With all the odd maneuverings happening in parking lots around Harford County, Maryland, it’s no surprise that hundreds of cars we’ve repaired suffered from parking lot damage. You have people pulling into spaces, people double parking, certain maniacs (you know who you are) cutting across parking spots, and all sorts of chaos happening—not to mention pedestrians, kids on skateboards, and runaway shopping carts. Yes, parking lots are just asking for trouble. So what do you do if your car has become another casualty in the great parking lot wars?
First, call the police and exchange insurance information. Even if the damage is minor, be sure to exchange insurance information. Most car insurance companies won’t require a police report for a minor parking lot accident. Many times the police will tell you to exchange information on your own. But you can tell the insurance company that you did call, but that the police didn’t respond. And if the cops do show up, you’ve got a police report that lays out the facts. If police don’t respond you should exchange names, contact information, license numbers, and insurance companies and policy numbers. If there are witnesses, get their names and phone numbers as well. If you hit an unoccupied car, most states require that you find the owner or leave a note so that he or she can contact you.
Next, take pictures. Take pictures even if you believe you were at fault. Luckily, many of us these days carry smart phones with us, so this is another instance in which our phones can help us out in a jam. Take photos not only of the damaged area, but also of the whole vehicle itself. You don’t want to be asked to repair damage that you didn’t cause.
Call your insurance company. Tell your own insurance company exactly what happened. Your car insurance liability coverage—the coverage you’re required to buy—will pay for the other driver’s car if you’re determined to be at fault. If another car hits yours but the driver fails to leave a note, your own collision coverage (assuming you carry it) would pay any auto insurance. If another car hits yours and the other driver is at fault, his property damage liability coverage would repair your car. If the facts are in dispute, exchange information and tell your own insurer your side rather than hashing it out in a parking lot. Let the adjusters settle it.
Rest assured. Bring your car into Bel Air Autobody and we can repair your parking lot damage right away. Even if it’s just a ding in the car door, our technicians can employ Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) as a low-cost solution for you. In most cases they are able to visually assess whether Paintless Dent Repair will suffice for the damage to your vehicle. In instances that are difficult to determine visually, our techs will carefully test PDR methods to see if they can repair the damage without having to resort to other measures.