Parking lots, especially the ones near large commercial complexes, malls or train stations, are buzzing with activity all day long. In addition to vehicles, bikers and pedestrians, there may be shopping carts, cyclists and even school buses moving in various directions within the lot. Add to that the medians, narrow lanes and tight parking spaces, which makes parking lots a hot spot for accidents. According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 14 percent of car accidents happen in parking lots.
If you find yourself in an auto accident contact us right away or read up on our auto insurance options.
What to do if you are in A Parking Lot Accident
Parking lot accidents should be looked at in the same manner as any other car accident on public roads. If you, or a loved one is involved in one, follow the same steps as you would for any other accident.
- Safely move your vehicle out of the way of traffic and check if you or your co-passengers need medical attention.
- Approach the other vehicle, if safe, and ensure that everyone is unhurt.
- Exchange information with the other driver, including the make and model of the other car, driver’s address and contact numbers, and their insurance company’s name and policy number.
- Make a note of the time, date, exact location of the accident and collect names and contact numbers of witnesses (if any). Insurers usually require very detailed information about the accident in order to evaluate your case and determine who is at fault.
- With the regulated speed limit being low, the damages in parking lot accidents are usually quite minor. However, if they exceed $2,000, Alberta laws require you to inform the police and file a police report.
- Lastly, report the accident to your insurance company, and provide them with all the details that you have noted after the accident.
Types of Accidents and Impact on Car Insurance in Edmonton
Considering how busy most parking lots are, there are several types of accidents that can occur. Here are a few examples, along with who is typically held ‘at fault’:
- One vehicle rear ending another at a ‘Stop’ sign, or anywhere else within the lot. The driver who rear ends the other vehicle is held fully at fault.
- Two cars from different directions heading for the same parking spot collide. Or, two cars backing out at the same time hit each other. In both instances, the insurer may conclude that it is a ‘shared’ fault.
- A vehicle that is backing out from a parking spot hits another vehicle that is passing by. Here, the right of way is for the vehicle in the traffic lane, so the driver backing out is fully at fault.
- A vehicle’s door opening causes damage to an adjoining car.
- A vehicle hits stationery objects, such as a curb, median, post, or another legally parked vehicle, or a cyclist or pedestrian.
A parking lot accident is treated like any other accident by the insurance companies. Even if you plan to pay for the damages from your own pocket, you are required to report all accidents to your insurer. If another driver has caused damage to your parked vehicle and not left a note with their details, it is treated as a ‘hit and run’ situation. You can file a police report and in this case, your insurer will not find you at fault.
For any reported case, where you are found at fault by your insurer, your car insurance rates will be impacted. Be prepared to pay anywhere between 10% to 60% higher premium, depending on the severity of the fault and extent of damages claimed.
Comprehensive Car Insurance from Alberta’s Leading Online Insurance Brokerage
Accidents happen when you least expect them. Just when you are busy running weekend errands, or enjoying a family outing at the mall, you may find yourself in the midst of a parking lot accident that has damaged your vehicle. A comprehensive car insurance policy with the right coverages and minimal deductibles will end up saving you costly repairs and unnecessary hassle. The experienced brokers at HDF Insurance will not only shop for the best policies on your behalf, but also offer sound advice and personalized service on all aspects of auto insurance.
For the best rates and coverages for auto insurance in Edmonton, count on the full-service, independent brokerage, HDF Insurance. Call us at 1-800-567-2048 or request a free quote online.