If you frequently drive in city traffic or get a little careless in a mall parking lot, you could easily strike a parked vehicle. Although no other moving vehicles may be involved, you can still be held responsible for the accident. The result may mean an increase in your insurance rates and possibly even the cancellation of your policy.
If you hit a parked car, the accident is likely to be considered your fault even if the vehicle you hit is illegally parked. The rationale is that you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times when you're behind the wheel. Regardless of whether you encounter a parked car, tree, telephone pole or any other stationary object, you need to be driving in a manner where you can maintain control of your vehicle and avoid these objects.
Because you are likely to be considered at fault, you can expect your insurance premium to increase. Factors that influence the amount of any increase can include the amount of damage involved, any injuries to you, your passengers or any occupants of the parked vehicle, the rules of your insurance carrier and the laws of your state. If your insurer offers a feature known as "First Accident Forgiveness" and you qualify, you may be able to escape without an increase in premium.
If you've had several previous at-fault accidents, it is possible your carrier may elect to cancel your policy if permitted by state law. If so, you may need to take out a policy from a high-risk insurance carrier, which could raise your rates by 50 percent or more. You may be forced to remain with the high-risk carrier for several years without further incident before you would be accepted for standard rates again.
If you hit an unoccupied parked car and believe there are no witnesses, you may be tempted to flee the scene. If you're caught, you could be charged with a criminal offense and cited for a major traffic violation, which may result in your license being suspended. Your insurance carrier is likely to discover this through a routine check of your motor vehicle report or as a result of a police investigation. Your license may be suspended and your insurer may have grounds to terminate your policy, again placing you in a high-risk category when your license is restored.