If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run car accident, you are surely going through a great deal of anguish not knowing what will happen to your car repair and possible medical expenses. Unfortunately, these incidents are fairly common, so it's important to understand the rebuilt car insurance implications.
In most states, drivers are required to stop, identify themselves, and provide appropriate assistance to anyone else involved in a car accident.
If someone hits your car and doesn't stop, that counts as a hit-and-run, even if your car is parked and you're not inside.
Let's see what you should do after this type of incident, what your insurance policy covers, and what options you have.
Types of insurance that cover hit-and-run accidents
- Civil liability coverage: It is the only type of mandatory auto insurance in the entire country. This is designed to pay for your medical expenses and car repairs after a covered incident. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you will file a claim against the other driver's liability insurance.
- However, the driver who hit you may not have this type of coverage, and can only file a claim if you can identify the driver.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments (MedPay): If you have any of these coverages, they can help pay for health care costs. Your health insurance policy will also cover these costs. Personal injury protection is mandatory in some states, so you may or may not have it on your policy.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you can't identify the driver who hit you or you can identify him but he doesn't have insurance, then uninsured motorist coverage will cover you. You can add bodily injury and property damage coverage to your uninsured motorist coverage, though you generally can't buy higher limits than you have on your liability coverage.
- Collision coverage: This part of your insurance policy pays for any damage to your car, but it usually comes with a deductible. That means you may have to pay for damages that are not your fault. Collision coverage applies even if the hit-and-run occurs when your vehicle is parked.
Some types of insurance coverage will not apply to these types of incidents. Your liability coverage, which pays the medical and repair costs of someone else's car if you're at fault in an accident, doesn't apply.
Neither does comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your car from causes other than a collision.
What to do after a hit-and-run
1. Conduct a safety check. Make sure everyone is safe and out of harm's way.
2. Call 911 or the police. If someone was injured, call 911 and request medical attention. If no one was injured, call the police so they can file a police report on the accident.
3. Stay where you are until help arrives. It may be tempting, but don't try to chase the other hit-and-run driver.
4. Take notes about the accident. Write down the make, model, and color of the vehicle that hit you; the license plate number; and the appearance of the driver, if he saw them. It will also be helpful to write down the circumstances of the accident.
5. Talk to the police. Once the police arrive, they will ask you for details and file their police report. Ask them to check if anyone else saw the accident and if a nearby home or business caught the incident on a security camera. This video may help catch the hit-and-run driver.
6. Call your insurance company. You will need to file an insurance claim soon after the accident so that you can eventually receive payment for any damages. Many states have a time limit after an accident to file an insurance claim.