Getting hit by another driver is always a scary experience — but getting hit by another driver who immediately speeds away is even worse.
If you’ve recently been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be wondering whether insurance will help cover the cost of any damage the other driver caused to your vehicle or any injuries you and your passengers suffered in the accident. The answer, as is often the case with auto insurance, depends on the specifics of your policy.
Typically, after an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay, but in a hit-and-run, you don’t have the other driver’s information. But don’t worry, depending on your coverage, you might not be stuck paying the bill all on your own. Let’s take a look at some of the coverage options that could potentially cover a hit-and-run accident.
Hit-and-runs can be scary and overwhelming, but there are some steps you should take immediately after the incident that will make things a lot easier down the road. Call 911 as soon as you can so you can get medical attention for anyone who needs it, and because you’ll need a police report in order to file a claim with your insurance.
Record any details you know about the other driver, including the color and make of their car, the direction they were headed and the details of the accident, including time and location. Take photos and, if you can, get contact information for any witnesses who saw what happened. Your insurance carrier might even have a mobile app with a checklist of steps to follow after any accident, so check to see if that’s available. And don’t wait to contact your insurance company to file your claim — start the process as soon as possible.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which is required in some states, covers you in the event that you’re in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have auto insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover the full extent of the damages they cause. But it can also cover you in case of an accident with a hit-and-run driver. It’s a type of coverage you buy, and it might raise your premiums to add it, but it could prove to be a worthwhile investment.
Like with liability insurance, there are two types of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage can cover injury-related expenses after an accident with an uninsured driver, an underinsured driver, or a hit-and-run.
And uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle or other property caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver — and, depending on the circumstances, it may help cover damage from a hit-and-run accident.
Collision coverage, which along with comprehensive insurance is a part of property damage coverage, will pay to cover damages to your vehicle caused by an accident, regardless of who was at fault. And if you have collision insurance, it may also help cover damages from a hit-and-run, even if your car was parked at the time of the accident.
If you lease your car, or if you pay a loan on it, you may be required by the leaseholder or lender to have collision insurance. Collision typically requires you to pay a deductible of $500 or $1000 before the coverage kicks in (the exact amount depends on your policy). The lower your deductible, the higher your premiums and vice versa. Depending on your policy, your collision coverage may also include coverage for items in your car at the time of an accident.
Personal injury protection, or PIP, is optional in many states. It covers medical bills, as well as other expenses you might incur after an accident, like lost wages or childcare. Like collision insurance, personal injury protection covers you regardless of who was at fault in an accident, and it may also cover you if you or your passengers sustain injuries in a hit-and-run.
Typically, after an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance would cover those bills and your personal injury protection would come in to cover anything the other driver’s insurance didn’t cover — but, after a hit-and-run, you won’t have the other driver’s insurance info. But personal injury protection isn’t just for when you’re driving, it can also cover medical expenses if you’re a pedestrian and you’re hit by a vehicle.
Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius in New York City, and an expert in auto insurance. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic, writing about news and culture. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.