Do Insurance Companies Cover Parking Lot Accidents?

Did you know 20% of all accidents occur in parking lots? Fortunately, with the right coverage, your insurance will protect your vehicle!
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
Car insurance
companies cover parking lot accidents by reviewing the evidence, determining fault, and allocating appropriate compensation—but only if you have the right coverage!
  • It depends on the circumstances and your individual coverage, but insurers will generally cover parking lot accidents.
  • If you were not at fault, the other driver’s insurance will pay for your damages.
  • If you were at fault and you only have liability insurance, your insurance will only pay out for the other driver’s damages and medical bills.
  • If you were at fault and you hit another vehicle, your insurance will cover your damages if you have collision coverage.

Do insurance companies cover parking lot accidents?

According to CBS News, almost 20% of all car accidents occur in parking lots. But there’s another underlying statistic that is more to blame. According to a public opinion poll conducted by the
National Safety Council
, here’s how many respondents say they do the following activities while driving through parking lots:
  • Make phone calls: 66%
  • Program GPS systems: 63%
  • Text: 56%
  • Use social media: 52%
  • Send or receive emails: 50%
  • Take photos or watch videos: 49%
Unfortunately, these distracting activities take your eyes away from maneuvering through the parking lot’s close quarters. This can lead to an accident due to you missing a stop sign, ignoring the right-of-way rules, or cutting corners too tight. And while less consequential, you may also miss that front-row parking spot if you’re not focused on what’s in front of you!
But to answer the question at hand: yes, car insurance companies will cover parking lot accidents as long as you have the right coverage for the circumstances.
Allow us to elaborate. Here are the specific coverages your insurance policy will need for at-fault, not-at-fault, and hit-and-run accidents in parking lots (may vary by state).
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If someone else was at fault

Example scenario: Your car is perfectly positioned between the yellow lines of the parking space. Unfortunately, another motorist hits your rear bumper after turning too sharp into the spot next to you.
Insurance claim: Since your car was not moving and you were appropriately parked, you won’t assume any fault. In this case, you will receive compensation through the other driver’s insurance company using their
liability coverage
—which covers
property damage
to your vehicle and any medical bills from
personal injuries
you sustained.

If you were at fault

Example scenario: You’re rushing to get groceries for a work potluck you forgot about. As you enter the parking lot, you completely miss a stop sign and collide with another vehicle.
Insurance claim: Since you broke right-of-way rules, you’ll most likely be deemed the at-fault driver. The only way you’ll be able to claim reimbursement for repairs is if you have
collision coverage
. One important note: with collision coverage, you’re required you to meet your deductible before reimbursement kicks in.
Rule exception: If your claims adjuster determines the accident resulted from one of the distracting activities outlined earlier (programming GPS, using your phone, etc.), your collision/comprehensive claim may be denied.

If it was a hit-and-run car accident

Example scenario: You parked on the street for your friend’s Super Bowl party. Once the big game is over, you find your car has been sideswiped.
Insurance claim: Obviously, you won’t be able to exchange insurance information with a driver who fled the scene. So unless some sort of surveillance footage (security cameras, ring doorbells, witnesses, etc.) can identify the hit-and-run culprit, you may have to rely on your collision coverage and
uninsured motorist coverage
. However, you may have to pay out of pocket for repairs if you don’t have either of these optional coverages.

Will car insurance rates increase after a parking lot accident?

auto insurance rate can increase after a parking lot accident
, but again, it depends on the circumstances. You shouldn’t have to worry about a rate hike if you're not at fault. But if you are deemed at fault, you could face a 50% rate hike.
However, the penalties become substantially worse if you’re convicted of a hit-and-run. In this case, you’ll likely need to
file for an SR-22
to avoid a driver’s license suspension. And with an SR-22, your insurance provider may jack up your rates by 100 to 200%. So let the lesson here be this: running away from the scene of an accident can cost you more in the long term.
If you feel like your rate has been unjustifiably raised, you can always test the market and
shop for better insurance quotes

How to report a parking lot accident to your insurance company

First and foremost, don’t panic! Stay at the parking lot accident scene—you don’t want a simple fender bender or door ding to turn into a hit-and-run. Once you’ve collected yourself, you’ll need to file a car accident claim report with your insurance company.
Begin by trying to locate the owner of the vehicle. If you can, exchange information (phone number, insurance details, etc.) and call law enforcement if necessary (will depend on the extent of damages).
If you cannot locate the car’s owner, leave a note with your insurance and contact information. You’ll also be required to report the incident to law enforcement (make sure to check your state laws).
Finally, bundle together all the details before submitting your claim, including your insurance info, the other driver’s contact and insurance information, photos and videos from all involved parties, the police report, surveillance footage, and any accounts from witnesses.
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The claims adjuster will determine fault in a parking lot accident by reviewing various sources of evidence, including photos and videos from all involved parties, the police report, any available security camera footage, and eyewitness accounts.
If you hit a parked car, it is your legal responsibility to locate the owner and exchange insurance and contact information. Failure to do so could fetch you a hit-and-run conviction. To avoid this situation, follow this
to jump to the section where we discuss how to report a parking lot accident.
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