No one wants to be involved in a hit-and-run in any capacity. Just the term is a scary one. There are two different types of hit-and-run accidents. One type of hit-and-run accident involves injuring another person or even causing death. That’s a whole separate issue. Another type of hit-and-run only causes property damage.
You may be thinking “only”? If you’re a car lover, you don’t want to worry about damage from a hit-and-run or any accident, but what if it happens?
What should car owners know if their vehicle is damaged by a hit-and-run and what can you expect to happen next?
What Steps Should You Take?
If someone hits your car, whether it was parked or not and then leaves, you need to call the police. You’ll need the accident report to file a claim with your insurance. It’s also important to compile your own evidence including the location, time of day and the weather conditions when the accident or damage occurred.
Take pictures of the scene and your vehicle, and then contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Try and look for witnesses who might have seen what happened as well. Other specific information to make sure you have if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run can include:
• If possible, a description of the vehicle that hit you and the driver
• What direction the vehicle went in after the accident
• Contact information for witnesses
• Badge numbers and names of police officers who respond to the accident
• Contact businesses nearby to see if they have any surveillance video footage of the accident
Making a Claim on Your Insurance
If your vehicle is damaged (or you sustain injuries) in a hit-and-run, you can make a claim on your insurance policy. The coverage that may be relevant can include:
• Collision coverage: This will pay for the repairs to your car if you hit another car or another car hits you, no matter whose fault it is. Even if the police aren’t able to find the other driver ever, you may be able to make a claim on your policy. However, even if the accident wasn’t your fault, you’ll still have to pay a deductible.
• Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: This type of insurance coverage can help cover medical bills and lost wages if a driver without insurance hits you. It can also help with coverage in a hit-and-run accident, and it usually doesn’t have a deductible.
• Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: This type of insurance coverage is for the cost of repairs if your car is damaged by a driver who doesn’t have insurance and in certain circumstances, it might help with damaged caused by a hit-and-run.
• Medical payments coverage: This type of insurance coverage isn’t available in all states, but regardless of fault it can help cover the cost of medical bills.
• Personal injury protection: This is also known as PIP and it helps cover medical bills regardless of fault as well as things like lost wages. While PIP isn’t available in all states, in some states, it’s required.
Damage to a Parked Car
Some of the information above is more relevant if you’re involved in a hit-and-run accident while you’re driving and you see the other driver. What about insurance coverage if your car is hit while it’s parked?
Collision coverage is probably what’s most likely going to pay for car repairs if it’s hit by another vehicle. Collision coverage should help pay regardless of fault and even if you have no idea who the other driver was.
As was briefly touched on, uninsured motorist property damage coverage might help pay for the costs to repair the damage to your car as well.
If your car is damaged by a hit-and-run driver, your options are somewhat limited in many cases. First, you’re going to have to meet your deductible before your insurance coverage kicks in. You may also have low policy limits that indicate the max amount your insurance will pay for a covered claim.
Also, if you make a hit-and-run claim to your own insurance policy, which is essentially your only option if you don’t know who the other driver is, then the claim goes on your insurance record. The number of claims you make can affect the cost of your insurance coverage, making it go up. No one wants to be involved in a hit-and-run accident, and they leave you with fairly limited options when it comes to paying for car repairs, although there are a few.