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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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There is no feeling quite as upsetting as noticing that a car has been hit and there is no note under the windshield with contact information from the person who hit the car. Have a good car insurance program so that when things like a hit and run happen you are prepared.
This is known as a hit and run accident just like being hit by a car that leaves the site of the accident. Check our car insurance search tool to get FREE car insurance quotes by putting in your ZIP code!
Very often in the case of hit and run accidents even the authorities cannot find out who hit the car, unless a witness can provide information on the make, model and license plate number of the offending car.
Hit and Run Insurance
Hit and run policies are available for automobile insurance. Very often a comprehensive automobile insurance policy will provide coverage for hit and run accidents.
It is a good idea to check current car insurance policies to determine how hit and run accidents are handled. When requesting a new insurance policy, ask the insurance company if this situation is covered.
It is possible to purchase a hit and run policy that provides coverage when the driver who damaged a car cannot be found. This policy will provide coverage for any claims without holding the insured person responsible for the accident. It will show up on the policy history as an accident, but one that is not the fault of the policyholder, therefore should not increase or affect the rate of the policy.
If an existing policy does not cover hit and run accidents, request that the insurance company provides the coverage. It may mean an increase in the policy premium, but it will certainly be less expensive than having to fix damage from an accident out-of-pocket.
State Minimum Automobile Insurance Coverage
There are some states that require hit and run accident coverage as part of the state minimum automobile insurance policy. Always check with the state’s Department of Insurance to determine if this coverage is required.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage
One of the standard coverage options in comprehensive automobile insurance policies provides protection if an accident is caused by a motorist that is either uninsured or underinsured. The uninsured motorist coverage has clauses that provide for bodily injury or property damage caused by no fault of the insured.
In some states this coverage is optional, but if a person does not elect to have uninsured motorist coverage and is involved in a hit-and-run accident then they would have to file a claim under the collision portion of their automobile insurance. The problem with that is when claims are filed under the collision clause it is assumed that the insured individual is at fault. This could affect the insured person’s insurance rates.
Decision to Purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Those who opt not to take the uninsured motorist coverage would be risking having to pay the expenses of car repairs should they be involved in a hit-and-run accident, no matter how small or large the damage. This coverage may add expenses to the automobile insurance policy, but it provides protection for damages caused by someone who may not ever be located.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays up to the stated dollar limit on the policy. It is intended to provide coverage in case the person at fault in an accident either has no insurance or does not have enough insurance to pay the total amount of the damage.
It provides coverage for hit-and-run accidents because there is no way to determine whether or not the person that caused damage to a vehicle has insurance since they did not remain on the site of the accident. It also covers situations where the insurance company of the at-fault driver does not have the financial capability of paying claims for damages.
State Requirements for Uninsured Motorist Policies
Some states have set limits on how much the insurance company would have to pay on uninsured motorist coverage.
If a customer decides to forego this coverage in their automobile insurance policy, there are states that require that the insurance company have the customer sign a form stating that they understand that they are rejecting the uninsured motorist coverage and acknowledge that they would be responsible for damages to their property and/or bodily injury if the damage is caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
The deductible may or may not apply in cases of hit-and-run and uninsured motorist coverage, depending on how the insurance company writes the policy. It is a good idea to check existing automobile insurance policies to determine the extent of personal liability in the case of hit-and-run accidents. Filing a claim under this clause should always appear as a claim where the insured is not at fault.
Filing Claims for Hit-and-Run Accidents
When an individual is involved in a hit-and-run accident they should immediately contact law enforcement personnel. If there were witnesses to the hit and run, check to see if anyone was able to get a good description of the car and driver, and perhaps even partial license information.
It is beneficial to have corroborating witnesses to the event. Get names, addresses and telephone numbers of witnesses in case they are asked to testify or write a statement about what they witnessed for the insurance company.
How to File a Claim for Hit-and-Run Accidents
If the damage occurred to a parked car, a report should be filed with the local authorities. This may be requested of the insurance company. Take pictures, if possible, of the parked car with damages as a back-up to the claim that will be filed.
Contact the insurance company immediately and report the hit-and-run accident and discuss with the insurance agent how to handle filing the claim. If the damage is substantial, discuss with the insurance agent if a rental car is available under the policy.
Proof of Hit-and Run Accidents
The insurance company will want proof that the insured person was not at fault for the damages, so may do some investigation on the hit-and-run claim. If no police report was filed, the insurance company may request that the insured person file a report in case they can find the person who caused the damage, especially if there were witnesses to the accident.
It may be tempting to forego the expense of hit-and-run or uninsured motorist coverage as it adds expense to the automobile insurance policy. However, one accident that damages the insured’s car will more than justify the added premium. Even if it is an older car, having to pay out-of-pocket for repairs can get expensive. Get started now by putting in your ZIP code and receiving your FREE car insurance comparison!
Always call three or more insurance companies and ask for quotes that include coverage for hit-and-run situations. The premiums may differ from company to company, and obtaining comparable quotes will make it easier to determine which insurance company will provide the best coverage and the best service. Asking about hit-and-run situations upfront will save a lot of hassles and worries if the coverage is ever needed.