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If someone damages your car and drives away

So if my car is parked and I’m away from my car, someone damages it and drives away what do I do. So say for example someone is dumb enough to park right next to me, despite me parking as far away from people as possible, and they open their door, their door hits my car and scratches some of the pain causing a scratch in my paint job. Or say something substantial were their car hits my car slightly at a slow speed causing several square inches of paint damage. What do I do. If I have video footage of them doing it to my car, irrefutable evidence, what do I do? Do I file an accident report. Can I get my car repaired by going through my insurance for free? What if they open their car door and hits my car causing a small scratch. Is such damage costly to repair? I believe a proper pain repair job is costly. I’m asking because I have a high deductable $1,000. So if someone damages my car while it’s parked I still have to cover all repairs up to $1,000? Seems kind of off especially if I have irrefutable evidence that they did it to me while I was parked!

I’m sick and tired of people damaging my car so I’m thinking of installing a security system that is filming all 4 views non stop with small discrete cameras the size of a pin hole. Once it’s installed what do I do if I have footage of someone causing damage to my car while it’s parked, even if it’s just a small scratch, or a big scratch. Would my insurance cover it or would I still have to pay all of it minus my deductable. I’m asking because I think a small scratch would cost less than $1,000.

Thanks for any help!

Everyone of your questions should be asked of your insurance carrier. We are not legal advisers. Are you really getting as many damage incidents as your post seems to say?


You should really talk to your agent about a lower deductible. Mine is $100. I was going to raise it but it didn’t save much money.

At any rate if you have collision coverage, you can have your car repaired regardless of the fault, but you have to pay the deductible. If the person is found and your insurance company can get the money back from them, then they will refund your deductible. Its called subrogation but can take a year or more to get your money back.

Yes, if you think you know who it was you need to contact the police. Then they will need to open a case file using your evidence and follow up on it. Good luck with that though. The police have better things to do than tracking down people that scratch other people’s cars. There are thefts and shootings and rapes and beatings that take most of their time. Best is to have a lower deductible or find a better parking lot.


My wife was lucky enough to see on security video her car being pushed up on to a landscaping boulder by the back end of a fed ex truck as the truck turned, ID’d the truck from the video, and collected damages, see if there is some security video! Not recalling the process as it was many years ago.

Where I live, you must have certain minimum of insurance in the event you damage someone else’s property with your vehicle.

This called liability insurance.

This insurance doesn’t cover damage to your vehicle if you’re in an accident and nobody else is involved.

But if the other person is at fault for the accident, then they must pay you for damages to your property.

I made a lot of money retaining the salvage on what insurance company called a totaled vehicle. When all it needed was a little body work.


As far as door dings, somewhere here pointed out that if you park far away from where every body else parks, only to come back and find someone parked right next to you, it is probably b/c they share the same philosophy as you, and so are unlikely to ding your car when opening theirs. So as far as dings go, just keep parking out in the parking lot boondocks, I expect you’ll be fine on that account. Life is too short to go to the bother of a security camera so you can prosecute door-dingers. In my opinion anyway.

Reminds me of an incident last summer. I parked way in the back and off to the side as far as possible at a hardware store, nobody else parking there within 15 spaces. Out I come with my purchase, and lo and behold there’s a huge 4x4 pickup truck parked right next to me. Not just a normal size pickup, a huge one! I stood there & watched the driver get out of the truck. He was as careful as he possibly could be, his door never came anywhere near my cherished Corolla.

The alternative is to do what the owner of a cattle ranch did, a place I worked as a teenager for the summer. When he purchased a new pickup, first thing he did was use it to haul a load of gravel. He explained that this made him feel better, as he was the first to put dings and scratches on it. After that he didn’t care what happened to it as far as scratches and dings.

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You mentioned you have a $1000 deductible, you can change that at any time. Your insurance company will tell you what each level will cost. If you are going to a lower deductible your company might want to take pics of your car before the change.

I love your response. :slight_smile:


It’s always cheaper to pocket the premium and pay out of your own pocket than paying the insurer to take a cut.

Will your camera system catch both the other car’s license plate and at least a decent view of the driver? If so, then possibly the police would pursue it (depending on what other types of things they have to handle where you live) or you might try suing in small-claims court. If not, then I think you’re out of luck here.

Unless there are cameras mounted outside the car to document the damage being done it is unlikely that videos of vehicles leaving from adjacent parking spaces would result in proving them responsible.

And since I drive well maintained old beaters I don’t worry much about parking lot dings. The situation with the OP reinforces my personal opinion on avoiding investing in a car that results in such compulsive anxiety.

Since I have been parking on the street for the last 40 years, and 4 cars, I have had lots of dings and scratches. If I followed up on them, my cars would spend half their lives in the body shop and I would be out a fortune for repairs.

Just let the scratches and dings accumulate. Part of life in the city.

Here is one example after 10 years:

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You chose to purchase $1000 deductible comprehensive an collision insurance coverage and you feel it isn’t fair?

I have $Zero deductible insurance on all of my cars (unless damage is more than 50% my fault and then it’s $100) and I just don’t worry about it.

One gets what one pays for, even for car insurance.

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Might be what state he lives in. Same insurance from one state to the next could have different deductibles. When I moved to NH from NY I went from $100 deductible to $500 (lowest I could get at the time). Each state sets their own rules.

If that’s the case, you should probably call the police if you you have evidence and contact information for the person that caused the dings or scratches.

In over five decades of buying cars, I’ve never had a new one. Next to the cost and immediate depreciation, the thought of my baby being scratched in a parking lot was high on the list. That’s why I truly like your story.

I don’t think I’ve had a car all scratched up. After four years they are still pristine. If I do get a scratch I fix it but then I’m not a cattle rancher so the car stays in the garage the most.

A local self made multi millionaire who enjoyed raising horses was often seen with bails of hay and sacks of feed on the trunk of his well seasoned Lincoln. When visiting a local barber shop someone asked him about scratching his car using it on the farm and he was amazed that anyone would worry about it and explained that every few years he bought his wife a new car and took the old one for himself to use however he needed it. Of course back then a Lincoln was large. Really large.

Your story @Rod_Knox reminds me of when I worked on a potato farm in Idaho one summer. The owner drove around the dusty dirt roads in a big 'ol Lincoln carrying whatever farm implements needed, drinking water for us workers, and ropes to pull the drivers of pickup truck tourists out when they got stuck in the road’s mud puddles. I can still hear his voice in my mind, he must have told those tourists a hundred times while I was riding in that Lincoln and he was getting out the ropes … “next time just drive your truck right through the middle of the puddle, don’t try to go around it” … lol . .

This happened to me this year. I returned to my car after shopping and my first thought was “I can’t believe that I parked my car that badly.” Then I looked around the car and saw that someone hit my car on the right rear hard enough to move my car 4 feet.

I first called insurance. I don’t have collision (20 year old car) but the agent suggested that this might be covered by uninsured motorist rider (I was). I then called police to file a report. I also collected the large amount of broken headlight and sideview mirror that must have been from the other car. All I had was a dented bumper and small dent on a panel.

I then went into the store (Target) I was shopping in and talked with security. They found the video footage of the other car hitting me. The car just went down the aisle at high speed, hit my car, and just continued going without pausing. Unfortunately my car was too far away from the camera for them to get the license plate number. They checked video for the nearest exit but the car didn’t leave the lot.

Insurance paid all but $200 for a brand new bumper and repair to rear panel (actual cost of repairs were $1,300).

I learned to park closer to the security cameras. And not to be the first car in a line of parking spaces. Fortunately no one was parked next to me or I would have sustained a lot more damage.