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Having your car damaged due to an accident brings up multiple sentiments at once, given that you have spent a significant fortune and time on acquiring and taking care of this asset. If these vehicular damages are combined with injuries sustained by the passengers, more stress and hefty expenses are incurred as well.
However, another aspect that may sound uncommon (yet highly exasperating) is if your car gets damaged while parked. While you may think otherwise, parked cars getting damaged by other cars is not an alien concept and happens more than you may realise. Handling this situation may prove more tiring due to the unknowns involved, like not knowing who or what damaged your car.
To help you navigate through such a challenging situation of your parked car getting damaged by a third party, here is a list of things you can do.
Accidents can also happen when your car is parked. However, compared to generic road accidents, the steps one is required to follow in the aftermath may be different. At the same time, several steps that come after incurring accidental damages in both these scenarios may coincide too.
Given below are some steps you can immediately take after finding your car damaged while parked.
The first point of action here is to try your best and find out who is responsible for the damages incurred by your car. If your parked car happens to get damaged by a moving vehicle, make sure you note down the license plate number of the third-party car and any other details you can find about the party responsible. If you are somehow able to get in touch with the person responsible for the damages, note down their name, contact, driving license number, and the license plate number of the third-party car.
Call the police helpline by dialling 999 and inform them about the damages. Whether you have the offender on hand or not, contact the police and submit an official report if you plan to submit a claim against your car insurance plan. A valid police report is necessary to even file an accident claim against your insurance plan. Take special care of this, as there can be a deadline to file this report as set by your insurance provider. Ensure that you submit this report before the submission deadline.
Another beneficial aspect of submitting an official police report is that it may prove helpful in finding the offender as well. So if you fail to make any progress after putting significant efforts to locate the person responsible for damages, go straight to the police and file your report, and also obtain a copy of this report to submit with the claim form.
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Finding someone to back your claim is always helpful, whether it is a court trial or an accidental claim. If you find people around the accident site who can testify in your favour, carefully note their details. If possible, have the witness give a detailed account of the incident.
Any descriptive report explaining what they witnessed regarding the accident helps you make a strong case about your claim. If the witness is willing to testify in person, make sure you note down the necessary procedure to make that happen.
While you are talking to witnesses and filing the official police report of the incident, call the insurance provider and inform them regarding the incident. Simply call the customer support helpline of the provider to let them know about the situation. They will transfer you to the claimed cell of the company.
It is vital to note that even if the customer support helpline does not transfer your call, you can submit your request to submit a claim initiation with the customer support executive themselves. While this call is not your only chance to submit the claim, it is still important to tell the provider about the incident as soon as possible on such an informative call.
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Now that you are done with all the important background work, it’s time to build up your claim. Get a claim form from the provider website, or go to the online claim submission portal, if available. Start filling out the required details, and keep all the documents you need handy. Mandatory documents required here include your driver’s license, registration documents of the car, and the police report.
Additional documents that can help you build a stronger claim can include photographs of the incident, witness accounts, your detailed account, and the name and details of the person responsible for the damages. Once you collect these details in documents, submit your claim and wait for the approval. The repairs for your car will begin after the insurance claim has been approved.
There are mainly two ways you can have your damages covered in this situation – via third-party liability plans or a comprehensive car insurance plan. As third-party liability plans only cover the damages caused by the third party, the only way you can have your damages covered is to file a third-party suit against the responsible party. Your damages will be compensated for if the third party is found responsible and the suit is settled. You may choose to keep your car the way it is for the time being and get it repaired when you receive compensation. However, if the damages caused by the accident lead to other consequential damages, they will not be covered by the third-party liability compensation you get.
Another way to have your damages covered is via a comprehensive car insurance plan. A comprehensive car insurance plan covers the current damages caused to your vehicle and has the third-party cover the expenses once the lawsuit is settled. Another benefit of having a comprehensive car insurance plan is that you will have a cover in case the person responsible is either underinsured or uninsured. Your comprehensive plan will cover the expenses for repairs in this case and may settle the expenses with the party responsible later.
Car insurance claims can be often denied or rejected, with most of the rejected claims occurring due to clerical errors or missing documents. You can resubmit any rejected claim after rectifying these errors. On the other hand, denied claims cannot be submitted again. A claim is generally denied when the reasons for your claim are either not covered by the plan, or there is a factor making them invalid.
Your claim for parked car damages done by a third party can be denied as well. Different factors reasons can lead to denial of such claims, which can include parking your car at an unauthorised place, parking your car in a ‘no parking’ zone, parking on a busy road, stopping on a highway without flashing hazard lights, etc.
This list can include a few more factors as per the policy wording. This is why it is highly recommended to read the policy documents in detail and be well aware of the exclusions before signing up for the claim. A denied insurance claim will not make a difference with your coverage or the premium. However, considerable resources and manual labour go into filing claims. At least this much can be saved if the claim is not legible and you know about it from the start.
Car insurance plans are a car owner’s only solace when it comes to covering the damages. As the damages can be of different kinds, the claims for these damages can also be of different types. From generic accidental damages to collision damages, theft and parked car damages, different procedures are to be followed to submit a claim for them. However, if you wish to remember just one thing regarding parked car damages, ensure that you tend to the injured (if any), call the police and your insurance provider who will guide you along with the procedure.