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When you’re backing your car up and hear the hard crunch of a bumper, you get a sickening feeling. Your first thought may be: “I hit a parked car–will my insurance go up?” In this article, we’ll walk you through what to do after you hit a parked car and discuss how this type of collision could affect your insurance rate.

Even if you like your provider, it never hurts to look for cheaper coverage. Read our review of the best car insurance companies and compare free quotes from at least a few to find the best option for you.

Key Points:

  • Your car insurance premium will probably go up if you hit a parked car.
  • Doing a hit-and-run could get you a fine and time in jail.
  • Choosing a car insurance company that offers accident forgiveness can help you avoid a rate increase.


What Should I Do If I Hit A Parked Car?

How you should proceed after hitting a parked car depends on the circumstances. The first thing you should do is check to see if you damaged the other vehicle. If you’re driving slowly enough, there’s a chance you didn’t damage the other car.

However, car bumpers are designed to crumple. This is a safety feature that reduces impact force on passengers in the event of a full-speed collision. It’s really easy to damage another car’s bumper even at low speeds.

If you damaged the other car, the worst thing you can do is drive away and hope no one saw you. Hit-and-run accidents can result in steep fines and even jail time. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Check to see if anyone is in the other vehicle and if they’re injured.
  • Call emergency services if necessary. In many states, you’re required to notify the police after a car accident if someone is injured or property damages exceed a certain value.
  • If the vehicle is empty, stay and look for the car’s owner.
  • If you can’t find the vehicle’s owner, leave a note on the windshield with your name and contact information.
  • If you do find the other driver, exchange information. Include your name, insurance information (like your provider and policy number), and contact info. If you don’t have car insurance, leave your contact information at the very least.
  • Take pictures of the damages.

When you hit a parked car, you’re usually considered at fault. An exception may be if the car you ran into was parked illegally. In this case, document this fact. Take pictures and collect contact information from witnesses (if there are any). If there are security cameras nearby, ask the owners for a copy of the footage. If the other car was indeed parked illegally, you may end up filing an insurance claim against the person whose car you hit.

If you’re the at-fault driver, your property damage liability insurance will cover the other car’s repairs. You may try to settle the issue without contacting insurers. However, if the other driver insists on involving insurance companies, there’s little you can do to prevent it.


I Hit A Parked Car–Will My Insurance Go Up?

Any time you file a claim with your insurance company, there’s a chance your rate will increase. When you hit a parked car, your insurance company treats it the same as a road collision. Most likely, you’ll be found at fault and your car insurance rate will go up.

Opt For An Accident Forgiveness Policy

Many providers offer accident forgiveness car insurance policies, which guarantee  your rate won’t rise after you file a claim. This coverage generally works for one accident and often takes effect after you go a certain amount of time without filing a claim (usually five years). While some companies provide accident forgiveness for free, others sell it as a policy add-on.

Geico, USAA, and Progressive all offer accident forgiveness. Contact your provider and ask if it offers accident forgiveness policies–it’s possible you have one and don’t even know it.


Do I Have To Pay A Deductible If I Hit A Parked Car?

Whether you pay a deductible after an accident depends on the types of claims you file. When you hit a parked car, your liability auto insurance covers the other car’s damages and any medical expenses for the other driver and their passengers if they’re hurt in the accident. Liability coverage generally doesn’t have a deductible.

To have your vehicle’s repairs covered, you’ll need to file an insurance claim through your collision coverage. Collision insurance usually comes with a deductible. If you don’t have this type of coverage (or don’t want to pay the deductible for it), you’ll need to pay for your car’s repairs out of pocket.


Does Auto Insurance Go Up After You Hit A Parked Car?: Conclusion

If you file a claim, you can reasonably expect your car insurance premium to increase. Your liability coverage will likely pay for the damages when you hit a parked car, but the other party may not want to get insurance companies involved if there’s minimal damage or no damage at all. If the car you hit is unoccupied, document the accident and leave the other driver a note with your contact info.

Our Recommendations For Car Insurance

It’s a good time to look at other options for car insurance if your provider’s claim process turns out to be a nightmare or you get dropped for filing too many claims. Geico and USAA are two good alternatives to consider.

Geico: Best For Discounts

Geico is the third largest auto insurer on the market, and it’s known especially for its below-average rates and excellent discounts. The provider offers a policy that forgives one accident for drivers 21 or older who’ve been accident-free for five years or more. Depending on your driving record, this insurance coverage is either free or available at an additional cost.

A clean driving record can also save you up to 22 percent on your premium with Geico, as it qualifies you for the Good Driver discount. You can get additional savings for doing things such as taking a defensive driving course and using your seat belt.

USAA: Best For Military Members

USAA was founded as a mutual self-insurance collective in 1922. The company was started by military officers, and it provides insurance and banking products exclusively for service members, veterans, and their spouses and children.

If you’re a USAA policyholder and you hit a parked car, your insurance premium may not go up. USAA customers who’ve been members and accident-free for five years won’t see their premiums increase after one at-fault accident. This feature is free for drivers who qualify.

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FAQ: Does Auto Insurance Go Up After You Hit A Parked Car?

How We Rate Insurers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car insurance providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a car insurance company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between insurers because so many factors impact annual premiums. The cheapest insurer for one driver may not be the cheapest for another. To determine our cost score, we look at insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, discount opportunities, and consumer reports.
  • Coverage: To determine our coverage score, we look at the number of coverage options available as well as coverage limits and deductible options. Our ratings also take into account additional services and benefits like roadside assistance.
  • Reliability: It’s important that an auto insurer is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong financial strength rating from AM Best score best in this category. Established insurers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Service: We comb through customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to learn about customer experiences. Insurers with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the claims process, giving higher ratings to car insurance providers that offer easy-to-use claims apps.

*Data accurate at time of publication.