Bad News: 9 Things to do in a parking lot fender-bender

 

“Will the owner of a white Nissan, license plate number ABC 000 please come to the customer service desk?”
Hear this and you KNOW your day isn’t going to be getting any better.
It’s safe to assume you haven’t won a prize, anyway.

 

So what should you do if your car is involved in a parking lot fender bender?

1.       First, contact your agent. Let him or her know what happened as soon as you can. Your agent will help you determine what action to take.

2.       Record evidence. Most of us have cameras with us all the time now, in our cell phones. Take pictures of the damage.

3.       Take notes. If the other driver is still around, jot down his or her name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance company.

4.       Gather additional information. Ask people in the parking lot if they saw anything. If you ask, the store may be able to let you check their security camera footage.

5.       Stay at the scene. If you’re the driver and you hit a car in a parking lot, don’t drive away— you could be charged with a hit-and-run if another customer or a surveillance camera is recording you.

6.       Track down the other car’s owner. Speak to someone at the customer service desk in the store. Describe the car to the employee, and have him or her announce it over the store’s loudspeaker, just like we described in the first scenario. While no one WANTS to hear that announcement, it is better than coming out to the parking lot with a cart full of groceries only to discover the damage then, with no responsible party in sight.

7.       Leave a note. If you can’t find the other driver, write down basic information—your name, phone number and a brief explanation of the accident—and place it in a secure spot on the car. Write down the license plate number and, again, take photos of the damage to both vehicles.

8.       Call the police. If the damage is extensive, you may want to involve the police. They’ll document the accident and they can help you find the owner of the other car.

9.       Last, check with your agent to see if they have an app they recommend for your smart phone. There are several available that help you remember what information to get at the scene of an accident and store it for you. Your insurance carrier may even have an app, making it a little easier for you to report the accident, get the repairs done, and get back on the road.

Staff Writer