Does my car insurance cover accidents on private property?

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Things to remember...

  • Private property accidents can be complex
  • Accident reports are harder to obtain in private party accidents
  • There could be more than one person at-fault for this kind of accident

Car accidents on public roads are easy to navigate in terms of understanding what to do in the moments following an accident. Call the police, seek medical attention for injuries, and call insurance companies to discuss information pertaining to policies and at-fault drivers.

There’s rarely third-party involvement in an accident that occurs on a public road, but that all changes when an accident occurs on private property. Private property is defined as anything not public, such as a parking garage, someone’s driveway, or even someone’s home.

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When an accident occurs on private property, it’s often unclear what happens next. The steps aren’t much different than they are when a typical accident occurs, but there are several things drivers should know when and if they are involved in an accident on someone’s private property. Following these steps helps ensure a person’s insurance does cover the cost of an accident on private property.

Call the Police



The first thing that occurs following any accident is an accident report. Unlike a regular accident on the highway, calling the police for a private property accident is slightly different. The police don’t love handling these cases as they’re slightly different. Police officers aren’t able to cite the at-fault drivers, and they have no jurisdiction on private property. They can, however, issue an accident report.

This means police officers can examine the scene of the accident, write a report, and note what needs notation. This report dictates everything from the make and models of the cars involved, the names of all parties, and the details of the scene.

It’s imperative to call the police following a private party accident so the insurance companies have a copy of a police report stating the facts.

All drivers must note few car insurance companies are willing to pay a claim for an accident on private property if there is not an accident report on hand. Drivers can shop around for as many car insurance policies as they’d like, but this holds true for almost all insurance companies. Without a report, it’s easy to deny a claim. That’s one of the worst situations for drivers involved in any private property accident.

Contact the Property Owner

The next step is to contact the property owner following an accident. Even if the accident had nothing to do with the property owner or their fault, it’s wise to inform them an accident occurred on their property.

Some accidents might occur on private property through some fault of the owner, and that means there could be three parties involved in a dispute.

The other common reasons to contact the property owner is for assistance. The cause of the accident might have very little to do with the property owner, but the owner of the property might be able to provide help to the police regarding the accident. Security cameras, witness statements, and other factors all play into this, and it could make the situation easier to handle if proof of cause is provided by the property owner following the accident.

Seek Medical Attention


It’s recommended all people involved in accidents seek medical attention following any car accident. Whether it’s a serious accident or one that’s not so serious, it’s helpful to seek medical attention to be sure all victims are properly treated. Injuries are not always visible or immediately noticeable.

Many injuries begin to appear several days or weeks following an accident, and internal injuries are made far worse the longer they’re left untreated. It’s not required accident victims seek medical attention when an ambulance appears, but it’s a good idea they seek attention from a doctor at the local hospital or their own personal doctor.

The best time for this is within one day of the accident. It’s always better to pay a co-pay to find out there is nothing wrong with the victims of an accident than it is to save a few dollars now only to pay far more later when injuries begin to appear.

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What if the other driver flees the scene of the accident?

One of the most common occurrences regarding private property car accidents occurs when one party hits a car in a parking lot and quickly leaves. Unfortunately, this means the owner of the parking lot typically becomes far more involved in the accident than they might prefer. It happens, but the property owner might be able to provide more information such as security footage.

Before anyone chooses a car insurance policy, they should speak to insurance agents about how situations like this one are handled. What does the insurance agency require if a vehicle is damaged on private property such as a parking lot or garage when the other driver leaves the scene before fault is issued? What if there is no one to blame and no evidence other than a damaged vehicle? Understanding this helps drivers find the right policy to cover their vehicle in case the worst happens.

Do drivers call their insurance company?


Yes. If a driver is involved in a private property car accident, they must call their own insurance company. Once an accident report is filed, the property owner is notified, and medical attention has been handled, it’s time to call the driver’s insurance company to begin the claim process. It’s also helpful for the driver to have a few things on hand.

  • Any footage from the accident
  • The accident report
  • Any witness information

Once the insurance company is notified, they can begin their own investigation into the accident. This means talking to witnesses, reading the accident report, and disputing anything they feel is worth disputing. Driver’s should have coverage appropriate for this kind of situation as well as comprehensive coverage for the kind of vehicle they drive.

Shopping for a car insurance policy is something drivers should do with the utmost care and precision. The decisions they make at the moment are the ones that affect them the most when the worst occurs. Private property accidents are common, and they can mean many things for drivers who aren’t careful with the kind of insurance they purchase.

To ensure accident damage is covered by insurance companies, follow these steps. Covering every possible angle is the best way to ensure an insurance company has all the necessary information required to issue payout on a claim. It’s also helpful for drivers to understand they do have the power to negotiate if they feel the offer from the insurance company is too low.

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