(Thebalance) – I crashed into a car in my driveway. I should start a support group. It is embarrassing, to say the least.
Most people think of a car accident as happening out on the road in terrible weather conditions or a horrible case of distracted driving, which is unfortunately on the rise. Calling to report an accident to your car insurance agent that occurred in your own driveway may make you feel sheepish, but you can rest assured you are not alone.
Hitting a Friend or Family Member’s Car In Your Driveway
Oops, this scenario is the worst of the bunch. Mostly because you have to walk back in the house and tell the person what happened, plus the added inconvenience of a car repair. Do not beat yourself up with guilt over this situation. Accidents happen and that is why we all buy car insurance.
- Who Pays? Well, as the at-fault driver, you will be responsible for the damages. Hopefully, you have car insurance! The claim will work exactly the same as if you hit a parked car in a parking lot or a parked car on the road. The property damage coverage provided by your liability portion of your car insurance will cover the damages to the other vehicle. A property damage claim usually does not come with a deductible, however, your policy will likely see an increase in price at renewal. Bonus for the owner of the damaged vehicle, a rental car is usually provided as part of the claim for the time the vehicle is in for repair.
- Your Car Is Damaged: If your vehicle has significant damage, collision coverage is the one you will need to provide coverage. Your deductible will apply, so the cost of repair would need to be higher than your selected deductible. This is an at fault accident so a surcharge will be applied at renewal. Unfortunately, do not expect a rental car unless you have selected an additional coverage on your car insurance which provides rental car coverage.
- Only One Car Is Damaged: Anything is possible, and only one vehicle coming out of the accident damaged is certainly possible. Filing the claim on only one vehicle would result in an increase at renewal due to the claim being an at fault claim. It does not matter which vehicle is filed with the claim. Some insurance carriers do not surcharge a policy if a claim costs less than $500. Speak with your insurance agent or claim adjuster to find out if your car insurance carrier offers a threshold before surcharging your policy for an at fault claim. It can make a difference between filing a claim being a good idea or bad.
- Challenges: Hitting a friend’s car in a driveway could put a bit of strain on a relationship. Do not procrastinate on filing the claim. Get the damage taken care of in a timely manner and try to help things go as smoothly as possible. Make sure to verify all contact numbers and be ready to answer any questions from the insurance adjuster.
Hitting Another Car You Own In Your Driveway
Ownership can make a difference when hitting a car in your driveway. Crashing into a car you own will most likely leave you paying two collision deductibles assuming you have collision coverage on both vehicles. Many car insurance policies put it into the legal jargon that liability coverage will not cover a vehicle you own. It is only meant for use when another individual has property damage or injury in which you caused. Collision coverage would provide protection to the vehicles in this scenario.
Collision would need to be a listed coverage on each vehicle in need of repair.
- Double Deductibles: Paying the deductible on each vehicle is a real possibility. It is important to speak with the claims adjuster or get help from your insurance agent to determine your coverage and deductibles.
- Surcharge: Even though two claims are being filed, a single surcharge should be applied. One car was parked and not at fault while the vehicle driven was at fault. Hopefully, only one accident will be held against the driver, but it is important to verify with your agent how that will be dealt with. The way in which claims are handled can vary slightly depending on the state the accident occurred and your insurance carrier. The amount of payout really does not matter a great deal. The surcharge will be the same whether the claim totals $1000 or $5000.
Someone Illegally Parked a Car Blocking Your Driveway and You Hit It
Talk about frustrating, having a car hanging over your driveway without you noticing can cause a lot of problems. Unfortunately, to many people’s surprise, it is going to be tough getting the person who parked illegally to pay for the damages. The driver is responsible for always being aware of the surroundings and driving safely. Hitting a parked car even if it is dark and you did not see it, is considered an at fault accident caused by the driver. Hiring a lawyer and trying to go after the illegally parked car is probably not worth the cost or your time. Let your car insurance adjuster handle it. If there is a way to hold the other vehicle responsible, your car insurance adjuster will find a way.
Learn From My Mistakes
Every morning I put my vehicle in reverse, hit the gas pedal, and turn the wheel to back into the turnaround. Every morning five days a week this was my routine. My Achilles heel was the repetition. In the repetition, I began to get lazy and not look where I was going. What could possibly get in the way, right? Well, it turns out, my husband’s car could. Even though he typically parks in the garage, one morning his vehicle stayed parked in the turn around over night. I hopped in my vehicle, put it in reverse, hit the gas pedal, and turned the wheel to back into the turnaround. To my total surprise, I crashed into our car damaging both vehicles with more damage than I ever thought possible.
Michigan Car Insurance Laws
Seems Michigan always gets its own special little section in nearly every article. It is because Michigan takes no fault car insurance a step further than the other no-fault states. No fault refers not only to medical injuries but physical damage too. Michigan’s laws regarding hitting a car in the driveway are similar to other states. If you do not own the parked vehicle, then your property damage liability would apply. If you do own the parked vehicle, collision deductibles apply.
Collision Options In Michigan
- Broad Collision = No Deductible if You are Not At Fault
- Standard Collision = Deductible Regardless of Who is At Fault
- Limited Collision = No Coverage for At Fault Collisions, Deductible for Not At Fault Collisions
Luckily, I had broad collision coverage on both vehicles at the time of the accident. Broad form collision made it so I only had to pay one deductible. The car which was parked is considered not at fault, therefore did not require a deductible according to the rules of broad collision.
Even though hitting a car in your own driveway may feel embarrassing, remember your car insurance agent has seen it all. Crazy car accident scenarios occur all the time, which is why we all carry insurance. If you have a significant damage, do not hesitate to report the claim because of embarrassment.
Should I Pay for The Claim Myself?
Truthfully, it is a question not asked often enough. Just because you have a little bit of damage to a vehicle does not mean you need to file a claim. Most people feel that all damage should be filed because that is what car insurance is for. However, insurance is really meant for major damage. Keep these important points in mind when determining whether or not you should file a claim.
- Is the damage more than the deductible? A claim is not possible unless the damage exceeds the amount of your deductible. Anything below the deductible will be your out of pocket repair.
- Does the cost of repair exceed the deductible by more than a few hundred dollars? A small claim usually is not worth filing. Surcharges for at fault claims can be expensive, you might end up paying more due to the surcharge verse just paying for the repair up front.
- Have you filed any other at fault claims in the last three years? Multiple at fault claims can come with severe penalties. The penalties can include cancellation from a preferred insurance carrier and a significant rate increase with a non-standard insurance carrier.
Nobody wants to pay to repair their vehicle or another’s out of pocket. It does take some serious calculating to determine whether or not it may be cheaper to pay out of pocket verse filing a claim. This is the time when you want to sit down with your car insurance agent and go over the numbers. Get an estimate on the damage to your car, the other car, and a ball park figure of what the surcharge might be. Compare those numbers to determine the best strategy for lowering the overall cost to you and your family.