It's a highly disheartening feeling to return from a mall or supermarket, walk toward your car and notice that it's been hit by another driver. Things are even more frustrating when the driver is nowhere to be seen and hasn't left a note claiming responsibility for the damage. While you might choose to ignore small scratches caused by a vehicle's door, you may be planning to make an insurance claim if the damage is greater — for example, a dented bumper, broken tail light or dented door. Calling your car insurance provider is a priority, but there are a handful of other things you can do first to strengthen your claim.
Look For Witnesses
Get busy right away asking people around you if they happened to see the damage to your vehicle occur. In an ideal world, someone will have seen the offending vehicle make contact with yours and drive off but have first taken down the license plate. Even if no one managed to get the vehicle's license plate, it's ideal if you can find someone who noticed the incident. Ask for the person's name and phone number so that your insurance company can contact him or her at a later date for information to support your claim.
Take Lots Of Photos
It's always a good idea to document the scene before you leave the parking lot. This adds support to your eventual insurance claim. Use your smartphone camera to take close-up pictures of the damage from a variety of angles as well as wider-angled shots of the scene to provide the context. If there are parts from your car on the parking lot asphalt — for example, chips from a broken tail light — take photos of this, too. This will help show that you didn't already have the damage when you arrived in the parking lot.
Involve The Authorities
An insurance claim is strengthened when authorities are involved, so consider how you wish to proceed. If the damage is significant enough in your opinion, call the non-emergency phone number for your local police force and explain what has happened. Ideally, the police will send an officer to your location to make a report. If the damage doesn't warrant the police but you still want an official record made, go inside the store or mall and speak to a manager or security officer. He or she will file an incident report that your insurance provider can ask for late,r as well as possibly also checking any security camera footage to catch the offending motorist.
For more information of what to do in this situation, contact a local insurance company like Cache Valley Insurance Inc.