a finger pointing at a dent on a car door

I Opened My Car Door Accidentally Hitting Another Car: What To Do?

February 27, 2024

It's a situation many drivers dread but could easily find themselves in: you're parked, you go to open your car door, and suddenly, you've hit the vehicle parked next to you. Yikes! While it's a common enough scenario, these kinds of everyday incidents can potentially escalate quickly - so knowing how to properly handle them is key. In the following blog, we’re going to guide you through the responsible steps to take if you find yourself in this predicament in the UK, so let’s dive in!

Check for Damage

First things first, assess the damage: even if it seems minor, it's important to acknowledge any impact you've caused to the other vehicle, as this initial step is crucial for determining how you proceed. Look for dents, scrapes, and scratches, as well as any other signs of impact.

Swap Contact and Insurance Information

If the owner of the other vehicle is present, approach them calmly and honestly and explain what has happened. You should then proceed to calmly exchange your contact details; this should include names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. And don’t forget that in the UK, this isn’t just a custom, it’s actually a legal obligation.

Gather Documentation

Your next move is going to be to take photographs of the damage to both vehicles, ensuring you capture the positions of the cars and any visible marks or dents. As we mentioned above, extensive images and documentation can be vital for helping your case in the event that the driver makes an insurance claim, especially if there ends up being any disputes about the extent of the damage.

Do I Need to Report the Incident?

Though it might seem like a minor incident, reporting this type of incident to your insurance company is a necessary step; this not only ensures that you adhere to the terms of most UK car insurance policies, but also ensures that there's an official record of the incident, which could be important later on. Your provider will also help you manage the situation, so you’re not left out of the loop during what could become a lengthy or arduous process.

Seeking Repair Options

repairing car dent after the accident by paintless dent repair

Discuss with the other party how to handle the repairs. This might involve going through insurance or, for minor damage, arranging for repairs privately. If you choose the latter, ensure you get quotes from reputable garages to ensure the repair work is carried out to a high standard. You’ll also want to make sure that you get everything - including any agreements - in writing, preferably signed by a third party. While it’s likely that the repairs won’t rank high when it comes to vehicle damage classification, it’s still a good step to safeguard yourself against potential fraud.

Will My Insurance Premium Go Up?

It’s normal to worry about how such incidents will affect your insurance premiums, but for small incidents, you usually shouldn’t have much to worry about. While it's true that making a claim can lead to higher premiums, the impact can vary depending on your insurance provider, your no-claims bonus, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Ultimately, hitting another car with your door is an unfortunate mistake, but it's important to treat the situation with important context and relativity. Remember, the key is to stay calm, be honest, and take proactive steps to resolve the issue - ideally with your insurance company or an accident management company supporting you at your side.


What if I hit a car door and there's no visible damage?

Even if there's no visible damage, it's best to leave a note with your contact information on the other vehicle. This action isn’t just courtesy but a legal obligation, and ensures transparency should the other owner later discover an issue.

Is it necessary to call the police for such a minor incident?

Typically, calling the police for a minor incident like opening your door onto another car isn't required unless there are injuries or significant damage.

How can I prove the damage was minor?

Taking photos at the scene is your best bet for documenting the extent of the damage. This can help prove the damage was minor and support your account of the incident if there are any disputes.

What should I do if the other owner overreacts?

Stay calm and avoid confrontation, even if the other driver is getting agitated; simply let them know that you've provided your contact and insurance information, and that the insurance companies will handle the problem from there. If necessary, report the incident to your insurance company right away and let them handle all future communication to avoid any escalation.