Prices (and Cars) Get Busted on Black Friday

Ned Smith, BusinessNewsDaily Senior Writer

Cash registers won't be the only thing ringing on Black Friday. While stores and malls will be packed to the gills with shoppers on holiday shopping's super Friday, the adjacent parking lots will also be chock-full of shoppers' cars. And those full lots will lead to a spike in the sound of metal-meeting-metal fender benders, insurance claims data shows.

Parking-related auto insurance claims increased 36.5 percent on Black Friday when compared with Fridays two weeks before and after Black Friday last year and accounted for a quarter of all claims, according to data from Progressive Insurance, the fourth-largest insurer of cars in the U.S. Parking situation claims doubled from 2010 to 2011.

Rear-ending someone or getting rear-ended accounted for 12.57 percent of claims, while accidents involving parked cars totaled 11.13 percent of claims, Progressive said. Accidents in which one car backs into another accounted for 7.68 percent of claims.

If you do have an accident, report it to police and insurer, even if it seems minor, Progressive recommends. That way you're protected in case the other party is uninsured or files a claim.

This is especially important in hit-and-run accidents; in addition to helping you with your insurance claim, the police may be able to access parking lot security cameras that might have recorded the accident. In most instances, the damage will be covered through your uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage, if you've opted to get that coverage.

If you've hit a parked car or other property and can't find the owner, securely attach a note with your name and contact information and then notify police and your insurer, Progressive said.

"Protecting your car can be as easy as parking it a little further back in the parking lot, away from the commotion of the store," said Maria Cashy, claims customer service process leader at Progressive. "That extra 100 feet could save your car some serious damage. "

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