What to Do If You Crash Into a Car In Your Driveway

If you crash into a car on your driveway, start by reporting it to your insurance provider. Then, consider the repair options available to you.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Edited by Bellina Gaskey
If you hit a parked car in your driveway, call your
car insurance
company right away. But before filing a claim, make sure it’s worth it.
  • If you hit someone else’s car in your driveway, you should file an insurance claim.
  • If you hit your own car in the driveway, it’s a little more complicated (and it may not be worth filing a claim).
  • Consider your deductible and your claims history before you decide to file a claim vs. paying out-of-pocket.
  • Your premium might increase after a car accident in your driveway.
MORE: How to file a car accident claim report

What to do if you hit a car in your driveway

If you hit a parked car in your driveway, you need to call your insurance provider right away. Whether you
file a claim
to cover the damage is up to you. 
But let’s assume you want to move forward with a claim. If you’re the at-fault driver, your insurance company will make the payout for the claim. The less time you wait to file, the more likely you will get a favorable outcome.
Just like any claims process, you will need to collect information from the other driver. It’s always a good idea to take photographs of the scene, too.
Who owns the car you hit can make a difference in terms of deductible payouts. If you hit one of your vehicles in the driveway, you might be on the hook for two deductibles. If another driver owns the car, the deductible for the not-at-fault driver will likely be waived.
Take note: This driveway incident will be covered by your car insurance coverage in most cases, not
home insurance
. Your home insurance usually won’t cover a vehicle damaged while parked in front of your house. 
The only time your homeowners insurance might offer coverage is if the car does not belong to you and the owner finds you to be liable for damages.

If you hit a family member’s car

If you hit a friend or family member’s car, you’ll need to handle the incident like any other.
  • Almost all states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of
    property damage liability
    that will help take care of the damage to the other car. But it won’t cover damage to your car. 
  • You will need to have
    collision coverage
    in place to claim those expenses.
Assuming that you were the at-fault driver, you will probably see a surcharge on your premium at your next renewal. Insurance providers
typically increase rates
if you have an at-fault accident on your recent driving record. This applies even if the accident was in your own driveway.

If you hit your own car

If you crash into a car you own, you’ll need a collision insurance policy for each vehicle you want to claim for. You might also be responsible for paying two deductibles.
  • Liability insurance
    will only cover the expenses incurred by another party if you are at fault. The problem here is that when you hit your own car, you are the only party involved. 
  • This means that your minimum state-mandated insurance won’t cut it.

If you hit a car while pulling out of your driveway

If you hit a car while backing out of your driveway you will probably be considered at fault, even if the vehicle was parked illegally. Most states consider it the driver’s responsibility to safely navigate obstacles—even ones that shouldn’t be there.
  • You could hire a lawyer, but it’s much quicker and easier just to let your insurance cover it. 
  • Your car insurance adjuster will find a way to hold the other driver responsible if there is one.
Key takeaway: While the outcome might differ depending on who owns the car you hit, the process is much the same. The first thing you’ll need to do is report the accident to your insurer.

Do I pay for the claim myself?

If the damage is minor or you want to avoid filing a claim, you may choose to pay for the damage yourself. This is typically the most practical way to handle things if the damage to both cars is minimal.
However: If you handle a claim yourself and the other driver sues, you could be left with little legal recourse. The insurance company might not be able to defend you if you didn’t officially file a claim.
Here are some considerations when deciding whether to file a claim with your insurer:
If the damage is less than the deductible amount: Filing a claim with your insurance company might not be worth it. You’ll end up paying more than you would if you dealt with the cost of repairs out of pocket.
That said, filing a claim with your insurance provider can help you avoid any threat of lawsuits.
If the repair costs exceed the deductible: Even if the repair costs are slightly higher than the deductible, you might consider covering the costs out of pocket. When you file an insurance claim for an at-fault accident, your insurance company could increase your premium.
Some insurance companies offer
accident forgiveness
programs if you haven’t had an at-fault accident. If this is the case, you could save money by letting your insurance provider handle the damage.
If you’ve filed other claims in the past three years: If you already have one or more at-fault accidents on your record in the past few years, you could face hefty insurance increases if you make another claim.
If there is minimal damage to both cars, you might consider paying for it yourself instead of filing an insurance claim.
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If you hit an uninsured car in your driveway, you can turn to uninsured motorist coverage if you have it. If you have no insurance, though, you’ll have to cover the damage yourself.
It's down to your insurance company to hash out how premiums and costs might change. But your insurance costs may go up even if you didn’t cause a collision, especially if you’ve filed other claims in the past.
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