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Parking Lots and No-Fault Insurance

Once in a while I hear someone say remarkably convenient things about our state’s No Fault Auto laws.  The fact that we’re a No-Fault State doesn’t mean you can smash things with your car and just drive away!  This includes denting someone’s door or fender or bumper in a parking lot.  These incidents cause more damage and frustration than you’d think.  Plus, it’s just WRONG to do this.

If you damage someone else’s vehicle in a parking lot while they are not in the car, and you drive off without leaving a note, you’re committing a crime and putting the owner of the vehicle in a crummy situation. 

Failure to stop and identify yourself after you damage property (including other people’s autos) could be one of several misdemeanor offenses depending on the situation.  Yes, you might be in more trouble if you told people your wife went to Michigan instead of Michigan State (right, Mrs. Michael?), but that’s not the point.  

If the victim’s auto isn’t covered by their auto policy’s collision coverage (one of the two types of physical damage coverage), they wind up paying to repair their auto themselves.  If they have collision on their auto policy, their repair will be paid for by their insurance company, and they’ll need to pay their deductible unless they have Broad Form Collision which waives the deductible if they aren’t at fault.  And, if the damage is over a certain amount (this varies by insurance company) they could lose their “loss free” discount on their auto policy for a few years.  All of this easily adds up to hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars.

If you’re in this situation where someone damages your auto, and being a kind person you’re about to “let them go,” and figure you’ll pay for it yourself or let your insurance handle it, don’t do it.  We have laws, you have rights, and having the offending party be responsible for their actions doesn’t make you a bad person.  You can still be kind while allowing someone to accept responsibility for their actions!