We all know that sinking feeling when you return to your parked car to find that somebody has scraped it. Sometimes no matter how well you try to protect your car, there’s often an idiot waiting around the corner waiting to damage it with their car or supermarket trolley. And worse than that, sometimes our cars can also be the victims of vandalism.
Nearly half of all minor collision damage happens in supermarket car parks. And no wonder, given how restrictive the space is in these colossal arenas. Supermarkets squeeze as many car park spaces in as they possibly can, so it's not surprising that the most common type of damage that occurs in their car parks is dents in the doors. I’m forever shouting, ‘Mind the next car when you get out!’, to my children as we pull up at the supermarket, but I can see how very easy it would be to slip up and forget sometimes.
On average, repair costs for light collision damage come in at just over £2000, which is a significant sum for most of us. And it hurts to pay it when the damage was caused by someone else. So is there anything you can do if someone damages your car?
We’ve created a checklist for you with all the basic information you might need if you’re ever in that situation.
1. Check to see if they’ve left a note
We’re not all inconsiderate motorists. I’d be mortified if I damaged someone else’s car. I might not have time to wait because I’m always running from one job to the next, but I’d always leave a note. The damage could have been the result of an unavoidable event. So check your car over, including looking around on the floor nearby to see if they’ve left a note and it’s fallen off.
2. Take as many photos as you can
We’ve all got our smartphones to hand these days. Use them to take photos of the damage from all different angles in the moment. Your mobile offers the added bonus of a time, date and location stamp as evidence. Also try to get some photos of the cars nearby. The car that hit you could have been one of these and if not, somebody nearby might have seen what happened and could be identified from their car. The photos will come in handy for insurance purposes.
3. Check for CCTV coverage
Most large car parking areas will have some form of CCTV system. Contact the site manager and see if the accident was caught on camera. Your insurance company will be able to use the footage to seek compensation from the assailant.
4. Contact your insurance company
If there is no note left on your car and the CCTV footage has no evidence of who was at fault you have two options available to you.
1) Contact your insurance company
2) Get the car repaired yourself.
If you choose to contact your insurance they will pay to have the car fixed, but bear in mind that this might affect your future premiums and the accident, even though it wasn’t your fault, will be kept on record. If you get the car fixed yourself by a car body repair service you will have to pay for the repairs, but it might work out cheaper in the long run than if your insurance premiums are raised. Obtain a few quotes from local providers and see what you think is best for you.