What to Do If You Crash Into a Car In Your Driveway
- What to do
- Do I pay for the claim?
- Cheap car insurance
If you hit a parked car in your driveway, call your insurance company right away. But before filing a claim, make sure it’s worth it.
If you have cheap car insurance with a high deductible, you might be better off paying out of pocket.
If you got into a driveway accident and you’re not quite sure what to do, car insurance comparison shopping app Jerry has put together everything you need to know.
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 to let them know. Whether you file a claim to cover the damage or not 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 make a claim, the more likely you will secure a favorable outcome.
Just like any claims process, you will need to collect information from the other driver. It’s a good idea to take photographs of the scene, too—just in case they might be helpful later on.
The ownership of the car you hit can make a difference in terms of deductible payouts. If you hit one of your own 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.
If you hit a family member’s car ||| Family member’s car
If you hit a friend or family member’s car, you’ll need to handle it like any other claim.
Almost all states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of property damage liability insurance that will help take care of the damage to the other car. But if your own vehicle needs repairs, you will need to have a collision insurance policy 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—and this applies even if the accident was in your own driveway or there was only damage to one vehicle.
If you hit a car you own ||| 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 blocking your driveway
If you hit a car blocking 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.
Note that 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 questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to file a claim with your insurer:
Is the damage less than the deductible amount?
If so, 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.
Do 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.
Have you 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.
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Key Takeaway If there is minimal damage to both cars, you might consider paying for it yourself instead of filing an insurance claim.
Finding the best insurance rates after an accident
If you’ve had to file a claim after hitting a parked car in your driveway, now is the ideal time to shop around for insurance savings. Some insurance providers offer more affordable coverage than others for drivers who have less-than-perfect driving records.
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