The damage from a hit-and-run car accident is covered by various forms of optional car insurance coverage not included in liability-only policies. Collision insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection and medical payments coverage can all help, depending on which forms of coverage are available in your state.
After a hit-and-run, there are several steps you'll want to take, including filing a police report, talking to witnesses and getting relevant information if you decide to file a claim.
This article will cover:
Does my car insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Standard auto insurance does not cover damage caused by a hit-and-run accident. However, the following types of optional car insurance coverage can help:
Collision insurance covers expenses if your car is damaged in a hit-and-run, regardless of who is at fault. If your car is hit and the driver does not leave any sort of contact information, your car insurance company will pay the cost of repairs, minus your deductible, up to your policy's written limits.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage helps cover damage to your car in the event that the hit-and-run driver has fled, at which point they will be considered uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) by default. UM and UIM coverage also covers medical expenses due to injuries you suffer due to a hit-and-run.
While the property damage portion of a UM or UIM policy has a deductible, the bodily injury portion usually does not. You will want to check and see if you have UM or UIM as part of your car insurance policy, as it is only required in some states, and is an optional purchase in others.
Medical payments coverage (MedPay)
MedPay covers medical expenses you accrue after a hit-and-run. It usually doesn't carry a deductible, but it isn't available in all states. If you're interested, check with your provider to see whether or not it's available.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
PIP helps to cover your medical expenses after a hit-and-run, but it can also cover associated expenses such as emergency room visits, follow-up appointments, lost wages and prescriptions. PIP is part of the required minimum auto insurance limits of 12 states, but is not available in some other states. It may have a deductible.
Does a hit-and-run affect your car insurance?
With accidents that are not your fault, such as if you're the victim of a hit-and-run, your car insurance rates do not usually increase. However, this isn't to say it can't happen. If you file insurance claims frequently, you can see your rates go up regardless of who is at fault. If you're coming up on your policy's expiration date and you see a rate increase included, we strongly recommend you compare quotes from multiple companies to find a cheaper rate.
To avoid a rate increase, find out if you can afford to pay for the damage out of pocket. If your damages are lower than your deductible, your car insurance claim will not only be denied, but you could see a rate increase as well at the end of the year. Look at how much the damage estimate cost would be compared to a rate increase over time.
An accident can stay on your insurance record for anywhere from three to five years. According to Forbes, the average increase after a car insurance claim is 41% for the first claim on your record. This increase will be higher after the first claim. If this increase over three to five years is significantly higher than the cost of the repairs, try to pay for the damage on your own.
What to do after a hit-and-run accident
In order to have all the required documents if you need to file a claim, here are the steps you should follow after a hit-and-run:
- Call 911
- File a police report
- Gather documentation
- Decide whether or not to file a claim
If you were in the car at the time of the hit-and-run, call 911 immediately. Also be sure to get a medical exam as soon as possible. Injuries due to a collision may not make themselves felt for days after, and you'll want to have a medical professional examine you so any injuries can be part of the claim.
File a police report
If there isn't an officer at the scene, contact the local police and file a police report. The attending officer will let you know what information they need for the report. There is the chance that an officer may not come if the damage is minimal, in which case you will either need to file the report by phone or go to the nearest precinct.
Note as many details of the incident as you can, such as:
- Time you saw the damage
- License plate, make and model of the car if you saw the accident
- The direction the driver was going
If you did not see the accident, try to find a witness or ask local businesses if they have security cameras that may be able to supply video footage of the accident. Also, take photos of all the damage due to the hit-and-run. Get pictures of the location where the collision happened as well. These will be helpful with the police report and insurance claim.
Decide whether or not to file a claim
Get the damage to your car looked at immediately. If it is only minimal surface damage, consider paying out of pocket for repairs. If the damage is extensive and not affordable for you, file an auto insurance claim immediately. With personal injury claims, the statutes to file vary from company to company, so check with your auto insurer to see what kind of time frame you have.
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