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What to Do When Someone Hits Your Parked Car in the UK

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated December, 23, 2022

Returning to your parked vehicle only to find that it has been hit by someone can be quite stressful, especially if the driver who did it didn’t even bother to leave a note. Unfortunately, these types of car crashes are more common than you think, which is why it is important for drivers to know what exactly they should do in these kinds of situations.

Read our guide to find out what to do when someone hits your parked car in the UK.

What steps to take when someone hits your parked car?

Regardless of whether your car was parked in a parking lot, on the street or in front of your house, if a driver accidentally crashed it, you should treat it as any other car accident. If the driver remains at the scene, you should exchange information and contact your insurer so they can make a non-fault accident claim against their policy.

Alternatively, the driver may offer you to cover the costs for repairs and avoid premium increases from filing a claim.

If, however, the driver that hit your parked car has left the scene, follow these steps to ensure that the situation is handled properly:

  • Check and see if they left a note – First thing you should do is to check whether the driver has left any note with their details. If someone crashes your car, they’re required by law to leave a note with their name, phone number, address and plate number.
  • Assess the damage – Take clear photos of your car’s damage and the location where you were parked. Most insurance companies will require proof of the damage, so make sure you’ve documented everything, even the tiniest scratches.
  • Contact the third party – If the driver left their contact number, you should give them a call as soon as possible and exchange insurance details. They may be willing to pay for the damage, so you won’t have to involve your insurance company. If that is the case, you should get a quote for the repairs from a car body shop.
  • Contact your insurer – Even if you decide to let the driver pay for the damage, it is important to update your insurer for any damage caused to your vehicle. On the other hand, if you do decide to make a claim, ask your insurer to check the driver’s insurance details. If they have a valid insurance policy, their insurance will cover the damage, but if they’re not insured, you’ll have to make a claim through the uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy. 

Related: What size vehicle can you park on a residential street?

What to do when someone hits your parked car and doesn’t leave a note? 

But what if someone hit my parked car and drove off? Well, this is where things get much more complicated. If your parked car was hit and the driver left the scene without leaving a note, the accident is referred to as hit and run. 

After causing damage to another vehicle, drivers are legally required to stop and leave a note with their contact details if the car owner is not there. 

Therefore, a hit and run on a parked car in the UK is considered a criminal offence under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act and can result in 5-10 penalty points, up to a 5.000 fine and even a potential prison sentence of up to six months.

However, according to RAC Insurance, only 9% of drivers leave notes after hitting a car, so chances are you won’t find any notes.

Fortunately, there are still some ways you may be able to get help. Here is what you need to do if your car was hit while parked and the driver didn’t leave a note:

  • Don’t leave the scene – If you find that your car was hit when parked, you may be tempted to drive off and catch the driver who did it. However, if you do so, you could lose some important evidence. Thus, stay at the scene and try to gather all the necessary information.
  • Check for any witnesses or CCTV cameras – Ask pedestrians, residents or retailers near where your car was parked if they saw something. In case they did write down the description of the vehicle and take down the witnesses’ personal details. Also, if your car was damaged in a public car park or outside a shop or business, there would probably be CCTV footage that may help you track down the hit-and-run driver.
  • Call the police – Since hit-and-runs are illegal, you’ll need to file a police report. The police might also be able to help you track down the driver who hit your car.
  • Take photos and videos – Take as many pictures and videos of the damage as you can. Make sure you get clear pictures from various angles and zoom in on any damage you see.  Even minor scratches that will cost you money to repair should be documented. Also, don’t forget to write down the time and location of the accident.
  • Get in touch with your insurance provider – Regardless of how minor the damage is, you should notify your insurer as soon as possible, as failing to do so may invalidate your policy.

Should I make a claim on my insurance if someone hit my car and drove off?

If you can’t identify the hit-and-run driver, you can either claim on your own insurance or pay for the damage yourself.

If you do decide to claim on your insurance, check with your insurance provider to see which type of coverage will cover you for hit-and-run accidents. Depending on your policy, you may have to claim your collision or uninsured motorist coverage so that they can compensate you for the damage.

One thing you should be aware of, though, is that if you claim on your insurance, you may need to pay your excess amount, and you might lose your no-claims bonus, which will increase your insurance premiums.

Therefore, if the damage was minor, paying for the repairs yourself may turn out less costly in the long term than claiming on your insurance.

Bottom line 

If you are wondering what to do when someone hits your parked car in the UK, the first thing do you should do is get in touch with them and discuss your options. If they have a valid insurance policy, you’ll be able to make a claim against their insurance and get compensation for the damage, or they may be willing to cover the repair costs.

However, if the driver didn’t leave a note and you’re not able to identify them, you’ll have to decide whether you want to make a claim on your own insurance or cover the damage by yourself. Regardless of your decision, always contact your insurer and inform them about the accident, as failing to do so may invalidate your policy.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.