With the holiday season and upon us, more of us are shopping and spending our time navigating our way through parking lots. With that comes the increased chances of getting into and accident, so now is probably a good time to brush up on what is covered by insurance.

Most people probably know if you damage someone else’s vehicle you’re responsible. What many don’t realize is that in many cases if the other driver is not around, you are required by law to leave them a note. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small scratch, not doing so is considered a hit-and-run in most states.

If you find yourself to be the victim of a parking lot hit-and-run, the first thing to do is see if there are any nearby witnesses and if not ask the store if they have a security camera. Retailers looking out for their customers’ safety also give insurance investigators the ability to look at accidents.

The accident should be covered by the insurance of whichever driver is at fault. If both are at fault, each relies on their own insurance. In the case of a hit-and-run, a driver being underinsured or not insured at all, it’s up to your insurance to pay for damages, assuming you purchased optional collision coverage.

In most states, damage caused by hit-and-run drivers is covered by uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage coverage. This coverage is optional in some states and mandatory in others, but it helps cover damages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages for you and your passengers in these types of accidents.

While no one can predict another driver’s behavior, doing things like staying alert, avoiding distractions, and slowing down can greatly reduce the chance of getting into an accident while shopping this holiday season. However, if you do find yourself in a parking lot accident, the best thing to do is get the contact information of any witnesses and call your insurance company.

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