In the event of a car accident, both drivers typically pull over and exchange insurance information as a means of resolving the situation. But what happens if you get into an accident and the other person drives away from the scene?
Hit-and-run accidents are much more common than you might think. According to a study from AAA, more than one hit-and-run accident occurs each minute in the United States. On average, there are about 682,000 reported hit-and-run crashes every year.
Does car insurance cover a hit and run?
In the event of a hit-and-run accident, you might be wondering if your car insurance will cover the damages. Typically, your insurance policy will cover a hit-and-run accident, assuming you carry both collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. However, it’s still important to check.
To find out if your insurance policy covers hit-and-runs, read your policy documents and look to see which coverages are at-fault and no-fault. In a normal accident where both drivers stop, the driver who caused the accident is found at-fault. The at-fault driver’s collision coverage automatically defaults to their insurance company, and their provider pays the other driver for their damages.
However, no one is at-fault in a hit-and-run crash. Even if you caused the accident and the other driver sped off, they are automatically not eligibile to take advantage of your insurance coverage. This is where uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage comes into play.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is considered a no-fault coverage. It protects you if you get into an accident and the other driver is uninsured, or doesn’t have enough coverage to reimburse you for the damages they caused. In a hit-and-run situation, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and property damage coverage will reimburse you for medical expenses and damages to your vehicle.
Collision coverage vs Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage
Collision coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are similar. The main difference is that collision coverage requires you to pay a deductible, whereas uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage does not.
If you file a collision insurance claim, you’ll pay the deductible and your insurance rate will increase. If you file an uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage claim, you don’t have to pay a deductible and your insurance premium will stay the same, or only increase slightly.
After a hit-and-run accident, talk to your insurance provider about the rate increases for both types of claims. You’ll want to choose the claim that will cost you the least amount of money out-of-pocket, and will have the least impact on your rate.
What coverages might take care of a hit and run?
Collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are the two main coverages that will protect you in a hit-and-run situation. In addition, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage can be beneficial in the event of a hit-and-run. If you live in a no-fault state, you are legally required to carry PIP. But drivers in some at-fault states can also purchase PIP coverage.
PIP insurance covers the damages to your vehicle and your medical expenses in the event of an accident, regardless of who caused the crash. After a hit-and-run accident, PIP would automatically cover your losses, even if you didn’t have the insurance information of the driver who left the scene.
In addition to vehicle damages and medical bills, PIP coverage will also reimburse you for childcare, lost wages, rehab services, and other unavoidable costs that resulted from the accident. PIP also covers passenger injuries if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident.
What should I do after a hit and run?
While hit-and-run accidents are not as typical as other forms of collision, it’s important to know what to do if you are involved in an accident of this type. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Call the police: After you’ve been hit, assess any injuries to you or your passengers, and call 911 if anyone needs medical attention. Even if it’s a minor crash, you’ll want to call the police and report the incident.
- Recall details about the other driver: When the police arrive at the scene, they’ll want to know any details you can remember about the other driver. You’ll be asked about the color of the car, the license plate, the make and model of the vehicle, what time the accident took place, where it happened and even which direction the other driver was heading.
- Record the damages: Before leaving the scene, take photos or video of the damages to your vehicle. If there were any witnesses, get their names and contact information. The more proof you can give to your insurance company, the easier the claims process will be. If anyone in the car needed medical care, record that as well.
- Contact your insurance company: The last step is to contact your insurance company to let them know about the crash and start the claims process. You’ll receive claims forms to fill out, which should include the photos and other information gathered from the scene. If there were witnesses, your insurance provider will likely contact them to learn more about what happened.
When you’re explaining the hit-and-run crash to your insurance company, give them as much detail as possible. Talk to an agent about your policy’s coverages to determine what will be covered. You should also find out how a collision claim and an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim will affect your premium, and if it requires a deductible.
- Vehicle damages and medical bills resulting from a hit-and-run accident are typically covered by your auto insurance policy.
- Specifically, collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist and PIP coverage will reimburse you for damages to your vehicle and medical expenses.
- Collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist claims affect your premium differently, so be sure to ask your insurance company about the costs of each.
- If you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident, call the police as soon as possible, provide details about the other driver, and notify your insurance company.