Does car insurance cover hit-and-runs?
A hit-and-run accident occurs when someone causes an accident and leaves thescene without providing information about themselves. If you're the victim of a hit-and-run, your insurance policy may help cover thecost of repairs and injuries. Depending onyour policy and state, the following insurancecoverages may cover a hit-and-run: collision, uninsured motorist property damage(UMPD), uninsured motorist bodily injury(UMBI), personal injury protection (PIP), andmedical payments (Med Pay).
How does insurance covera hit-and-run accident?
Insurance coverage for hit-and-run accidents can be categorized into two types: property damagecoverages and bodily injury coverages. Here's howauto insurance may cover a hit-and-run depending on which coverages you have.
Property damage coverages
Collision: Collision coverage protects you againstany physical damage to your car that was caused by impact with another vehicle or a stationary object,regardless of fault. If your vehicle is damaged in ahit-and-run, collision will help cover the cost torepair or replace it after paying your deductible. Collision coverage is optional, but if you have a carloan or lease, it's probably required by your lender.
Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD): Inmost states, a driver who flees the scene of anaccident will be considered "uninsured" by your insurance company. So, if you don't carry collision coverage, consider UMPD for damage to your carcaused by a hit-and-run incident. UMPD coverage ismandated in some states, available in others (butnot all), and relatively inexpensive to add to yourpolicy. UMPD coverage typically has a deductible you'll need to pay out of pocket.
Special notes about UMPD coverage
Note that in some states, UMPD coverage requires contact with the vehicle responsible for the hit-and-run. Say a car next to you on the highway blindly moves into your lane, causing you to swerve and hit a barrier. If you never came into contact withthe responsible vehicle, UMPD coverage might notapply, depending on your state's rules.
Some states also require the at-fault driver to be identified before UMPD can cover a hit-and-runaccident. Having collision coverage in those states would enable the hit-and-run to be covered, regardless of if the driver was identifi ed or not. If you don't have collision or uninsured motoristproperty damage (UMPD) coverage, your car'sphysical damages won't be covered in a hit-and-run accident. Your only hope for compensation will befinding the driver who caused the accident.
According to the Insurance InformationInstitute, nearly 13% of drivers countrywide are UNINSURED.
Bodily injury coverages
Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI): UMBI covers injuries suffered in an accident caused by anuninsured driver, including hit-and-run scenarioswhere drivers are considered "uninsured,"depending on the state.
Medical payments (Med Pay) OR personal injury protection (PIP): These coverages apply regardless of who's at fault in an accident, so they can be usedin the event of a hit-and-run. Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) would cover injuriesand may include a deductible. PIP may also coverthings like income continuation, funeral expenses, and rehabilitation costs. Coverage availability will depend on your state; for example, PIP is a requiredcoverage in some states and not offered in others. If you don't have health insurance, UMBI and,depending on your state, PIP or medical payments coverages can help cover expensive medical bills. And if you do have health insurance, they can help you pay for medical costs your health insurancewon't cover. If you elect to not carry these coverages, your car insurance policy won't cover your injuries from a hit-and-run accident.
What should I do if I’m in a hit-and-run?
1. Assess the situation
You won't always be able to identify the driver orvehicle that caused a hit-and-run. If you see theother car speeding away, don't chase it. Yourpriority should be the health and safety of youand your passengers. Pull over, make sure everyone is okay, and assess the damage to yourcar. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911.
2. Call the police
If everyone is safe, call the police right away andfi le an accident report within 24 hours of theincident or discovering the damage; this can helpthe claims process go smoothly and help theauthorities get to the bottom of the hit-and-run.Tell the police about any identifying details youcan remember, such as the other car's license plate, make, or model. The police may be able to track down the at-fault driver.
3. Talk to witnesses
Check to see if the incident was captured on acamera or if there were any eye witnesses who canrecount what they saw to the police. These maybe your only options in cases where your parked car got damaged in a lot while you weren't on thescene. If the driver can be identifi ed and isproperly insured, their insurance will typically cover your damages and injuries.
4. Notify your insurance company
Finally, alert your insurance company about the incident as soon as you can, regardless of if you plan to file a claim for the hit-and-run. If you can do so safely at the scene of the accident, you can begin documenting damages and injuries by taking pictures. You should continue documenting your injuries and seeking care as needed, even if your injuries develop after the scene of the hit-and-run.
Remember, you can't control the actions of others,but you can control the coverages on your policy. If you're concerned that you aren't properly protectedagainst hit-and-run accidents, call us at 1-678-765-0215 or get an online quote at econoagency.org for the right coverages.
How do hit-and-run insuranceclaims work?
Whether or not you should fi le a claim for a hit-and-run accident depends on the circumstances andyour coverages. If you fi le a claim for injuries under UMBI, you likely won't have a deductible to pay. Ifyou live in a state that offers PIP, you might have adeductible, but your personal injury medical costsmay well exceed your deductible; if so, it may still make sense to fi le the claim. If you file a collision claim for hit-and-run damagesto your vehicle, you'll have a deductible to pay, so it'sbest to get a repair quote and make sure the costs will exceed your deductible before filing a claim. If you don't have collision coverage and live in a statewhere you can file a hit-and-run claim under UMPD, a deductible will likely apply as well. If at any point you learn new information about the other driver, relay it to your insurer. If the driver responsible is identified, your insurer can instead file a third-party claim against that driver's liability coverage, saving you the potential cost of filing aclaim through your own insurance.
Will a hit-and-run raise my insurance cost?
That depends on your insurer and state. In some cases, your premium may not increase if you weren'tat fault. In other cases, any accident can result in arate increase even for hit-and-run accidents where the other driver was clearly at fault.