Getting into a car accident is always a stressful situation. First, there is the initial blow from the collision, then the nervous or angry exchange of insurance information, and, finally, weeks of working with your insurance provider to get your car fixed. Could it get any worse than that? Unfortunately, yes, it could. It's called getting dinged and ditched.
So, what exactly does it mean to get dinged and ditched? Well, imagine taking a quick trip to the store, and, upon your return to your car, you notice a large dent has appeared that you're positive did not exist before. As you examine the damage, you then frantically search for a note lodged between the window and windshield wiper, hoping to find some sort of explanation, apology or, more importantly, insurance information. After you double and triple-check every nook and cranny on your car for a note, you make the upsetting conclusion that the person who damaged your car did not leave you a note. The perpetrator unapologetically committed a ding and ditch -- and so you're left to wonder: what happens next?
Although every circumstance differs from one another, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you ever find yourself dinged and ditched:
--Don't panic! Thank goodness you were not in the car when the car was hit. However, the stress of dealing with the damage without someone to blame can be just as upsetting. Therefore, do your best to calmly assess the damage done to your car and prepare for some investigating.
--If there are people, security guards or cameras nearby, follow up to find out whether or not they noticed the car that may have hit yours. The more details you can gather, the better. Additionally, take pictures of your car and estimate the time you were away from your car, and the time you found your car in the damaged condition. All of this information is crucial for building the claim for your insurance provider.
--According to InsuranceHotline.com, visiting your local collision reporting center will help you organize each detail (witnesses, pictures, license plate numbers, etc.) into a report that will be useful in the next steps.
--Make a police report and file a claim. Although there are no culprits present, it is extremely important that you file a police report. In fact, a filed police report is often required by insurance providers when submitting a new claim. Additionally, the information you provide to the police could even assist them in finding the person who hit you in the first place.
--What if the police never identify the culprit? According to InsuranceHotline.com, the claim will be paid to you from the collision section of your car's insurance policy. However, if you do not have collision coverage, you may not be covered to get your car fixed. Therefore, it is best to check the details of your insurance policy before it happens.
--What if they do find the one who dinged and ditched? Well, you're in luck! You won't have to fret about whether or not the collision stipulation is covered in your insurance policy, because the process will become a familiar one from here on out. Typically, in this case, the damage will be covered through the direct compensation section of your insurance policy.
--Every insurance provider is different. With that in mind, don't wait until you've been dinged and ditched to find out if you're covered or not. Don't allow a lousy situation to turn into a lousy outcome. Get in touch with a representative from your insurance provider today and find out where you're protected and where you're not.
Getting dinged and ditched is a bummer, and unfortunately, there are no guaranteed ways to prevent it (unless you decide to never drive again). However, like most people, driving is what gets you where you need to go. Driving and even just parking your car while you run a quick errand can make you vulnerable to accidents. However, in situations where you find yourself dinged and ditched without a note, remember to take a deep breath, assess the situation calmly and carefully, and follow some of the steps above to help the process along and get your car fixed sooner rather than later.