When you have no information about the vehicle that hit yours, it can be challenging to file a claim. This type of claims will be discussed in this article including what is a hit-and-run and how auto insurance companies view them. Hopefully you will have a good idea about the process and find out what you should be expecting at the end.
What Is a Hit and Run Accident?
When another driver causes a vehicle accident and chooses not to stop to have a look at the damages and injuries and provide information, the incident is called a hit and run. Such incidents can happen between automobiles, an auto and property or a car and a pedestrian.
Who Pays for Hit-and-Run Injuries and Property Damages?
The answer to this question depends on several factors including the state you live in and whether the fleeing driver is ever identified.
Hit and run claims are usually paid by your own vehicle insurance company. In most states, you can claim for both bodily injuries and property damage losses. Uninsured Motorist bodily injury and property damage is the coverage that pays for these claims. Uninsured Motorist coverage takes the place of the at fault (hit-and-run) driver’s liability cover.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage is mandatory with minimum liability car insurance coverage in some states and optional in others. You can find out the position in your state by checking state insurance department website or calling them. You will find the links for your state in this section. UM coverage is generally reasonably priced and provides good protection from uninsured drivers as well as the hit-and-run cases.
What Happens when Uninsured Coverage Isn’t Available in Your State?
California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana and Ohio don’t allow uninsured motorist property damage to be used in hit-and-run collisions. Instead, your car insurance collision coverage may be able to pay for your auto repairs in these states.
What If Hit-and Run Driver Can Be Identified?
If you or a witness somehow managed to get the vehicle license plate number, it would be up to the police and your auto insurer to find out about the insurance information of the at fault driver. Then, they would be made to pay one way or another even after you have been paid by your own insurance. If your insurer paid you, they would be entitled to collect their losses from third party insurers through subrogation and you may be entitled to refund of any deductible you paid.
What to Do in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
When you are nicely driving along, another car may appear out of nowhere and hit you. Normally, they would stop but if they don’t what to do?
1. You should not under any circumstances chase the offending driver. This may cause further damages and aggravations. Besides there may be someone injured in your party and damages to your car can be serious to continue driving. Pull over and deal with injuries and check for auto body damages.
2. Next, take a breath and write down anything you can remember about the car just hit you. License plate number, color, make, model and anything about the driver (male or female?) will help you at a later stage. Also, note the time and location of the incident and how it happened. Which direction you were travelling, where the car that hit you came from, which direction it went and any witnesses to the incident are all valuable details.
3. Now call the police to get an official report of the accident. Hit and run is a crime and they will deal with it after giving you accident report and crime reference. This will be the essential part of your hit-and run claim.
4. Call your insurance company and file the claim. They will help you through the process.
5. Follow the same process of reporting the damage to the police and filing the claim with your insurer as soon as possible if your car was hit when you are not around it.