Holiday Shopping: What Happens If Someone Hits My Car in the Parking Lot?

Some stores have built their reputations on the famously hectic annual Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday sales. And it only gets worse as Christmas and Hanukkah rear their heads. We’re here to help you navigate one of this season’s biggest traditions without any losses, mishaps or accidents along the way. If you’re in a car accident over the holidays, things could get hairy without the right insurance coverage. Learn more about different types of accidents and the insurance that covers them below.

Parking Lot Accidents

underinsured motorist coverageDuring the holidays, shopping centers and malls are more than just crowded. They’re also filled with stressed-out, maxed-out shoppers who may not be as careful behind the wheel as they should be. Additionally, parking lots will be more difficult to navigate, too. In fact, parking lots are where many fender benders happen any time of the year, but you should drive even more defensively around Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas/Hanukkah.

Remember that the roads will also have out-of-town drivers, many from other states. They may have Car Insurance policies that have different limits or coverages than what your state requires. That could mean bad news if they hit you.

Another very important thing to remember is that families are out and about in large numbers. Small children (and even pets) are often difficult to see standing or walking behind your car. Always make sure to pull out of parking spaces slowly and only once you’re certain there is nothing and no one behind your car. Definitely watch out for stray shopping carts, too.

Are All Parking Lot Accidents Considered No-Fault Accidents?

Many people involved in a parking lot accident have no police report to show for it. This poses a problem when it comes to filing an insurance claim because there are many factors that determine who is at fault in an accident.

First, it’s a myth that any parking lot accident gets taken care of by both drivers’ insurance companies at a 50/50 split. Typically, when there is a parking lot accident, the fault goes to the car pulling out. That is, the driver waiting to take the spot will not be considered at fault. However, the outcome is never clear cut, so you should always file a police report.

Also, keep in mind that there will be underinsured drivers or drivers with no insurance at all in these parking lots, too.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Yep, now is a great time to make sure you have Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM). If an uninsured or underinsured driver hits your car, the last thing you want to do is dig into your own pockets and use your gift-giving dollars to pay for repairs instead.

In some states Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is required because uninsured driving is such a big and costly problem. However, if you don’t have UM Insurance and an uninsured motorist hits your car, you may have to pay for some of your loss. The same thing happens if a driver with low minimum requirements on their Liability Insurance hit you. They may not have enough coverage and you also may not be fully covered without UM coverage.

Car Theft

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Thieves prey on chaos, and it doesn’t get much more chaotic for drivers than during the holiday season. Make sure you have all security features on your car activated wherever you go. Vandals and burglars seek protection from the dark so park in well-lit, high-traffic areas versus desolate areas.

If items do get stolen out of your car (like that TV you got at the Best Buy Black Friday sale), you may be covered under your Renters Insurance or Condo/Homeowners Insurance policies, but not your Auto Insurance. That’s why having the right coverage is so important. Speak to an Insurance Specialist about your coverage options at (855) 919-4247.

Reckless Drivers

auto insurance driving recordYou’ve dealt with reckless drivers before. They often weave in and out of traffic as if their lives depend on getting to their destination in record time. Well, these folks are on the road during the holidays, too. Even the calmest driver can get impatient after dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic during the holidays. Don’t be that reckless driver that puts yourself and others at risk.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s never worth risking a collision with another car. In fact, you should drive more carefully than ever during the holidays. To avoid accidents, driving defensively is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.

Tired or Disoriented Drivers

During the holidays, people have a lot on their minds and may be less-than-focused while behind the wheel. Remember that Thanksgiving turkey is loaded with tryptophan, which makes you sleepy. Also, you and many others are probably driving more than usual during the holidays. That automatically makes you (and everyone else) a higher-risk driver.

It’s also never a good idea to do marathon-driving trips without resting enough along the way. If you plan to drive long distances, schedule a break every couple of hours. It’s easy to fall asleep behind the wheel when you’re not well-rested. Even if you’re alert, drive slowly, especially if you’re not familiar with the roads you’re taking to your holiday destination.

Drunk Drivers, DUIs and DUIDs

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Yes, the holidays are a time for revelry, but don’t let it get to your head. The number of drunk drivers who get arrested skyrockets around this time of year. If you’re drinking alcoholic beverages, avoid getting behind the wheel. Before driving, always be certain that enough time has passed that you are not impaired and are safe to drive. That last thing you want on your driving record is a DUI.

You need to be careful if you plan on smoking marijuana, too. Even in states like Colorado and California, where cannabis is legal, you can get a Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) charge. This is the same charge you’d get if you were high on prescription drugs while driving.

While this season is a great time to have a few drinks and laughs with loved ones, it’s also a time to be extra careful when getting behind the wheel. Even if you’re sober, drive more defensively as you could be sharing the road with impaired drivers.

Gap Insurance

gap insuranceDid you buy a car that is worth less now than what you owe on it? If you’re unsure, it’s important to find out. This is because you are only covered for the current value of the car, not what you owe, if you get in an accident. If you owe more than the car’s current value, you will still owe money on the car if its totaled. This is true even if you have Collision coverage on your policy. Yes, even if it was the other driver’s fault, you may be at a loss without Gap Insurance.

Imagine having to make payments on a totaled car while also financing a new one. With Gap Insurance, you don’t have to worry about that scenario ever becoming a reality. Gap Insurance closes that gap between what the car is worth and what you owe. If you recently purchased a car worth less than what you owe, speak with an Insurance Specialist about your situation at (855) 919-4247. You can also call if you’d like a free quote or visit here to buy your Car Insurance policy online.


This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. It should not replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms, and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here. Such policy will be governed by the language contained therein, and no warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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