There is no worse feeling: after parking your car for a while, you come back to find a giant scratch and dent in your bumper. It hits you. Someone has obviously hit your parked car – and they didn’t leave a note. What do you do now?

Contact the Authorities

When you contact the police, they will review the accident and create an official accident report. The accident report will be helpful when you file an insurance claim, so be sure to ask for a copy of the report for your records. Also, it’s wise to jot down their name and badge number so that you may contact them with additional questions.

Document the Scene

Make notes about as many of the accident specifics as possible: what time of day did the accident occur? Where was your car parked? What were the weather conditions around the time of the accident? Use the phone on your camera to take photos of the damage, and (if possible) landmarks that would help you identify the location in the future. Look for debris and tire marks around the scene of the parking lot accident that could give you clues about the driver that left the scene.

Talk to Witnesses

If you are lucky, someone witnessed the accident and stuck around to tell you about it. Ask that they stay until the police arrive to give their statement to the authorities. But what if you’re not that lucky? Many businesses have security cameras that record parking lots. If you see a camera that might have caught your accident, jot down its location and share it with the police when they arrive. The officer will be able to request camera footage and get a better idea of the driver and the vehicle they are looking for.

File an Insurance Claim

Your insurance agent is your next call. Contact your Farm Bureau agent to file your insurance claim. Your agent (or the claims representative) will be able to begin the claims process, share information about auto body shops for repair work, and walk you through the claims process. The photos you took? Your agent may ask for copies for their records.

If you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation, leave the investigative work to the authorities, and trust that you have the right insurance coverage to handle the damage to your car. If your policy has provisions for collision and uninsured and underinsured motorists, you’re in luck! Talk to your Farm Bureau agent about the coverage you need and protecting yourself from accidents you can’t prevent.