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FormerLegalSecy

Hit & Run Damaged My Car While Parked in Parking Lot

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My vehicle was parked in a hotel parking lot.  I heard a lot of back-up alarm BEEP-BEEP-BEEPing at 11:30 at night & thought that was odd for that time of the day so I got up and looked out the window.

 

I saw a much-too-big truck for the corner it was trying to navigate going back and forth and back and forth to try to get around a much too tight corner.  My car was parked in the end stall & looked like it was going to get creamed.  I started pulling on shoes and street clothes so I could run out and see whether I could somehow rescue my car or do anything else to help avoid this collision that was about to happen.  But before I got out the door of the hotel, the truck driver gave up trying not to hit my car & just crunched it & dragged it a few feet & kept going.

 

Silly me, I thought the driver would immediately go to the hotel office to try to locate the owner of the vehicle they just clobbered.  So I called the front desk & said if a truck driver comes in trying to find the owner of the vehicle they just hit, it's my car.  The front desk said they didn't know anything about it and no truck fitting that description was listed for a registered guest but they could give me the non-emergency number for the police so I could call them if I wanted to.  Which I did.

 

The sheriff's office did send an officer out who was very nice and all, but he made it really clear that he was not going to investigate this crash any further.  I had taken photos with my phone of tire tracks (in the snow) and parts laying on the ground, photos of the damage, etc., but they didn't want any of those.  The officer said the driver was "probably lost" and undoubtedly "long gone" by now and said my police report would be available to retrieve on line in 10-15 business days.

 

So then I went to my car insurance company's web site, which wants customers to file initial insurance claims on its website, which I did.  I filed it under "Collision" which is what I figured it was, but later I went on the Internet and read that I would be better off filing it as a property damage claim under my uninsured motorist coverage.   Is that true?  How do I know they are uninsured if I don't know who they are?  My collision insurance has a $500 deductible (I know, that was my choice) but I'd really rather not be out $500 bucks just because some chicken livered truck driver decided not to do the right thing and identify themselves as the driver that hit my car.

 

Any other ideas or suggestions or options I have here?  I don't want to hire a private accident investigator either, which I'm guessing would likely cost more than the $500 deductible.

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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1 hour ago, FormerLegalSecy said:

later I went on the Internet and read that I would be better off filing it as a property damage claim under my uninsured motorist coverage.   Is that true? 

 

It might be. If you have Uninsured Motorists Property Damage coverage (UMPD) on your policy. Check your policy. Start with the declaration page where you'll see a itemized list of your coverage and limits. If you have UMPD there should be a separate limit for it. Then read the UMPD coverage part to see if it's more advantageous to use that instead of collision.

 

If you need help, you can upload documents here for me to read.

 

PS: Did you check for security cameras in the parking lot?

 

PPS: Thanks for showing your state. For some reason I can't remember where you are from one time to the next. :lol:

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11 hours ago, FormerLegalSecy said:

I filed it under "Collision" which is what I figured it was, but later I went on the Internet and read that I would be better off filing it as a property damage claim under my uninsured motorist coverage.   Is that true?

 

Maybe, but it's not really possible to comment without reading whatever it is that you read.  Of course, if you don't have uninsured property damage coverage (and most folks don't), it doesn't really matter.  Do you have such coverage?  When a claims adjuster eventually contacts you, you can ask him/her about this.

 

 

11 hours ago, FormerLegalSecy said:

How do I know they are uninsured if I don't know who they are?

 

Because you do cannot identify the driver, your insurer will treat the situation as if he/she was uninsured.

 

 

11 hours ago, FormerLegalSecy said:

I don't want to hire a private accident investigator either, which I'm guessing would likely cost more than the $500 deductible.

 

Why on Earth would you do that?  This is why you have insurance, so let your insurer do its job.

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Well, thanks everybody.

 

I think my policy is supposed to be easy to read ("plain language") but it is still hard to read -- and reading contracts is what I do for a living these days.

 

It has "underinsured motorist" coverage which is separate from the "uninsured" motorist coverage.  This incident does not qualify for coverage under the "underinsured" motorist coverage though.

 

It only lists "bodily injury" as covered by the "Uninsured motorist" coverage so I think that is my answer, although it has some mystifying references in that section to not covering bodily injury or property damage due to nuclear war which makes it appear as though under some other circumstances property damage might be covered.  (If I were redlining this contract at work I would flag that as "confusing" and seek clarification.)

 

At any rate,  it doesn't look like it intends to cover property damage under the uninsured motorist coverage so I need to let them know whether I want to cover it under my collision coverage & pay the $500 deductible, in which case they want to have an adjuster inspect it, or whether I just want to get repair estimates outside of my collision coverage and handle it without putting in an insurance claim at all.  Apparently because it is a 5-year old car they seem to think that it may have depreciated so much that I might not have much of a claim after the deductible is paid.  That is a real drag because I take meticulous care of it and only have one more car payment left on it, at which time I was hoping to trade it in & get a new vehicle.  But I think the trade-in value of it is reduced by this damage so I will either pay (possibly more than the insurance company thinks I should...) to completely eliminate all traces of damage in order to preserve its trade-in value, or else get the less expensive repairs that my insurance company seems to think appropriate for a 5-year old car and take the hit on the trade-in value .

 

Grr.

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14 hours ago, FormerLegalSecy said:

It only lists "bodily injury" as covered by the "Uninsured motorist" coverage so I think that is my answer

 

Turns out that UMPD is not offered in Wisconsin.

 

As to choosing whether to use your collision or not, I suggest getting a body shop estimate first. Have the shop write it up two ways. One with OEM parts and the other with after-market parts. Then decide.

 

If you go with your collision coverage submit the estimate with the OEM parts and see if your insurance company agrees to it.

 

Be aware of the following WI statute regarding the use of non-OEM parts:

 

https://law.justia.com/codes/wisconsin/2017/chapter-632/section-632.38/

 

Even if your insurance company will only cover non-OEM parts you can still have your car repaired with OEM parts if you want to pay the difference.

 

The problem you have on a trade-in is if your claim appears on a Carfax or some such report. It's best to sell your car privately when it comes time to replace. You always get screwed on a trade-in no matter what the situation is.

 

Private buyers don't always run Carfaxes ($40) though there are low cost reports with similar information. There's even a free one where you can check a VIN history when buying a car:

 

https://www.vehiclehistory.com/

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