How should I go about resolving this parking lot property damage?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 27, 2013

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Insurance Question from Cumming, GA

Asked on 08/27/2013

How should I go about resolving this parking lot property damage? I went to the grocery store and parked my manual shift car. I went in to get one thing, and when I came out, I saw that my car had run into the fence around the detention pond about thirty or so feet in front of my car. A lady asked me if it was my car. I said that it was, and she said that she didn't know what happened, but that it just started rolling. I figure I had forgotten to apply the e-brake, even though I've had this car for years, and applying it when I park is second-nature. So, the fence sustained mild damage. What should I do now? Should my car insurance company be involved?

Answer given on August 29, 2013

If your car rolled out of a parking space, even if you were not in it, you would be considered responsible for the damages caused to the property owner’s fence. You can report this incident to your insurance company, but it could increase your insurance rates. You should find out the cost to repair the fence. Then check with your insurance company to see if there is a limit before they will increase your rates. In many states it is $500 or $750. If the damage is below that, you can report the claim and your rates won’t be affected. If it is higher, then your rates could go up. You should determine if the increased costs of the insurance warrant filing the claim with your insurance company. You may find it less expensive to pay for the repairs on your own. There is nothing wrong with doing this, since no one was injured in the incident.

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