If someone hits your car, you'll typically call your own insurance company. Your insurer will take care of all of the interactions with the other driver's insurer to handle your claim. Whether your car is backed into or lightly rear-ended, totaled in a major collision or damaged in a hitand-run, contacting your car insurance provider puts you in the best position to get your claim resolved.
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Who do I call after my car is hit?
You'll usually want to call your auto insurance company if someone hits your car. But before you do that, the first call you'll want to make is to the police. A police report is necessary if you file a claim after your car is hit.
After you contact your insurer and give them all the relevant information, you don't need to call the other driver's auto insurance provider. Your car insurance company will contact them and sort out the details to get your claim processed. The other driver is responsible for calling their insurer about the accident.
Do I need to call my car insurance company after my car is hit?
If your back fender only got a tap, chances are you won't need to file an auto insurance claim. Beyond that, you'll want to be careful. There may be damage you cannot see, and you'll want to record the accident with your insurer if you need to file a claim.
It becomes even more important to contact your insurer if injuries arise after the crash. Medical bills due to crash-related injuries can run higher than the repair bill for your car. If the crash results in immediate injuries, you should definitely file a car insurance claim, especially if your passengers are hurt.
If the other driver wants to pay for damages without involving auto insurance companies, it may be tempting. However, this is very risky. The other driver could drag out fulfilling their end, or it could eventually lead to an expensive court case. Also, they could decide to file a claim against you later.
If the other driver admits to being at fault for the crash, you can file a third-party claim directly with their insurer. If you take this route, you should still contact your auto insurance provider and let them know that you're filing a third-party claim.
Once you contact your insurer, they will take it from there. If the other driver is found at fault, their liability insurance should cover your damages and medical bills. There shouldn't be an issue unless the driver who hit you has inadequate or no liability insurance.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can take care of situations like this. It provides additional coverage if the other driver does not have enough liability insurance to cover your costs. Your state might require you to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your minimum liability limits. It's good to have even if it's not required.
If your car is damaged while parked or in a hit-and-run
If someone hits your car while it's parked, what happens next depends on whether the other driver leaves their contact information for you at the scene. Call the police on the nonemergency line and report the accident. Then call your auto insurance company and let them know what happened. They will take the other driver's information and contact their auto insurance provider. After that, they can also keep you up to date on the claim process.
If no information was left, the accident is considered a hit-and-run. The police will definitely want to know about it, as a hit-and-run is a crime. After you file a police report, contact your auto insurance company and give them the report number to follow up on the investigation.
In terms of insurance coverage for you while the hit-and-run driver is pursued, your minimum liability insurance won't be any help. It only provides coverage for repairs and medical expenses of accidents you're responsible for. If you have collision insurance, it will cover repairs to your car.
What do I do after my car is hit?
If someone hits your car, take the following steps:
Call 911 to get a police officer to the scene of the accident and medical assistance if there are injuries. Wait at the accident site until help arrives. After you file a police report, get the following information:
- The attending officer's name and badge number.
- The police report number for the accident.
- Any documentation for medical attendance arising from the crash.
Share information with the other driver
You'll want to get the following information from the other driver for your auto insurance company:
- The other driver's name, phone number and address.
- The name of their car insurance provider.
- Their driver's license, license plate and VIN numbers.
They will require the same from you for their insurer, so have this information handy.
Get witness information and documentation
If anyone saw the accident, get their names and contact information. They could be helpful in resolving your claim. Also, pictures of the damage and crash site can definitely help.
Call your auto insurance company
Call your auto insurer and let them know you've been in an accident and want to start a claim. They will take the information you've collected and initiate the claim process. If your car needs towing, they may be able to assist or at least recommend a good company.
What if I don't have car insurance when my car is hit?
There are many problems if you don't have car insurance and your car gets hit. First, all states except New Hampshire legally require you to have liability car insurance. Driving without the correct auto insurance can lead to tickets, fines and higher insurance rates when you do get coverage. The costs that arise from driving without insurance can easily surpass the cost of an annual premium.
Also, some states have "no pay, no play" laws. This means you are limited in compensation from an accident if you don't have auto insurance at the time of the accident. Some states won't allow you to collect compensation at all from another person's auto insurance if you don't have any. The logic behind the law is that if you don't have the proper insurance to cover another person's damages, you shouldn't benefit from someone who does. States with no pay, no play laws include:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
Will my rates increase if I file a car insurance claim after someone hits me?
Not all auto insurance claims necessarily result in a rate hike. Events where you may not see an increase in your premium include:
- Your car was damaged in a hit-and-run accident.
- Your car was rear-ended and you were found not at-fault.
- You were legally parked when the collision occurred.
These conditions aren't guaranteed to save you from a rate increase. It really depends on your car insurance provider. If your premium does go up after an accident that was not your fault, it's a perfect time to start looking for another provider. Compare quotes from other auto insurers to see if you can get better coverage and better treatment if you're in an accident you're not responsible for. There's a good possibility you may get a cheaper rate as well.
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