There is nothing more infuriating than returning to your car to find it scratched, dented or damaged by another careless driver.
A study conducted in 2020 found that Britain’s drivers spent £1.5bn a year on damage caused in car parks alone.
Sarah Tooze, Consumer Editor at CarSite has put together a step-by-step guide for dealing with damage to your vehicle when the other driver has driven off.
Sarah says: “Inconsiderate drivers are, unfortunately, a fact of life. Car owners may not be aware of their rights when their car has been damaged, but hopefully, this guide will help.”
Step 1: Stay Calm
If you return to your car and find it has been damaged, it’s important to remain calm. If your car was parked legally, the fault automatically falls upon the third party, and they are legally required to leave their details. Unfortunately, in some cases, they don’t. If this is the case, the third party may be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention by failing to stop and report.
Step 2: Assess the Damage
You need to assess the damage to your vehicle to understand the extent of the issue.
How to assess the damage to your car:
– Look for any visible damage such as scratches, dents or cracks in the paintwork.
– Check for any structural damage such as bent panels.
– If there is any glass damage, check to see if it’s just a crack or if the entire window will need to be replaced.
Step 3: Record All the Details
Make a note of the time, date and location of the incident. Take photos of the damage.
It’s important to take photographs of where the incident occurred, what damage there was and how your car was parked. This may help you in the future should you decide to put in a claim.
Sarah’s Pro-tip: Try and take the pictures from different angles to give you the best chance of success.
Step 4: Look for Witnesses
If you’re in a public place, it’s always worth checking to see if any witnesses may have seen the incident. This could be invaluable should you need to pursue the matter further. You can ask them to write down what they saw and give you their contact details.
Step 5: Contact your Insurance Company
If details have been left, contact the third party to exchange insurance details. Once you have these, you need to contact your insurance company, who can then advise you further. If you decide not to make an official claim and resolve the issue among yourselves, you should still inform your insurer of the damage as you may risk invalidating your policy by failing to do this.
If no details have been left, try to find witnesses of the incident who can help pinpoint the culprit. Many supermarkets have CCTV in their car parks, however, they can not grant you access to this footage due to GDPR rules, so you will have to contact the police.
It’s important to collect as much evidence as you can to help your claim.
Sarah’s Pro-tip: Keep a file on your phone or in your glove box with all of your car’s important information to make the claims process smoother, such as your insurance details.