When you don't have any info on the car that hit you, filing a claim can be a challenge. On this page, you'll find out about hit-and-run claims from an insurer's perspective, including how a hit-and-run is defined and what to expect once a claim is filed.
Defining a hit-and-run accident
When someone causes a car accident and knowingly fails to stop to provide information, it's a hit-and-run. These accidents can occur between cars, between a car and property, or between a car and a pedestrian.
Who pays for hit-and-run damage and medical care?
This depends on certain factors, including whether the fleeing driver was identified and what state you live in.
Payment for hit-and-run claims usually comes through your own car insurance. In most states, the coverages in question are uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage, which essentially act as the at-fault (in this case, hit-and-run) driver's liability coverage. Uninsured motorist bodily injury helps pay for injuries caused by a hit-and-run accident, while uninsured motorist property damage covers damages to your car.
The good news is that these coverages are relatively affordable, and they offer significant financial protection from the uninsured (or hit-and-run-committing) drivers up to the limits you select.
Uninsured motorist coverage is optional in some states and mandatory in others. Check with your insurer or your state's department of insurance to find out whether it's required.
If you can identify the driver
If you're able to jot down the car's license plate number and the police can get the insurance information, then the at-fault driver would most likely be held financially responsible.
If uninsured coverage doesn't apply in your state
The following states don't allow uninsured motorist property damage to be used in hit-and-run collisions:
In these states, your collision coverage may be able to help pay for your car repairs.
You're a victim of a hit-and-run accident. Now what?
You're driving along, minding your own business, and suddenly you're sideswiped by the car next to you. The other driver doesn't bother to stop, and before you know it, the car's long gone. What do you do?
Pull over and make sure everyone in the vehicle is okay
Although your first instinct might be to chase the offending driver, don't. Take a breath, make sure you and your passengers are safe, and check on the damage.
Try to record as many details about the incident as possible
This might be hard, especially if you didn't get a good look at the offending vehicle. But any info you have can help during the claim process. Try to provide:
- A description of the other car (color, make, model, and license plate number) and driver.
- The time and location of the incident.
- The sequence of events, including which direction the car was headed after fleeing the accident.
- Info from eyewitnesses. If anyone witnessed the accident, get their names and contact information.
Call the police
The official accident report is an essential part of a hit-and-run claim. Even if you're not sure what you can tell them about the missing driver, that police report will come in handy during the claims process.
Call your insurance company and file the hit-and-run claim
Your insurer will walk you through the process from start to finish.
If your car was hit without you in it
Follow the same process by reporting the damage to the police and filing your car insurance claim as soon as you can.
Hit-and-runs and your car insurance
While we of course hope you're never the victim of a hit-and-run accident, it doesn't hurt to be prepared and understand how your coverage options can help.
To file a hit-and-run claim or to add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy, call us anytime at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).
Uninsured motorist coverage
If your car's struck by a driver who refuses to stop and trade insurance info, uninsured motorist property damage coverage is designed to help. Learn more about this coverage here.
Did you know that hit-and-runs can be a form of insurance fraud? Find out more about some common schemes.
File your claim online
Esurance makes it easy.