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Hit and run insurance claims. A complete guide.

Hit and run insurance claims

Before examining how hit-and-run claims work, let’s examine what makes an accident a hit-and-run.

According to traffic law, a hit-and-run is an act of a driver knowingly causing an accident and fleeing the scene.

Like any accident, it’s important to document the accident for your insurance company and the police. However, the claims process will be more challenging if one driver flees the scene.

To complicate matters, you may not see the accident if your car was parked or see their license plate details if you’re in the car and stunned by the incident.

In any case, you can be left with costly damage, injuries, and no way of finding the at-fault driver.

While there isn’t a specific hit-and-run insurance policy, several types of car insurance coverage are useful for hit-and-run claims.

This guide will examine car insurance and hit-and-run insurance claims.

Table of contents

  • What is a hit and run insurance claim?
  • Does car insurance cover hit and runs?
  • What should I do if I’m involved in a hit and run accident?
  • How do hit and run insurance claims work?
  • Hit and run insurance claims FAQ

What is a hit and run insurance claim?

A hit-and-run accident is classified as a collision where one party flees the scene. One of the two parties would have failed to stop or provide their information.

A hit-and-run insurance claim is a subsequent process that an insured will take to request help from their insurance provider.

Suppose your car is involved in a collision where the other driver is at-fault, but they fail to stop to provide their insurance details. This act is known as a hit-and-run accident, and you will need to make a hit-and-run insurance claim.

Certain insurance policies do not provide cover if the other party cannot be tracked.

You must check your policy details or contact your insurance providers to determine if you are covered for uninsured or hit-and-run drivers.

Does car insurance cover hit and runs?

Several types of car insurance coverage can potentially pay for damage and injuries if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

Depending on your insurance providers and policy, these car insurance coverage types may cover a hit-and-run:

  • Medical coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Uninsured motorist
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)

Verify your car insurance policy with your insurers to ensure you have adequate insurance.

Here are the specific coverages and their details.

Medical coverage

Depending on the policy, some auto insurance packages cover the cost of medical payments, no matter who was at fault for the hit-and-run accident.

In other cases, this coverage can be added as an additional extra.

This type of coverage typically does not have a deductible.

Collision coverage

Collision coverage helps with your vehicle’s repair or replacement costs if it collides with another object.

Collision insurance typically covers the following:

  • Your car rolling over
  • A collision with another vehicle
  • An accident such as a hit-and-run
  • If you crash into an object, like a pole or fence

If you’re a hit-and-run accident victim, you may be able to file a claim on your insurance policy even if the other driver isn’t found.

Collision coverage has a deductible, which you’ll pay out of pocket toward a covered claim. You must still pay your deductible even if the accident isn’t your fault.

The other driver’s insurance company might reimburse your deductible if the driver is found.

Uninsured motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage (or coverage of other drivers) pays for medical bills if a driver hits you without liability insurance or if they remain unknown.

Uninsured motorist coverages (or coverages of other drivers) may help cover hit-and-run accidents.

Depending on your policy, you may have the following coverages:

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage can cover medical bills and lost wages if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. This coverage typically doesn’t have a deductible.

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage

This coverage helps pay for repairs if an uninsured driver damages your car. Sometimes, it can pay for hit-and-run damages, and this coverage typically has a deductible.

Personal injury protection

Personal injury protection (PIP), like personal accident insurance coverage, helps to pay for healthcare bills, regardless of who was at fault.

PIP can also pay for issues related to the accident, like childcare costs and loss of wages if you cannot work. A deductible may apply.

Bottom line

Each coverage has a limit — the maximum your insurance policy will pay for a covered claim. Therefore, you may have to pay out-of-pocket expenses exceeding your coverage limits.

There isn’t a “hit-and-run insurance” policy, but certain car insurance coverages can help cover costs during hit-and-run claims.

If you are in a hit-and-run accident that results in several issues, such as physical damage and injuries, you may have to use many coverage types to pay for the related costs.

What should I do if I’m involved in a hit and run accident?

The guidelines for reporting a hit-and-run accident may vary slightly between insurers, but there are more similarities than differences.

Here’s what you must do if you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Assess the damage

Identifying the driver or vehicle that caused a hit-and-run is not always possible. As a rule, it’s best not to chase the driver if you see them speeding away.

Ensure your health and safety come first and prioritize your next steps.

Pullover, ensure everyone is without serious injuries, and then assess the damage to your car.

Call the police

If everyone is okay, call the police and file an accident report. Ideally, doing this immediately or within 24 hours of the incident or noticing the damage would be best.

A prompt response can help the authorities investigate the hit-and-run sooner rather than later and benefit the claims process.

In the event of serious injuries, you may also need to ask for emergency ambulance services to help the injured persons in the accident.

Tell the police what you know about the accident and any identifying details, such as the other driver’s license plate, the car model, or the color.

The police may be able to track down the at-fault driver.

Talk to eyewitnesses

At this point, check whether the incident was captured on a camera. Look out for eyewitnesses who can give a police statement about what they saw.

These options may be the only clues you have in cases where your parked car got damaged while you weren’t present.

If the driver is found and adequately insured, their insurance usually covers your damage and injury costs.

Document information

Even if the at-fault driver sped off, here are details you should look for and potentially document.

  • The driver’s license plate
  • Make, model, and color of their car
  • The time, date, and precise location of the accident
  • The names and contact details of any eyewitnesses willing to help
  • Photos and descriptions of your vehicle’s damages and the other vehicle (if possible)

Inform your insurance company

Finally, you should alert your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible, no matter if you want to file a hit-and-run claim.

Some insurers require you to file a hit-and-run claim within 24 hours, so ensure you know your policy details.

Ensure you seek medical assistance and continue to document any injuries after the incident.

Your insurance provider may require you to provide the documentation and proof of the incident as they process your claim. Sometimes, they need to send an insurance adjuster to assess the damage.

Ensure you meet all deadlines as necessary and follow their guidance throughout the process.

What not to do in a hit-and-run

As much as there are things to do in a hit-and-run claim process, there are also things that you should avoid doing.

  • Do not wait in your car while parked on the hard shoulder or travel lane. If possible, find somewhere safe away from the main road.
  • Do not chase the hit-and-run driver. This act will not work in your favor in the claims process. You will also miss the opportunity to ask for eyewitness accounts.
  • Don’t delay in contacting the authorities or your insurance provider. Promptly reporting the accident is beneficial for your claim and for the authorities.

How do hit and run insurance claims work?

Whether you have adequate insurance or not, you should contact the authorities and your insurance company after the hit-and-run accident.

Depending on the circumstances and your coverage, you may need to file a hit-and-run claim.

If you file a claim and learn new information from the police about the other driver who fled the scene, you should relay this to your insurer.

Your insurance company can file a third-party claim against the responsible driver’s liability coverage if the at-fault driver is found.

Identifying the responsible driver can help you avoid the cost of filing a claim through your insurance.

Hit and run insurance claims FAQ

Does insurance cover a hit-and-run for a parked car?

If you have collision insurance coverage, you will likely be covered for damages after a hit-and-run accident, even if your car was parked at the time of the accident.

You may be able to use uninsured motorist coverage to pay for damages, depending on your insurance provider and your policy details.

Does liability insurance cover a hit-and-run?

No. Your auto liability insurance won’t cover your medical expenses or car repairs after a hit-and-run incident. Your liability coverage can help to pay for the other party’s expenses if you cause a car accident.

Therefore, if your car is hit by another vehicle, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage would typically pay for your damage and any medical bills.

However, if it’s a hit-and-run — they fled the scene, so their insurance won’t pay your claim. Instead, a customized policy can help protect you as a hit-and-run victim.

Will a hit-and-run claim raise my insurance cost?

There’s no definitive answer as to what will cause your car insurance rates to increase, as rates vary according to several factors.

Whether or not your insurance premiums increase depends on the circumstances of the accident and your insurer.

However, if you file a claim as the victim of a hit-and-run accident, your rates likely won’t increase.

Generally, one uninsured motorist or not-at-fault collision claim is unlikely to increase your car insurance premium. But if you make multiple claims within a few years, it could contribute to your premiums increasing.

Overall, your premium may not increase if you weren’t at fault. In other cases where the other driver was clearly at fault, your premium may increase depending on your insurance provider, even for hit-and-run accidents.

Do I need to pay a deductible for a hit-and-run claim?

Whether or not you pay a deductible for a hit-and-run insurance claim depends on the details of the accident, your insurance coverage, and your insurance provider.

The circumstances of the accident will determine whether or not a deductible will apply. For example:

You might claim under your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage if you’re injured in a hit-and-run. In that case, you likely won’t pay a deductible on that coverage.

In another scenario, you might claim under your collision coverage following car damage after a hit-and-run. In that case, you would pay for your collision coverage deductible.

If you make a hit-and-run claim that involves multiple coverages (such as collision coverage and PIP), you may have to pay multiple deductibles.

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