Does My Auto Insurance Cover Hit And Run?
Accidents are scary. In any such event, the drivers of the vehicles involved in an accident, pull over and exchange the insurance information to resolve the situation promptly. Contrary to this scene, there are many instances where the other driver flees the spot, without providing the contact details. Some do not even stop to help anyone who gets injured in the accident. Now imagine this. You come out of the café, and the next thing you notice is a dented bumper, smashed headlight, and no note on the windshield. Yes, things like these are more common than you would imagine. According to a survey by AAA, more than one hit-and-run accidents occur each minute in the United States. If we talk average, more than 682000 hit-and-run crashes happen each year, and the number is still increasing.
Will Your Auto Insurance Cover A Hit-And-Run?
If you are ever at the receiving end of a hit-and-run, you will start wondering whether your auto insurance will cover for the damage. Typically your auto insurance will cover for the hit-and-run, provided you carry the uninsured/underinsured and collision motorist coverage. To be on the safe side, it is always a good idea to check first.
To know whether your car insurance covers a hit-and-run, read the policy documents, and check which coverages are no-fault and at-fault. In the event of a typical accident, where both the drivers stop on the spot, the driver causing the accident is at fault. The collision coverage of at-fault driver defaults automatically to their insurance company. The provider then pays the damages to the other driver.
However, in the case of a hit-and-run, no one is at fault. If you are the one who caused the accident and the other driver speeds off, he/she is not eligible to receive any benefit from your coverage. Here is when the underinsured/uninsured motorist coverages come in. The underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is no-fault coverage. If you have this coverage, it is going to protect you when the other driver is uninsured and cannot reimburse you for the damage that they have caused. The underinsured/uninsured motorist bodily injury and the property damage coverage will take care of your medical expenses as well as the damage is done to your vehicle.
What Coverages Might Take Care Of A Hit And Run?
If you are a victim of a hit and run, your auto policy can help you cover the expenses. Depending upon the situation and where you live, you might need other additional coverages too.
- Collision Coverage
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage
- Uninsured Motorist bodily injury coverage
- Medical Payments protection
- Personal Injury protection
All of the specified coverages come with a limit. That means the policy will specify the maximum amount that can be covered in a claim. You will have to pay the amount exceeding the limit out of pocket.
The collision coverage will pay for the repair of your vehicle, which is hit by another vehicle, regardless of the fault. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you can claim your insurance, whether the other involved driver is traced or not. You will have to pay a deductible, and when the at-fault driver is identified and has insurance, you can recover the deductible amount from his/her insurance.
Uninsured Motorist Property damage coverage
The coverage will help you pay for the repairs when your car gets damaged by an uninsured driver. In some cases, the coverage might help you pay for the damage. The uninsured property damage coverage is not available in all the states. In some states where it is available, it might not cover hit and run accidents. Talk to your insurance agent for the detailed policy cover.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
The coverage will help you pay for the lost wages and medical bills when you are hit by an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist bodily coverage can cover for the hit and run cases, and it does not have a deductible.
Medical payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage will help you pay for the medical bills, after a hit and run accident, regardless of the fault. This coverage is available in limited states, and you have to talk to your insurance provider about the same.
Personal Injury Protection
PIP can cover the medical bills for you and your passengers. The coverage works regardless of the fault. PIP can also cover the lost wages if you are not able to work. You can also get coverage for child care if you are not able to take care of your kids. The coverage varies, and it is mandatory in some states.
Collision Coverage Vs Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
The uninsured/underinsured coverage and collision coverage are similar. In case of a Collison coverage, you have to pay a deductible, and in case of the uninsured/underinsured coverage, you do not. When you file a collision insurance claim, the insurance rate increases when you pay the deductible. If you file a claim under the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, the insurance premium will remain the same or increase slightly without you having to pay the deductible.
After the hit-and-run, you can talk to your insurance provider about the increase in the rates in both types of claims. You will favor the claim where you have to shell out the minimum amount from your pocket and has the least impact on the rate.
What To Do After A Hit And Run?
Hit and run can be scary and frustrating at the same time. You need to keep your calm and follow the steps to ensure your safety first.
Call the police
After you are hit, assess yourself and your passengers for any possible injuries and immediately call 911 for medical attention. Even when it is a minor crash, you should call the police on priority and report the incident.
Recall the details about another driver
When the police arrive on the spot, recall whatever you can, and convey the details accurately to the police. It can be anything; the color of the car they were driving, license plate, make and model, time of the accident, etc.
Before you leave the scene, take pictures of the damage done to your vehicle. If there are any witnesses, ask them for their contact details. The more proof you have, the easier the claim process is.
Contact insurance provider
Contact the insurance company and let them known about the crash. Start the claim process. You will have some forms to fill, which should include the information you gathered from the scene.