How Does Insurance Cover Parking Lot Accidents?
You’ve had a fender bender, or worse, in a parking lot. How does your car insurance cover a parking lot accident?
Any time you are involved in a collision, it can impact your car insurance, even if it happens in a parking lot.
What car insurance covers a parking lot accident?
Collision insurance covers the damage to your vehicle in a collision, regardless of who is at fault. (Note that if you have an older car, for example it’s 10-years-old and it’s worth only about $1,000 and your deductible is $1,000, collision coverage would not be beneficial to you.)
Did you know? It’s not true that when two cars are involved in an accident in a parking lot that both drivers are equally at fault. This so-called 50/50 rule generally does not apply in most cases.
Parking lot accidents are treated the same way as any other accident. Just like all other accidents, fault is determined based on the specifics of the situation.
Follow the rules
Parking lots typically have right-of-way rules and laws, just like roads.
In a parking lot, drivers must obey all traffic signs, including stop signs and yield signs. If you don’t do this, you can expect to be at fault if you are involved in an accident as a result of your error.
Drivers in a lane that directly exits onto a main road or highway have the right of way over drivers in a lane that does not exit directly onto a road or highway.
A driver pulling out or reversing out of a parking space must yield to oncoming traffic.
Here are some common parking lot accident situations:
What happens if you hit a moving car while leaving a parking spot?
When leaving a parking space, you must yield to all oncoming traffic because these drivers have the right-of-way. You are responsible for making sure that it’s safe for you to leave your parking space. If you hit a moving car while leaving a parking spot, you will likely be at fault.
What happens if my car is involved in a hit-and-run parking lot accident?
When someone hits your car and they are no longer on the scene and don’t leave you any contact information, you need to document what happened.
Take photos of your car, any visible damage, and the surroundings. Write an account of what happened, including how it happened and when you discovered that your car had been hit.
In Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia, a police report is required when the combined damage to both vehicles exceeds $2,000. Most provinces don't require a report to be filed when damages are less than $1,000.
My car and another car collided when we both tried to enter the same parking space
Since both drivers were moving, both will both have some level of fault in this type of accident. The fault, though, may not fall evenly on both drivers. In a situation like this, factors such as which driver had the right-of-way, points of impact on the vehicles, which direction each driver was turning, and how far into the parking space each vehicle was when the collision happened will be considered.
My car and another car collided when we were leaving our parking spots
When two cars get into an accident when they are pulling or reversing out of their respective parking spaces, both drivers will generally share the fault. This is one of the only times that the 50/50 rule will apply.
Both drivers can expect to be held accountable for this accident because neither driver had the right of way and both are responsible for the movement of their own cars.
Parking lot accidents and car insurance
Will my car insurance go up after a parking lot accident?
A parking lot accident is treated the same as an accident anywhere else. If reported, you can expect that it will go on your driving record and it could impact your car insurance premium if you are found to be at fault.
Do I contact my insurance provider?
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and explain what happened. They can help you determine if you need to file a claim for an accident. Review your policy so you know exactly what you’re covered against.
2 top tips if you have a parking lot fender bender:
- Check everyone’s safety and call 911 if someone has been injured.
- Move your car out of the way if possible and safe to do so.
Top tips to avoid parking lot accidents
- Check your blind spots often, especially when reversing or turning.
- Choose a parking spot in a less busy and congested area. Driving in circles, especially in areas where traffic is heavy, increases your chances of getting into a collision.
- Park fully within your parking space and try not to get too close to either line. If you give your neighbour enough room, they will be less likely to hit your car accidentally.
- Always stay in your lane when driving, just like when you are driving on a road or a street. Many drivers tend to cut across parking lots diagonally or cut corners and this can increase the chances of a collision.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and know what is going on in the parking lot you are in.