A hit and run accident happens when a driver hits another vehicle, property, or pedestrian and doesn’t stop to provide their insurance or personal information. Such an action is illegal across the U.S., and hit and run penalties range from a traffic ticket to felony hit and run charges if anyone was hurt in the accident.
Knowing who pays for hit and run damages, what type of insurance you need to protect against a hit and run, and what to do following a hit and run can help you quickly resolve the situation and get back on the road. Check out the following key details to be prepared.
Who pays for damages in a hit and run?
While you can’t directly control whether you are a victim of a hit and run, knowing what your financial responsibility will be will help you adequately prepare for such an incident.
- If you have liability insurance, then you have to pay for any hit and run damages yourself.
- If you carry car insurance coverage beyond liability coverage, you will most likely be covered but must first meet your deductible.
If the police catch the person responsible for the hit and run, you can take them to court to sue them for damages.
What car insurance coverage covers a hit and run accident?
If you only have liability, you do not have much recourse when it comes to paying for property damage of bodily injury after a hit and run. Luckily, you can opt for certain coverage types beforehand that can help pay for injuries and property damages after a hit and run accident.
- Collision Coverage: Most often, collision coverage pays for damage to your car in a hit and run accident. You do need to pay the deductible first before any coverage kicks in, but the insurance should cover the rest up to your dollar limits selected.
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage kicks in if the other driver in the accident doesn’t have insurance, and it may pay for injuries suffered in a hit and run too. Check with your agent to see if you have this type of insurance and if it covers such accidents.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage: The same factors cited above for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage also apply to uninsured motorist property damage coverage, though in this case it deals specifically with property damage. While this type of coverage might cover your car, keep in mind that you usually need to pay a deductible before coverage kicks in.
- Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage: MedPay pays for injuries suffered in an accident regardless of where the fault lies. MedPay usually only pays what health insurance doesn’t, and also it usually has a deductible and coverage limit.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Similar to MedPay, PIP coverage can also help pay your medical bills in relation to a hit and run accident. PIP can also pay for lost wages resulting from such an accident and cover child care and homecare expenses if you cannot perform them due to injuries suffered from a hit and run accident.
What to do if you are a victim of a hit and run accident
While a hit and run accident might catch you by surprise, by remaining focused you can get the information to assist the police in catching the offender and help you when filing your claim. When a hit and run accident does occur, follow these steps to ensure that you do everything possible to protect yourself and your property:
- Pull over and check for injuries and damage.
- Write down all the details of the accident, including:
- A description of the car involved in the hit and run (this includes color, make, model, and the license plate number). Also, a description of the driver can help police track them down.
- The time and location of the hit and run.
- A sequence of events can also help. You should also write down which way the vehicle was heading directly after the accident.
- Get any information from any eyewitnesses, including their name and contact number.
- Call the police and report the accident. Make sure that an officer files a police report, since this can help corroborate your testimony and serves as an important part of your claim.
- Call your insurance company and report the hit and run accident. If you have any questions about filing a hit and run claim, make sure to ask your agent.
Luckily, you have options when it comes to a hit and run accident. By keeping a clear mind when it happens and writing down details from the incident, you can help catch the at-fault driver.