What Should I Do if Someone Hit My Car?
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If someone hits your car, you should call the police, exchange contact information with the other person and document information about the accident scene. Afterward, you can file a claim with your own insurance company or the other person’s insurance company, depending on the situation.
Read below for more information about what to do if someone hits your car, whether the car was parked or you were driving.
What Should I Do if Someone Hits My Car While I’m Driving?
If someone hits your car while you’re driving, you should take the following steps to ensure that you can safely gather all of the information you need before you leave the scene of the car accident.
1. Move to a Safe Location
After someone hits you, you should move your vehicle to a place where you won’t be put in any further danger. This usually means pulling off to the side of the road. You should also alert nearby drivers about the accident scene by turning on your hazard lights and putting out safety cones if you have them.
2. Check On Your Passengers
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries so you know whether to call for an ambulance. If the other driver was at fault, you and your passengers should be covered by their liability insurance. Conversely, if you were responsible for the crash, your insurance will cover you and your passengers as long as you have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage.
3. Call 911
Even if no one was injured in the accident, you should call the police because they will fill out an accident report that you can use when filing your insurance claim. It’s recommended that you take note of the name and badge number of every police officer on the scene and ask how to get a copy of the police report for your records.
4. Gather and Exchange Information
You will need to exchange contact information with the other driver so that your insurance providers can connect and begin to investigate the accident. The information you should request from the other driver includes their:
- Full name
- Phone number and email address
- Insurance carrier and policy number
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle registration number
If there were any eyewitnesses, you should ask them for their contact information as well. Eyewitness accounts are an important part of your insurance claim since they can help the insurance companies determine who was at fault.
5. Document the Accident
Take note of as many details about the accident scene as you can, including the date, time, location and, if relevant, weather conditions. You should take pictures or videos of the parts of your vehicle that have been visibly damaged, as well as the environment surrounding the accident scene. For example, it might be helpful to take pictures of skid marks since they can indicate that one driver had to slam on the brakes after driving at a high speed.
In addition, it’s helpful to make a list of any items that were lost during the crash and hold onto any items that were damaged so that an insurance adjuster can inspect them later. Once you have recorded all of the necessary information, you can then contact your insurance carrier.
It is your insurance company’s responsibility to represent you. Simply exchange insurance information with the other driver and report the accident details to the police officer and your carrier as you remember them.
What Should I Do if Someone Hits My Car While It’s Parked?
If someone hits your parked car, you should still check to make sure no one was injured, call the police so they can write up an accident report, exchange contact information with the other driver and take pictures of the damage to your vehicle.
Even if the damage was relatively minor, you may still be reimbursed by the at-fault driver’s insurance company after a fender bender. Conversely, the other driver may opt to pay for your repairs out of pocket to keep their insurance premium from going up.
What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
After a hit-and-run accident, you should call the police and record any damage to your vehicle as you would for any other accident. If someone hit you on the road and then drove off, you should try to take note of any details about their car that you could later give to the police like the color, size and model of the car or its license plate number.
Meanwhile, if someone hits your parked car but leaves a note before driving away, you should still be able to contact them and get in touch with their insurance company. If they didn’t leave a note, you should ask around to see if any eyewitnesses saw what happened. You can also go to nearby homes or businesses and ask if they have security camera footage that might show who is responsible for the hit-and-run.
Does Car Insurance Cover a Hit-and-Run?
If you can locate the driver responsible for hitting your car, then you should be able to sue them or make a claim against their insurance. Otherwise, there are two types of car insurance that may pay for car repairs if you can’t identify the at-fault driver: collision coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
Collision coverage pays for repairs to your vehicle regardless of who was at fault for the accident. As a result, filing a claim on your collision insurance can save you the hassle of trying to find the responsible driver.
Underinsured motorist coverage generally kicks in if you were struck by a driver without car insurance, though it also applies if you can’t identify the driver after a hit-and-run. Both collision coverage and underinsured motorist coverage have a deductible, meaning they won’t cover the full costs of your repairs like the other person’s liability coverage would.
How To File an Insurance Claim After an Accident
Once you have contacted the police, exchanged contact information and taken photos of the accident scene, you can take the following steps to file a car insurance claim.
- Contact your insurance provider: You can usually contact your insurance agent by phone and use a mobile app or online portal to submit documentation like the police report and photos from the accident scene. Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, you can initiate your claim with your own insurance carrier and let them communicate with the at-fault driver’s carrier.
- Confirm your coverage limits and deductible: If you cannot locate the at-fault driver, you should consider whether the accident will be covered by your insurance and how much you will have to pay out of pocket considering your deductible (the minimum amount you have to pay before your insurance company will chip in) and coverage limits (the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for any covered loss).
- Get an estimate from a repair shop: Your insurance provider will usually recommend an auto shop where you can get a quote for your vehicle repairs but you can always choose which shop services your car.
- Accept the settlement: Once your claim has been investigated and approved, your insurance company will either pay the auto shop directly or give you the money to cover the repairs. If you think the payment from your insurance company is too low, you could contact your state’s insurance department, a third-party arbiter or a lawyer.
When Will I Get Paid?
Most states don’t have a set time frame during which car insurance carriers have to pay out, instead requiring only that there aren’t any unreasonable delays in the payment process. However, some states do hold insurance companies to a specific timeline for general claims processing. For example, drivers in Idaho should receive their insurance payment within 20 days of filing their claim, while drivers in Louisiana may have to wait up to 60 days.