Does car insurance cover hit-and-runs?

A hit-and-run accident occurs when someone causes an accident and leaves the scene without providing information about themselves. If you're the victim of a hit-and-run, your insurance policy may help cover the cost of repairs and injuries. Depending on your policy and state, the following insurance coverages may cover a hit-and-run: collision, uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD), uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI), personal injury protection (PIP), and medical payments (Med Pay).

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Woman trying to wave down a car after she was the victim of a hit and run

How does insurance cover a hit-and-run accident?

Insurance coverage for hit-and-run accidents can be categorized into two types: property damage coverages and bodily injury coverages. Here's how auto insurance may cover a hit-and-run, depending on which coverages you have.

Property damage coverages

Collision: Collision coverage protects you against any physical damage to your car that was caused by impact with another vehicle or a stationary object, regardless of fault. If your vehicle is damaged in a hit-and-run, collision will help cover the cost to repair or replace it after paying your deductible. Collision coverage is optional, but if you have a car loan or lease, it's probably required by your lender.

Learn more about collision coverage and car insurance deductibles.

Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD): In most states, a driver who flees the scene of an accident will be considered "uninsured" by your insurance company. So, if you don't carry collision coverage, consider UMPD for damage to your car caused by a hit-and-run incident. UMPD coverage is mandated in some states, available in others (but not all), and relatively inexpensive to add to your policy. UMPD coverage typically has a deductible you'll need to pay out of pocket.

Learn more about uninsured motorist coverage.

Special notes about UMPD coverage

Note that in some states, UMPD coverage requires contact with the vehicle responsible for the hit-and-run. Say a car next to you on the highway blindly moves into your lane, causing you to swerve and hit a barrier. If you never came into contact with the responsible vehicle, UMPD coverage might not apply, depending on your state's rules.

Some states also require the at-fault driver to be identified before UMPD can cover a hit-and-run accident. Having collision coverage in those states would enable the hit-and-run to be covered, regardless of if the driver was identified or not.

If you don't have collision or uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage, your car's physical damages won't be covered in a hit-and-run accident. Your only hope for compensation will be finding the driver who caused the accident

According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 13% of drivers countrywide are uninsured.

Bodily injury coverages

Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI): UMBI covers injuries suffered in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, including hit-and-run scenarios where drivers are considered "uninsured," depending on the state.

Medical payments (Med Pay) OR personal injury protection (PIP): These coverages apply regardless of who's at fault in an accident, so they can be used in the event of a hit-and-run. Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) would cover injuries and may include a deductible. PIP may also cover things like income continuation, funeral expenses, and rehabilitation costs. Coverage availability will depend on your state; for example, PIP is a required coverage in some states and not offered in others.

Learn more about personal injury protection and medical payments coverage.

If you don't have health insurance, UMBI and, depending on your state, PIP or medical payments coverages can help cover expensive medical bills. And if you do have health insurance, they can help you pay for medical costs your health insurance won't cover. If you elect to not carry these coverages, your car insurance policy won't cover your injuries from a hit-and-run accident.

What should I do if I’m in a hit-and-run?

  1. Assess the situation
    You won't always be able to identify the driver or vehicle that caused a hit-and-run. If you see the other car speeding away, don't chase it. Your priority should be the health and safety of you and your passengers. Pull over, make sure everyone is okay, and assess the damage to your car. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911.

  2. Call the police
    If everyone is safe, call the police right away and file an accident report within 24 hours of the incident or discovering the damage; this can help the claims process go smoothly and help the authorities get to the bottom of the hit-and-run. Tell the police about any identifying details you can remember, such as the other car's license plate, make, or model. The police may be able to track down the at-fault driver.

  3. Talk to witnesses
    Check to see if the incident was captured on a camera or if there were any eyewitnesses who can recount what they saw to the police. These may be your only options in cases where your parked car got damaged in a lot while you weren't on the scene. If the driver can be identified and is properly insured, their insurance will typically cover your damages and injuries.

  4. Notify your insurance company
    Finally, alert your insurance company about the incident as soon as you can, regardless of if you plan to file a claim for the hit-and-run. If you can do so safely at the scene of the accident, you can begin documenting damages and injuries by taking pictures. You should continue documenting your injuries and seeking care as needed, even if your injuries develop after the scene of the hit-and-run.

Remember, you can't control the actions of others, but you can control the coverages on your policy. If you're concerned that you aren't properly protected against hit-and-run accidents, call us at 1-866-749-7436 or get an online car insurance quote for the right coverages.

Learn more about what to do after a car accident.

How do hit-and-run insurance claims work?

Whether or not you should file a claim for a hit-and-run accident depends on the circumstances and your coverages. If you file a claim for injuries under UMBI, you likely won't have a deductible to pay. If you live in a state that offers PIP, you might have a deductible, but your personal injury medical costs may well exceed your deductible; if so, it may still make sense to file the claim.

If you file a collision claim for hit-and-run damages to your vehicle, you'll have a deductible to pay, so it's best to get a repair quote and make sure the costs will exceed your deductible before filing a claim. If you don't have collision coverage and live in a state where you can file a hit-and-run claim under UMPD, a deductible will likely apply as well.

If at any point you learn new information about the other driver, relay it to your insurer. If the driver responsible is identified, your insurer can instead file a third-party claim against that driver's liability coverage, saving you the potential cost of filing a claim through your own insurance.

Will a hit-and-run raise my insurance cost?

That depends on your insurer and state. In some cases, your premium may not increase if you weren't at fault. In other cases, any accident can result in a rate increase — even for hit-and-run accidents where the other driver was clearly at fault.

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