Which Insurance Covers a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Hit-and-run accidents can happen anywhere. They may take place when a person is driving to work or taking their children to daycare. Others occur when a careless driver smashes into an unoccupied car's bumper or a drunk motorist pummels into a vehicle then flees the scene.
These unexpected accidents can leave victims feeling angry, betrayed and frustrated, especially if they're left to pay mounting medical expenses and car repairs. Additionally, they may not know which car insurance coverages, if any, will cover their property damage and hospital bills. No one thinks an accident can happen to them until it does. Before you're involved in a hit-and-run incident, you should make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself in case the worst happens. In this article, you'll learn which kinds of car insurance will protect you during a hit-and-run accident.
What Is a Hit-and-Run Accident?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when someone causes a collision and intentionally leaves the scene. They don’t stop to exchange insurance information with another driver, nor do they wait for a police officer to arrive to take a report. The at-fault driver is unknown unless other witnesses provide information to identify the driver.
There are three types of hit-and-run accidents: collisions that occur between vehicles, accidents between cars and pedestrians and even incidents with objects and property. Here are some examples of hit-and-run scenarios that can occur:
- A car rear-ends you, then speeds off from the scene.
- A driver hits a pedestrian but flees the scene.
- An automobile hits a parked car but leaves no contact information or way to collect payment for damages.
Who Pays for Hit and Run Accidents?
A hit-and-run accident can be upsetting. It will not only affect you emotionally but it may also impact you physically if you suffer from injuries because of the accident. You may even have financial issues if your medical injuries cause you to miss work, or you have high hospital bills. But who is responsible for paying down these expenses after an at-fault driver flees a scene? Who will reimburse you for your vehicle damage, medical bills or lost wages caused after the accident? The person who pays for the hit-and-run accident depends on where you live and whether you can identify the driver. Your insurance company will most likely process these accident claims when you can’t identify the driver. In many states, you’ll use your uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured property damage because the hit-and-run driver was at-fault. On most auto insurance policies, this coverage is generally affordable.
When someone hits you, and you’re able to identify them, they will be responsible for these bills, if they’re found at-fault for the accident. After the shock of the accident wears off, write down their license plate number and call the police. Law enforcement has electronic databases of license plate numbers that may help track down the hit-and-run driver’s insurance.
Buying the Best Coverage for Hit and Run Accidents
No driver believes that they’ll be involved in a hit-and-run accident, but these types of accidents happen every day. You’ll need the right coverages to protect yourself before this situation happens to you. Most states classify these drivers as uninsured motorists. You’ll need the following coverage on your auto insurance policies to protect yourself and your property during a hit-and-run accident:
- Collision coverage
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) - Not available in every state
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI)
- Medical payments coverage and/or Personal injury protection (PIP)
Even if you have enough insurance to protect yourself, make sure you have enough coverage on your policy in case the other person doesn’t. Many insurance companies impose coverage limits. It’s the maximum amount of money that your policy will pay for each covered claim. Sometimes, your medical expenses may exceed the coverage you have. If this is the case, you will have to pay for your hospital bills out-of-pocket.
If you track down the hit-and-run driver, you can file a claim with their insurance company to recoup some of these out-of-pocket expenses. When the person doesn’t have enough coverage, you can retain an attorney and file a lawsuit against the person.
Coverage that Can Protect Drivers after a Hit-and-Run Accident
Are you confused about what the types of coverage you’ll need? In this section, we’ll talk about ones that may protect you after a hit-and-run incident.
1. Collision Coverage
This beneficial coverage, along with comprehensive coverage, protects you when a hit-and-run driver damages your car. Collision coverage pays for property damages, such as repairs when a vehicle collides with an object like a pole, guardrail, tree or another automobile. It can also help repair or replace your vehicle after a collision takes place. Depending on your insurance, you’ll only have to pay your deductible, even when the accident isn’t your fault. If the police track down the driver and they have insurance, you might be able to recover the deductible from the driver or their insurer.
Does your auto insurance policy provide enough collision coverage for you? If not, you can search for coverage using SmartFinancial. Just enter your zip code to start.
2. Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD)
If you don’t have collision coverage, you may want to buy uninsured motorist property damage to protect your car. Some states and insurance companies consider drivers who leave the scene after an accident as uninsured. Obtaining UMPD is usually inexpensive, and you can add it even if you don’t have collision coverage for your vehicle. You may have to pay a deductible.
A few states don’t allow UMPD policies to cover hit-and-run accidents. You’ll need to add collision coverage to your car to protect against damages in one of these incidents. The states that don’t allow for UMPD to be used to pay for losses from a hit-and-run accident include:
3. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI)
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is similar to UMPD, but instead of covering damage to your car, it protects against medical fees that you may have following a hit-and-run accident. You should consider getting UMBI and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage (if your state allows it), especially if you don’t have health insurance coverage at the moment. If you don’t have either one, you may have to pay these expenses out of your pocket.
4. Medical Payments Coverage and Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Medical payments coverage generally pays for an accident, regardless of who is at fault. You can also rely on this coverage after a hit-and-run incident. It can pay for your passengers’ medical bills after an accident takes place. This coverage generally doesn’t have a deductible and isn't available in all states.
Personal injury protection (PIP) helps plan for your medical bills for you, or your passengers, regardless of fault. It covers your medical bills if you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident. PIP works similar to health insurance after a car accident takes place. Additionally, this coverage may pay for rehabilitation treatments.
This coverage may pay for lost wages if you can’t work. It can also pay for child care and other necessities you’ll need when you can’t take care of your kids. PIP coverage varies depending on your state. It’s not available in all areas, but mandatory in some. You may have a deductible depending on your state’s laws. PIP is required in some states.
Will I Have to Pay a Deductible for a Hit-and-Run Insurance Claim?
The circumstances of your accident will determine whether you’ll need to pay a deductible on your insurance claim. It will also depend on the type of auto insurance coverage that you have. When you suffer injuries in a hit-and-run accident, you can make a claim with your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. You will not have to pay a deductible on this depending on the insurer you have. If a hit-and-run driver damages your car, you may make an insurance claim on your collision coverage. Generally, these have a deductible, so you’ll have to pay it before your insurance coverage begins. When you are in a hit-and-run accident that involves multiple damages (for example, car damage and injuries), you may have to pay multiple deductibles.
Will a Hit-and-Run Raise Your Car Insurance Rates?
These claims will go on your insurance record, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. If you make frequent claims, it may affect the price of your car insurance premiums in the future. You may also be denied coverage. That is why it’s best to only file a claim for damages you can’t pay for on your own. Besides, small fixes are not worth paying a large deductible.
Does Liability Insurance Cover Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Liability coverage won’t pay off your hit-and-run-claim. It pays for another person’s injuries when you cause injuries or damages. Your auto liability insurance won’t cover your medical expenses or car repairs after a hit-and-run accident. This coverage only pays out damages when you’re at-fault in a collision. It pays for the injuries of another person and their passengers.
If you learn the identity of the hit-and-run driver, you can make a claim, and their liability coverage may cover your accident. You can’t make a claim on your own liability insurance.
Tips to Protect Yourself if you’re Involved in a Hit and Run Accident
Hopefully, you’ll never be involved in a hit-and-run accident. If so, here are five tips to follow to protect yourself that can streamline the insurance claims process. Although you may be upset, you should take a few moments to calm down so you can remember as many details as possible. It can help you remember details that can help the police identify the hit and run driver. It also enables your car insurance company to make a better decision about your claim.
1. Pullover into a safe spot and make sure your passengers are okay. Make sure no one has any medical issues or injuries. If so, contact your local emergency department immediately.
2. Record as many details about the accident as possible. Try to remember as much description about the accident as possible, including the vehicle’s color, make, model, and license plate number. You can also include some information about the driver.
3. Find any possible witnesses to the accident. Ask for their names and contact information.
4. Note the time and location of your accident, along with the sequence of events. Do this before you leave the scene. These details may include what direction the at-fault driver was headed after leaving the scene. If you’re not injured, take note of any damage and take pictures of it with your cell phone.
5. If your car was unoccupied when it was hit, take down as many details as possible about the accident. Follow the first two steps, such as recording the time, location, and other details.
6. Next, contact the police. You’ll need to make an official accident report with law enforcement as part of your hit-and-run claim. Submit this report even if you’re not sure of any information you can tell about the missing driver. Include any information about witnesses and other important details. This evidence will help support your claim when you file it with an insurer.
7. Finally, call your insurance company to file your hit-and-run claim. It will walk you through the steps about how to file your claim. Your insurer will also notify you about how they will process it.
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