Am I Covered By Insurance If I Hit A Parked Car?

If you hit a parked car while driving, will your insurance cover you? Can you make an insurance claim for hitting a parked car? Are parking lot accidents treated the same way as road accidents?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about auto insurance coverage and hitting a parked car.

hitting a parked car

Parking Lot Collisions Are Treated Like Any Road Collision

The first and most important thing to know is that, generally speaking, your insurance company will treat a parking lot collision just like an ordinary road collision.

Your car insurance policy covers you equally on private property – like a company’s parking lot – and public property – like a city street. No matter where you have your accident, your insurance company will treat your claim in a similar way: the company will investigate the claim, determine who is at-fault, calculate losses, then pay damages accordingly.

If you have basic liability insurance, then your insurance company will pay for damages you cause to other property – like someone’s parked car. Basic liability insurance also covers the medical expenses of those involved in an accident. However, damage to your own vehicle will not be covered under a basic liability insurance plan.

Damage to your own vehicle will only be covered if you have collision insurance. If you don’t have collision insurance, then you’ll need to pay for repairs out of pocket.

How to Determine Fault in a Parking Lot Collision

Most states in America are tort states when it comes to car insurance law. Only 12 states are no-fault states. If you live in a no-fault state, then your own insurance company will cover your own damages without determining who is at fault.

In most states, however, insurance companies will work to determine fault in a parking lot collision. The insurance company will use a set of rules to determine fault in a parking lot collision.

The rules for a parking lot collision are similar to the rules of a road collision.

If you hit a parked car, for example, then you’re automatically at-fault for that collision. You are automatically at fault any time you hit a car that is legally parked.

Unless the driver of the parked car was parked illegally, your insurance company will determine that you were at-fault for the collision.

Similarly, you will likely be found at-fault if you hit a vehicle from behind in a parking lot.

Parking Lot Collisions Have a Few Unique Rules

There are some rules that are unique to parking lot collisions. Parking lots are one of the only areas where drivers can back into one another, for example. This typically doesn’t happen in a road collision. If a car backs into you, then the front of your car technically hit the back of the other car, which typically means you’re at fault. However, this would not be the case with most parking lot collisions where the other driver is backing up into you.

The insurance company might also consider the rules of the parking lot. There may or may not be appropriate stop signs in the parking lot, for example, and right of way can get confusing. Some parking lots have one-way aisles, while others have two-way aisles. Some aisles are considered throughways, while others are considered secondary lanes.

Insurance companies may refer to these two aisle types as “thoroughfares” and “feeder lanes”. A thoroughfare is a lane that connects directly to a road or highway. A feeder lane, meanwhile, is every other lane in the parking lot. Drivers in feeder lanes are required to yield to drivers in thoroughfare lanes – even if there’s no stop sign or other markings.

There’s one other thing to note about parking lots: they’re typically filled with more distractions than a city street. There are pedestrians and shopping carts in parking lots, for example.

Will My Rates Go Up After a Parking Lot Accident?

If you hit a car in a parking lot, and you file an insurance claim, then this claim will be treated like any at-fault collision. You’ll need to pay your deductible, and then your insurance company will raise your rates accordingly. You’re considered to be a higher risk than a driver that has never been in an accident.

The increase in rates will vary between insurance companies. Some insurance companies have accident forgiveness, in which case a single at-fault collision might not cause rates to go up.

If you want to avoid higher rates after a parking lot accident, then you can choose not to report the collision to your insurance company. In many cases, it’s better to pay to repair damages out of pocket.

What Happens If Someone Hits My Parked Car in a Parking Lot?

If someone hits your parked car in a parking lot, then the other person’s insurance policy may cover any damages to your vehicle.

Of course, many parking lot collisions are hit-and-runs. Drivers might not leave a note, for example. In this case, your insurance company will treat it as a hit-and-run accident. If you have collision coverage then you may not be held at-fault. However, you may still have to pay a deductible to make your insurance claim.

Conclusion: Drive Carefully In a Parking Lot!

Ultimately, it’s important to drive carefully when you’re in a parking lot. There are plenty of hazards you can encounter – from pedestrians to shopping carts to other vehicles. Hitting a parked car in a parking lot can be an expensive mistake – but your insurance policy will likely cover the incident just like they would cover a collision on a road.


  Comments: 4

  1. I hit a parked car on the road reported it to the homeowner inside her home exchanged information. I called police and had a report made. My fault I hit her vehicle. My claim says I hit an object or pedestrian, untrue my insurance went up drastically. My first accident. Only damage was to my vehicle. Is this a faulty mistake.

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      You deserve credit for handling the claim the right way and not just speeding off, which is what many people do. It’s great that you gave the person inside your information and had a police report filed. It’s also true that it was your fault. This is what’s reflected in your drastic rate rise. The claim saying that you hit an “object or pedestrian” is true, since you did hit an object, which was the car. This is mainly just the way they report at-fault accidents, so don’t get too hung up on the wording there.
      Unfortunately, though, your rates do go up a lot after a 1st accident, especially if it’s an at-fault accident. All you can do now is continue to practice safe driving habits to prevent further at-fault accidents. You could also see about switching insurance companies since some companies are more forgiving for 1st accidents than others.

  2. Hi,my 5 years old autistic kid threw a rock accidentally to my neighbor’s car and he didn’t do that purposely and even I tried to grab him but on the main time it was hit on his car and that time he was so hyper and I even didn’t know that this car belongs to whom so he came inside with me then my neighbour came and started to yell on me that you should let me know your neighbor told me about the incident then I apologized and went out and let him know the situation he wants to repair his car through his body shop I offered him that we can do that for you but he doesn’t want to do that and estimate is 1700$something from his body shop and my bodyshop told me about 650$to repair what should I do ?what kind of rights we have because it was an accident by a 5 years old kid please advice

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      One option would be to file that through your homeowner’s insurance. You also have liability coverage on your homeowner’s policy and since your son is autistic, this could be considered a negligent act and be covered. You’ll at least want to check. If the other person is demanding that you pay without turning it into their auto insurance, then this would be an option to involve a 3rd party. You could show your homeowner’s insurance company the estimate for $650, and then their claims adjuster will handle everything from there and will be responsible for reaching an agreement with your neighbor.

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