You’ve been there before – you’re backing out of your parking space in a crowded lot and you nick the bumper of another car, scraping bumpers and peeling paint on both cars. Who is at fault, and how do you handle the situation? Is a parking lot accident the same as a minor road accident? Use these tips to navigate this tricky situation after hitting a parked car.

Don’t Leave the Scene of the Accident

Even if it looks like there isn’t a lot of damage to their car, stick around and speak to the car owner. Leaving the scene without waiting could be considered a hit-and-run, which could count against you. Many parking lots are monitored by video cameras that will capture your license plate information, so the owner is likely to track you down if you abandon the parking lot accident. 

Leave a Note

If you’ve waited around and no one appears, the next best thing you can do is leave a note. Your note should include your name, address, phone number and/or email address. Avoid leaving specific insurance information but be sure that the owner of the car has a way to contact you. Leave the note securely under a windshield wiper blade so that your information won’t blow away.

Record the Scene

While you are there, take photos of both cars involved in the parking lot accident. If possible, take photos of any factors that might have led to the accident, such as a crowded parking lot with vehicles jutting too far into the aisle.

Alert the Authorities

Even if it’s a minor parking lot accident, it’s always a good idea to contact the local police. They will come out and file a report and may help you get in contact with the owner of the car. The police report will be an important part of your insurance claim and record crucial details you will need to remember later.

Call Your Agent

When you are involved in any accident, your agent should be your next phone call. They will help you ensure you have shared the correct information, documented the scene of the accident, and have covered your bases. The insurance company of the other motorist may file a claim, so it’s wise to give your agent a heads up. They can help you check your liability and collision coverage and remind you of your deductible.

What if Your Car Was Hit?

If someone hits you in the parking lot, you may be able to track down the person who hit you if there are witnesses or video footage. If not, you may be stuck with the repair bill. The accident may not count against you, but you may have to pay your deductible to have repairs done on your vehicle. It’s a good idea to contact the local police to file a report, and contact your agent to see if the accident would be covered.

Whether it’s a fender-bender or something more serious, when you are in an accident the right coverage can make all the difference. Contact your Farm Bureau agent to review your auto insurance, and ensure you are driving prepared.