Hit and run car accidents are covered by some optional auto insurance policies. They are not covered by liability insurance coverage which is typically the only state required coverage. If you have collision coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, and/or medical payments coverage your damages may be covered.
After a hit and run, you’ll need to file a police report immediately and document any damage and pertinent information. Then, tell your insurance company about the accident and decide when to file a claim if you have applicable coverage.
This article will touch on:
- Does insurance cover hit and runs?
- What happens after a hit and run
- How long after an accident can you file an insurance claim?
- Do insurance costs rise after a hit and run? Do you have to pay your deductible?
Does car insurance cover hit and run accidents?
If you’re the victim of a hit and run when your car is in motion or even parked, whether your auto insurance covers it depends on your policy. If you have collision coverage, damage to your car would be covered. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, or medical payments coverage, bodily injury damages incurred by the hit and run should be covered. All policies may be subject to a deductible. You should report the incident as soon as possible to ensure you don't pass the time limits to file a bodily injury claim and/or property claim, which can vary by insurer your location.
Because full coverage auto policies encompass all these coverages, it should also protect you in the case of a hit and run. Liability coverage alone will not cover any damage caused by a hit and run. Liability insurance only covers damage or injury you cause to others when you’re at fault in an accident. Some coverages may be automatically included in your policy by law, depending on your state.
What car insurance coverage can protect me in the case of a hit and run?
|Auto Insurance Coverage||Cover hit and run property damage?||Cover hit and run injuries?|
|Full coverage auto policies||X||X|
|Uninsured motorist coverage||X||X|
|Personal injury protection||X|
|Medical payments coverage||X|
Collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers you if your car is damaged in a hit and run
Damage to your vehicle in a hit and run, ranging from a minor fender bender to a full replacement, will be covered by the collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages of your auto insurance policy. However, minimum car insurance typically does not include these additional coverages, so your auto insurance policy may not necessarily contain these coverages.
Collision insurance covers the cost of damage to your vehicle caused by an auto accident, regardless of fault. It is an optional addition to your auto insurance policy, though if you lease or take out a loan to buy your car your lender may require it. So if someone hits your car and flees, and you have collision coverage, your insurer would cover the cost of repairs or replacement, less your deductible. Coverage applies up to your policy's limits.
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist (UIM) property damage coverage would help cover repair or replacement costs because the hit and run driver has fled and is de facto un/underinsured. UIM protects you if the at-fault party doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages they caused. Because the at-fault party has disappeared, they are considered to be un/underinsured. In this case, your UIM would cover costs associated with damage. This coverage is only required in a few states and optional in many others. UIM property damage coverage typically has a deductible.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical payments and personal injury protection insurance cover injury to you or your passengers in a hit and run
Your auto insurance policy will cover you differently if a hit and run results in bodily injury to you or a passenger. Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, medical payments coverage, and personal injury protection all may help to cover expenses.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage helps cover medical bills and foregone wages in case of an accident. UIM bodily injury coverage can help protect you with hit and run accidents as well. This policy typically does not have a deductible.
Medical payments coverage (MedPay) helps pay for medical bills regardless of fault in an accident (including a hit and run). It typically does not have a deductible and is not available in all states.
Personal injury protection (PIP) also helps cover medical bills and foregone wages regardless of fault. It is required in some states, and unavailable in others. PIP may have a deductible.
What to do after a hit and run:
After a hit and run accident, you might know to file a police report. But what else should you make sure to do? Here are some steps to take if you’re a hit and run victim:
- As the hit and run victim, make sure to call 911 immediately. Get medical help if needed. If anyone is injured, make sure to say so immediately.
- Contact the police and file a police report. When you report your hit and run offer them any information you have and work with them as well as you can. They’ll investigate to try to find the culprit and a police report is required for an insurance claim. If damage is minimal, police might not come to the scene. In that case, document as much as you can for when you file the claim.
- Take down as many details of the incident as you can. These include license plate number of the vehicle at fault, make and model of the vehicle, the direction of where the driver was headed, etc. If your car was parked and you didn’t see the accident, make sure to ask witnesses and local businesses with potential security video footage to get information.
- Take extensive photos. These will help with the police investigation and with an insurance claim.
- Report the hit and run accident to your insurance company. Depending on your policy, you may only have 24 hours to do so. You should submit your accident report immediately.
- File an insurance claim. If you notice damages to your body or your vehicle, file your insurance claim immediately. If you suspect there might be damage that only surfaces later, you might consider holding off on filing the claim until you see the full damages. Statutes to file a personal injury claim and/or a property damage claim depend on your state and the type of claim, so make sure to check with your agent immediately to see how long you have.
Do I have to pay my deductible for a hit and run auto insurance claim?
Yes, you have to pay your deductible in the case of a hit and run accident. You can file a hit and run claim through multiple different forms of car insurance (MedPay, collision, PIP, etc.), so the deductible you pay depends on the specific coverage you’re utilizing. Even if your car is parked when a hit and run occurs, you’re still liable for your deductible.
For example, let's say there’s both bodily injury and property damage and you file a claim through your collision, personal injury protection, and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverages. Your collision coverage would pay your property damage costs. Medical bills would be paid for by your personal injury protection first, and then your uninsured motorist coverage would cover the remainder if necessary. In this case, you might be liable for two deductibles -- your collision deductible and personal injury protection deductible. Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage typically does not have a deductible, so you wouldn’t have to pay that deductible cost.
How long after a hit and run car accident do you have to file an insurance claim?
You need to report an accident to the police and your insurance company immediately. But there might be cases where you might want to hold off on filing a claim after a hit and run. This time buffer would allow you to see if there was any internal damage to your car or to your being that you didn’t notice immediately. Some injuries and damage only surface a few days or weeks after an incident. Make sure you check with your insurance agent immediately to understand the statute of limitations for filing a claim.
If you can wait longer for a reimbursement, you can consider waiting to file a claim. But make sure to check what your auto insurance claims time limits are so you don’t miss the window!
How does a hit and run affect your insurance rates?
For accidents where you aren’t at fault - like a hit and run - your insurance rates are less likely to increase, although it can happen. Frequent insurance claims, regardless of fault, can lead to a rise in premiums.
Will a hit and run raise my insurance costs?
In short, accidents where you aren’t at fault shouldn’t raise your insurance premiums, but they can. But filing any insurance claim goes on your insurance record. And filing a high frequency of insurance claims can lead to higher insurance costs.If your rates do go up at the end of your policy term, you should shop around for new insurance quotes.
To keep your insurance premiums low, only file a claim if the damage is higher than your deductible. If you sustained $700 in damage and have a $500 deductible, you definitely want to pay for the repairs out of pocket to minimize the number of claims. You also shouldn’t file a claim if the cost only slightly exceeds your deductible. The claim payout would be minimal while running the risk of rate increases.
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