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Hit and Run Insurance

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 03/20/2011

What covers a hit and run accident on your insurance policy, and steps to take if you’re a victim in a hit-and-run accident.

Hit and Run Insurance Needed for Damage Done to This Car
The not-at-fault party is often left paying the damages because of a hit and run driver.

If you look at your insurance policy carefully there are no coverages that actually say “hit and run insurance”, this is because there is no insurance coverage available that exclusively covers hit and run accidents.  The damages caused by a hit and run accident are instead covered under either your collision coverage or, if you purchased it, your Uninsured Motorist coverage.

Hit and Run Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If you are in a Hit and Run accident, Uninsured Motorist coverage covers damages to your vehicle and also bodily injury done by uninsured drivers, underinsured drivers and hit and run drivers.  This coverage is an optional coverage on an insurance policy in most states so don’t assume that you have it on your policy.  Uninsured Motorist coverage also has limits on how much they will pay out for damages to your vehicle and may not cover the total cost of repairs.

Talk to your insurance agent if you feel that you need to have this coverage and also to find out what exactly your insurance company covers under this coverage.

Hit and Run Collision Coverage

Your Collision coverage acts as your safety net in the case that you do not have Uninsured Motorist coverage on your policy and are in a hit and run accident.  You purchased Collision coverage to protect you from having to pay out a lot of money to fix your vehicle if it was damaged and now after all the of the premiums that you have paid, the coverage will kick in to do what it was purchased for.  This doesn’t mean that nothing more will come out of your pocket though.

In the case that the other party cannot be identified, the insurance company is not going to be able to recoup any of the money that they are going to be paying for the damages to your vehicle so you will be responsible for part of that cost in the form of your Collision coverage deductible.  If the at-fault party is later identified, the insurance company will include the amount that you paid out of pocket for your deductible in the recovery amount that they pursue the other party for.

If you are the one that caused the accident and are later found after you leave the scene of the accident, the damages of your vehicle will also be covered under your collision coverage.  The damages to the other party’s vehicle will be covered under your liability insurance, just like it would for any other accident.  The difference with a hit and run accident caused by you is the legal issues you will have from the criminal charges that will be filed for leaving the scene.   In addition, both your driving record and your insurance record will be marked with a Hit and Run accident.

Identifying a Hit and Run Driver

  • Call 911 immediately after an accident and describe the fleeing vehicle to the dispatcher and which way the vehicle fled.
  • Write down the other person’s license plate number.
  • If you have a camera within reach take as many pictures of the other vehicle that you can as it leaves the scene.
  • If you do not have a camera, write down every little detail that you can remember of the car and the driver.  If you wait until later your memory is not as good and you may not remember an important detail or your brain will fill in details of its own that are not true.
  • Always file a police report in the case of a hit and run accident.  This will protect you legally and once provided to the insurance company will keep the accident from getting listed as an at-fault accident on your record.

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Michele Wilmonen

Michele’s first introduction to insurance was working for a major insurance company as a file clerk and a mailroom supervisor in a regional office. She learned insurance directly from underwriters and claims adjusters from questions and also watching them do their job. Since then, she’s earned a number of insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America and also a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. She blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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