You come out of a store into the parking lot only to notice that your car is different than when you left it. It has been hit, presumably by another vehicle, and no one left a note! This type of claim, referred to as a hit and run, seems to be happening more frequently than ever.
First call the police in the town where the incident happened. Detail the time, the place and location of the accident. If there is no police report and there is a payment made through insurance, the incident will be logged as the fault of the driver and that driver can be surcharged. Surcharges can last up to six years in Massachusetts.
Next call your insurance agent. Even though the collision is not your fault, you may still need to rely on your auto policy for the repair of your vehicle. The only way your policy will respond is if it includes the Collision coverage. If you have no Collision coverage, you will need to pay for the repair to your vehicle out of your own pocket. Unfortunately even if there is Collision on the policy, you are still responsible for the deductible as the company has no responsible party to claim this against.
As most vehicle hit and runs happen in parking lots, it is a difficult situation to avoid. Parking under lights and action by alert by-standers will help reduce the possibility. If you observe a hit and run, record the license plate of the car doing the damage and offer to serve as a witness; this will help minimize the consequences to the party whose vehicle was damaged.