A stack of shopping trolley

What to Do if Someone Hits Your Car With a Shopping Trolley?

November 9, 2023

It's an experience every car owner dreads: returning from a shopping trip, only to find that your car has been struck or scraped by a shopping trolley. Although seemingly minor, rogue trolley incidents can lead to unsightly dents or scratches on your car that can be both annoying and costly to repair. So, what should you do if someone hits your car with a trolley, and what role does your car insurance play?

The immediate reaction might be understandable frustration, but it's crucial to approach the situation systematically: you’re going to want to ensure that you assess damage, gather evidence, locate camera footage, and find any other documentation that might help you make a claim. Let’s take a closer look at the key steps you should take.

Assessing the Damage

Before jumping to any conclusions about the who-what-where-and-why, it’s important to take a moment to assess the actual damage; while some impacts may only leave a superficial mark that can be easily wiped off, others may cause dents or deep scratches. The extent of the damage may also determine whether or not it’s worth making a non fault car accident repair claim with your car insurance provider.

Don’t forget to ensure that you're parked safely and that you're not obstructing any traffic or pedestrians when you're inspecting your car.

Locating Witnesses

If the trolley collision occurred in a busy pedestrian area - like a supermarket car park - it’s likely that the scene was witnessed by one or more passers-by. When it comes to building a case for your claim, it can be worthwhile to (politely!) approach any onlookers and ask them if they saw what happened, and potentially gather their contact information if they’re willing to help.

Onlookers may be willing to provide a brief account of how the incident occurred, and may also be able to let you know whether the collusion occured due to a gust of wind, an unattended trolley, or perhaps even someone being careless. Their account could be beneficial, especially when liaising with your insurance provider.

Security Camera Footage

Most supermarkets and shopping centres in the UK now have security cameras monitoring their parking areas, and obtaining footage of the trolley collision can also be incredibly helpful when it comes to building a strong claim. If you believe the incident occurred within the line of sight of one of these cameras, it might be possible to request footage. Not only can this be pivotal in determining the exact cause of the damage, but it can also potentially help identify the responsible party, if any.

Shopping trolley

Contacting the Store Management

While a supermarket or shop isn't directly responsible for trolley damages, it's still a good idea to inform the management that a trolley collision occurred on their premises. They might have procedures in place for such incidents, especially if it's a recurring issue, and they may even be able to facilitate access to security footage, as we mentioned above.

Documenting the Scene

As with any car accident, be it major or minor, documentation is key, most notably via these two methods:

  • Photographs: Take clear photos of the damage, ensuring that the surrounding environment, like nearby trolleys or the position of your car within the parking space, is also captured.
  • Written Account: Draft a brief account of when you believe the incident occurred, the weather conditions (if they might have been a factor), and any other pertinent observations.

Contacting Your Insurance Provider

Regardless of how minor the damage may seem, it's wise to notify your insurance company if someone damages or scrapes your car with a shopping trolley. They can advise on the best course of action and clarify how such incidents might affect your policy or no-claims bonus. If you’re sure that the accident wasn’t your fault (for example, you weren’t parked incorrectly and the trolley wasn’t in your control before the collision) you may also be able to consider a credit hire company who can assist in no-fault repair claims.

No-Fault and At-Fault Considerations

While a shopping trolley incident may seem straightforward, determining who's at fault isn't always clear cut. If the trolley was left unattended and was blown into your vehicle by the wind, it's harder to assign blame to a specific individual; on the other hand, if someone was directly responsible (and either accepts fault or is caught on camera), they could be deemed at fault. Here are some points to consider:

  • Your Insurance: If you have comprehensive car insurance, the damage to your car is typically covered, regardless of who's at fault. However, you should consider the excess and how a claim might affect your no-claims discount. Claiming on your car insurance could also potentially cause your premium to go up at your next renewal.
  • No-Fault Claim: If you have legal protection or a similar addition in your policy, you might be able to make a non-fault car accident repair claim. This allows you to claim repair costs without affecting your no-claims bonus, especially if another party is clearly at fault.