How to Report a Hit and Run

If you need to report a hit and run, gather all relevant information and then notify both the police and your insurance provider.
Written by Mariza Morin
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you need to report a hit and run, you’ll want to ensure you have all the relevant information—license plate number, car description, and location/time of the accident—and then call both the police and your insurance provider.
Getting into a collision is stressful enough without the other vehicle leaving you to deal with all the damages alone. And unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are all too common in the U.S. with one happening every 43 seconds, according to the Automobile Association of America (AAA).
Dealing with a hit-and-run accident can be overwhelming. That’s why
car insurance
comparison and savings app
has created a guide to responding to this frustrating situation. If you were involved or witnessed this type of accident, follow these steps on how to report a hit and run.

What is a hit and run?

Generally, a hit and run involves an accident where at least one driver hits another driver then leaves the scene without exchanging information or providing aid to anyone who might be hurt. Hit and runs also include accidents with pedestrians, stationary cars, and other fixed objects.
In most states, whether or not it’s your fault,
against the law to leave the scene of an accident.
Many states also extend hit-and-run laws to cover parking lot collisions. 
Criminal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident vary from state to state. Depending on the circumstances, a hit-and-run offense can be classified as a
misdemeanor or felony
. Additionally, you can expect to pay a hefty fine and face possible jail or prison time.
If the other driver cannot be identified, it will likely fall on you to pay for all the damages resulting from the collision. But depending on your insurance coverage, you and your property might be covered if you have
collision insurance
uninsured motorist coverage

How to report a hit and run

These types of accidents are stressful enough to make anyone feel helpless, but it’s important to act quickly when it comes to reporting a hit and run.

If you were involved in a hit and run

Make sure you and all passengers are safe. 

First and foremost, ensure that you and any passengers involved are all right. If anyone was injured during the incident,
call 911 right away
for medical assistance. 

Gather and document all vital information. 

Once you and everyone else involved are safe, write down as much information as possible about the other car and driver. Ask anyone who may have witnessed the accident if they have any information on the driver. Try to gather the following:
  • Contact information from all witnesses
  • Possible license plate number
  • Other vehicle’s description (make/model/color)
  • Description of the other driver
  • Location and time of the accident
  • Photos from the scene of the accident
Written documentation is crucial when dealing with any collision so you don’t have to rely on your memory alone. If there are any witnesses close by, exchange contact information with them and ask if they would be willing to give a
witness statement
to the police.

Call the police as soon as you can. 

Even if no one is hurt, it’s still important to report a hit-and-run accident to law enforcement right away. Once an officer makes it to the scene, they will create a report of the accident—make sure you
ask for a copy
. You may have to submit a
police report
as part of your insurance claim.

Notify your insurance company.

Once you have dealt with law enforcement and are clear to leave the scene, you should contact your insurance company right away to file a claim. Keep in mind that most insurance companies require that any hit-and-run accident be reported to police within
24 hours
in order to be considered a hit-and-run claim.
Key Takeaway
If you need to report a hit and run, gather all relevant information and notify the police and your insurance provider right away.

If you witnessed a hit and run

Assess the situation.

If you just witnessed a car crash, pull over to the side of the road and
put on your hazard lights
Don’t put your own safety at risk!
Make sure you keep enough distance between you and the hit car in case of broken glass, leaking fuel, or other dangers following the collision. 
Whether you see any injuries or not, immediately
call 911
and report the accident. Let the 911 operator know you’ve witnessed a car wreck and provide them with the location and other vital details. If you’ve ensured it’s safe to approach the scene, check on the crash victims and offer any assistance if you can. 

Provide a witness statement.

Stay on the scene to provide law enforcement with a witness statement. Include as many details as possible in your report, such as:
  • Your name and contact information 
  • The time and place of the accident
  • The license plate number of the other vehicle if you saw it
In the days and weeks following the hit and run accident, you may be contacted by legal authorities or insurance claim agents. Keep a clear head and stay consistent with your statement. You as a witness could potentially play a huge role in the victim’s outcome.

If the hit and run was in a parking lot

Gather all evidence and report it.

If your car was hit while parked,
treat it like you would a hit-and-run collision
—find witnesses if possible, write down all relevant information, and take photos of the scene. Also, don’t forget to get the name of the parking lot owner or operator to inquire about the availability of
security camera footage
Then, report the incident to your insurance provider.

Leave a detailed note.

If you
witness a hit and run
in a parking lot, don’t approach the damaged vehicle until the other driver has left, out of an abundance of caution.
If you can’t find the driver of the damaged parked vehicle,
leave a note
with your name, contact information, and a complete description of the incident you witnessed—especially the details of the other driver and their car. Leave the note in a visible spot, like under the windshield wipers. 
Make a copy of the note for yourself to clearly communicate what happened in case you are contacted by the victim or their insurance provider.

Will insurance cover a hit and run?

The good news is that a hit-and-run claim will not count against you. But it’s important to have the right coverage to protect yourself from hit-and-run accidents so you don’t have to pay for severe damages out of pocket. That’s where
car insurance
super app
comes in!
How does it work?
Download the Jerry app and within 45 seconds, you’ll get the best deals around on the coverage you need. Jerry is a fully-licensed broker backed by an experienced and friendly team of agents that are available by text or phone to answer all your questions and help you find the right policy. 
How much can you save? On average, our customers save $887 per year
on insurance when they switch providers with Jerry. Our customers have the best things to say about us:
“Amazing! I’ll admit, I’m young with 2 accidents. This spiked my insurance rates and every quote I found.
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