Rear end car crash Skoda Fabia

What to do if you hit a parked car? The dos and do nots, including insurance, fines and points

Watch where you're going

ACCIDENTS happen, and in the grand scheme of things hitting a parked car is usually a relatively minor issue. But even if no-one has injured anything other than pride, that doesn’t mean you can shirk responsibility if you’re at fault and if it’s your car that’s been hit, you’ll want to know what recourse you have and how to make things right. Here we tell you what to do.

What to do if you hit a parked car

If you hit a parked car, no matter how minor the collision, don’t think that you can just drive away – you must let the owner of the parked car know. That’s the law (see below).

If the owner is present when it happens, then that’s simple enough. If they aren’t, it might be tempting to simply drive off, but as we’ve already stated (it doesn’t hurt to reiterate this) doing so is illegal. Even if you think you might be able to get away with it, there could be witnesses you haven’t noticed or nearby CCTV (including in the car that you hit) might be recording what’s happening.

So don’t chance it. Pull over, make a note of the damage and leave your details with the car.

Write your name, address and phone number on a piece of paper and leave it behind a windscreen wiper. If it’s raining, see if you can protect the paper with a plastic bag or similar.

If you have a camera phone on you, take pictures of the damage — this is important in case the third party attempts to blame you for damage you didn’t cause.

You must also inform your insurer if you hit a parked car.

What to do if someone hits your parked car

If you’re present when the collision happens, make sure the person stops and exchanges details. If they don’t stop, take as much detail of the car as you can: the vehicle’s registration, make, model and colour, and a description of the driver if possible.

If you’re not present, then unless the other person leaves their details, your only chance of finding them will be with witnesses or CCTV footage.

You might be interested to know that the latest in-car dash cams can be set up with a ‘sentry’ mode that triggers the camera if it detects motion when you’re away from the car. Tesla cars have this built in.

You may also want to inform the police (see below) and get a crime reference number.

Gather all of this information and inform your insurer of the damage that has been caused and any other details. They will ask if you have a crime reference number. They will then be able to clarify the next steps.

How to report a hit and run of a parked car

If you see a vehicle hit a parked car, try to take as many details as you can. If the collision is serious, then call 101 — the number for non-emergency police issues — to inform the police within 24 hours of the incident.

What happens if I hit a car that’s parked illegally?

You are still liable for any damage that you might cause, so still stop and leave your details.

Does insurance cover hit and run parked cars?

Yes. The insurance industry pays into a pool that covers any damage caused by uninsured or untraceable drivers involved in incidents. Check your cover level, though, and do bear in mind that any insurance excess will need to be covered by you before your insurer will pay out, and it may affect your premium.

What happens if I don’t tell my insurance about damage to my car?

If you damage a parked car, or your car is damaged while parked and you don’t inform your insurer, then your insurer could invalidate or cancel your policy.

Can I be fined for hitting a parked car?

Yes. Depending on the seriousness of the incident, you might be charged with failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident. This is likely to include a fine with an unlimited maximum amount payable.

Can I get points for hitting a parked car?

Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident can also see you issued with a penalty ranging from 5-10 points added to your licence. Unlike speeding, there are no awareness courses offered as an alternative.

Is it illegal to not give your details after hitting a parked car?

Yes. Again, this is covered by the charge of failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident, and can see you issued with a fine, points or even a driving ban in serious cases.