. Ideally, take the photos as soon as you can see damage to your car. Make sure that the images are clear and focused. Using a smartphone will provide you with a time, date and location stamp; this information can be found in the photo’s detail. These photos will be advantageous when contacting your insurance provider, or in other instances where you may require proof.
If you have received a note with the details of the third party, contact them to discuss insurance options. The police and insurance company also need to be contacted and informed about the incident. Provided that your vehicle was parked legally, the third party may be at fault. The next step is to decide whether you want to go through your insurance company. This is the ideal process to go through as, if the third party has left their contact details they usually will have notified their insurance company – which allows you to leave this to the insurance companies to rectify. There is also the option of paying for the repairs yourself if they are minor, or some third parties may be willing to pay for the damage in order to not involve insurance companies.
However, if you have been left with no information about the third party, you are left with two choices. You can pay the repair costs for the damage yourself, or claim through your insurance.
Remember: it doesn’t matter how slight the damage is; you should always inform your insurance company if you are involved in any sort of accident.
If you have questions about damage to your car or the process we take following an accident here at insurethebox, get in touch with one of our friendly team today.