“Jessica, I just opened my door in the parking lot and hit someone else’s car. I see paint on the other vehicle from my truck. What do I do?” This was a phone call I received from my husband the other day while I was at work. Not ideal, but it happens.
We have a few options in this scenario, right?
- Quick drive away and hope no one saw you
- Stick around until the owner returns
- Leave a note in a clearly visible spot with contact information and what happened
Of course option #1 should NEVER be an option. What if you were the owner of the other vehicle returning to find someone hit your car and dissapeared without leaving a note? Not cool! Options 2 & 3 are both great options and the right thing to do. My husband was running errands so he couldn’t wait around; therefore, I instructed him to leave his contact information along with a note. I then instructed him to let the vehicle owner know he will need to get an estimate when he calls as almost all insurance companies will require that when filing a claim. That would also give us an idea of how much damage we are dealing with if we chose to pay out of pocket.
Some may say, “But this is Michigan NO-FAULT, so it doesn’t matter if it’s my fault, they will have to file with their own insurance carrier anyhow, right?” Not true in this case. If the other vehicle is parked when you damage it, this is an exception, and the damage would fall under your insurance policy. I notified Cassie in our personal insurance department here and gave her a heads up as Jonathan also left VAST’s phone number. We have the option, depending on the value of the damage, to pay out of pocket or file this claim. This is certainly something to chew on, as filing the claim and having the insurance company pay for our accident is convenient and nice that we aren’t out any money, but ultimately could affect our premium in the future. If the amount of damage is minimal it is recommended you take care of it out of pocket to avoid a claim, which helps your policy history and premium in the long run.
We have yet to receive a call, and we may get lucky and the owner won’t pursue anything, or was just able to buff the paint out himself. However, either way I feel confident my husband did the right thing. We know the options we have, and he knows how to handle the call once it comes.
*If you are ever a victim of a hit and run scenario you can report the claim to your insurance agent. This claim would be covered under your auto policy as long as you have collision coverage on that vehicle. Your deductible will come into play unless you have the option of BROAD collision with your insurance carrier and carry it on that vehicle. With BROAD collision your deductible is waived when an accident is not your fault.