I was driving in a snowy store parking lot and bumped into another
car that then hit the shopping cart corral and banged that
up. No one was hurt, but what covers me for the damage to my
car and the car I hit? Also, will I be responsible for
the damaged carts? Does the store have any liability?
Driving during or after a snowstorm can be tricky and even
dangerous. You need to be even more cautious than normal to stay in
complete control of your vehicle. (See "
7 deadly sins of winter driving.
If you lose control and hit another vehicle, or object, you need
for your vehicle to be covered by your car insurance policy.
With collision, the repairs or total loss of your vehicle will be
paid out after an auto accident, minus your
property damage liability
coverage will pay for the damages you caused to another vehicle, or
anything else you hit, up to your limit. To understand better
what coverage is used for different types of car crashes, try out
our Crash-o-matic tool that will let you click on six common
accident scenarios to see what car insurance coverage would be
needed to pay for damages done.
It's good to hear that no one was injured in this parking lot
accident. However, if the other person complains later about being
hurt, your bodily injury liability coverage should cover that
individual's injuries up to your maximum per person limit.
As for the damaged shopping carts and the cart corral, it's most
likely that you will be held responsible for those damages as
well. Even though it was the other vehicle that actually hit
the shopping carts, yours was the one that shoved that vehicle into
the store's property. Hopefully the damage to both the other
vehicle and the carts is minimal so that your property damage
liability limits will be sufficient to cover both.
Your property damage liability limit is per accident, so if it's
exceeded by the repair costs for all of the items you damaged, you
will be held personally liable for any additional costs. (See "Do I
have to pay if my liability limits are exceeded?")
You can look into state laws and local ordinances to see if
there is any liability on the part of the store for the snowy or
icy condition of the parking lot -- there are areas of the U.S.
that have very specific snow removal laws, such as
However, it's highly likely for this snowy parking lot accident
to be found to be mostly your fault and thus it could affect your
future auto insurance premiums. If your premiums do rise,
make sure to shop around for lower car insurance rates.
Spending a few minutes to comparison shop can save you hundreds of
dollars, if not thousands.