Being involved in a hit and run accident can be scary and, because the other driver isn’t present, you may not know how to start filing your claim. If you or anyone else in your car is any sort of immediate danger or need medical attention, you should call 911 right away. Never attempt to chase down the other driver in a hit and run scenario; pull over safely and then follow these steps 4 to filing a hit and run insurance claim.
1. Call the police
Having the police on the scene and getting a police report filed will make the hit and run insurance claim process easier and quicker. If you ending up locating the other driver, having a police report can help hold them accountable if you have any injuries and for repaying you for any repairs you potentially make before they’re located.
2. Get evidence
You should take pictures of your car and any debris surrounding it that might be from the other car. Additionally, try to remember any defining characteristics of the other car or driver involved in the hit and run. Write down the make and model of the car, license plate number, and any description of the other driver.
If anyone witnessed the hit and run accident, write down their name(s) and contact information and their stories. It’s helpful to have witnesses to backup your story when involved in a hit and run, especially if the other driver tries to deny being involved in the accident.
3. Contact your insurance company
Once you’ve gathered all your information, pictures of the scene of the hit and run, and your police report, it’s time to contact your insurance company or agent. Having all the information you’ve documented beforehand and ready to show your insurance company will make your hit and run insurance claim process quicker.
The type of coverage in your insurance policy that protects you from a hit and run varies. In most states, you’ll be protected under uninsured motorist coverage. You will most likely have to pay your deductible to get repairs started and you’ll potentially be reimbursed if the police find the other driver. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you’ll likely be footing the bill for your repairs if they don’t end up locating the other driver.
Uninsured motorist coverage is coverage in your insurance policy that varies state to state, but generally means your insurance will cover you if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or in the event of a hit and run where the other driver flees the scene. Every state has different laws on uninsured motorist coverage and how much you're required to have, if any at all.
4. If your car was hit while you weren’t in it
If you car was hit while it was left parked on a street or in your driveway when you weren’t around, it’s a little more difficult than a typical hit and run accident. If the driver didn’t leave a note with their information on it, ask people around who might have potentially witnessed the hit and run. Take pictures of the scene and any damage done to your car to later submit to your insurance company. This type of hit and run would also be covered under uninsured motorist coverage. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, or if it’s not available in your state, you’ll most likely be paying for repairs on your own.
Experiencing a hit and run accident is undoubtedly a frustrating and difficult event. By following these steps, though, you can make the process easier on yourself and ensure you have the best chance at being compensated for the incident.
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Summary: 4 steps to handling a hit and run insurance claim
- Call the police
- Get evidence
- Contact your insurance company
- What to do if your car was hit while you weren’t in it
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