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Sorting out a parking-lot fender-bender


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Question: My friend was driving my car. While it was parked she got hit. Both she and I have insurance, as does the person who hit the car. A police report was filed. What do I do next? Who pays and do I have to inform my insurance company?

Answer:  It sounds as if you have done everything right so far.  A police report was filed, and personal and insurance information were exchanged at the scene of the accident.  What you should do next is contact the car insurance company of the at-fault party to file a property damage liability claim.

As long as your friend parked your car legally, then the damages to your car should be found to be fully the fault of the driver who hit it, which means that car owner’s insurance should pay for your car’s damages. Once the claim is made, the insurance company will investigate the claim by talking to your friend that was in the parked car and the driver of the other car and looking at the vehicles involved.  (See "The parking-lot car insurance claim")

If your friend did nothing wrong, the other party’s car insurance company should accept full liability and pay for the damages your parked car received.  Also, as part of this third-party claim, you should receive a rental car to use while your car is being repaired, since you have lost the use of your vehicle due to the other party’s negligence.

You can inform your car insurance company about the incident, especially if you feel like the other person’s insurance limits will be exceeded.  If you have collision coverage you could even make a claim through it, instead of going through the at-fault driver’s insurance; however, you then would have to pay your deductible and have this claim listed on your claims history.

In case this was a much worse than average parking-lot scuffle, if your car is seriously damaged in the accident it may be totaled out. Instead of repair, the insurer would pay you its actual cash value (ACV).

If your friend was in the parked car and was injured when the person hit it, then in most states she would make a claim against the at-fault party’s bodily injury liability coverage.  But if you are in a no-fault state, then she’d make a claim against her own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, since you said she was insured. If she were without insurance herself in a no-fault state, then usually she’d make a claim against your PIP coverage.

 

 

 

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