A hit-and-run accident can be traumatic and leave you feeling completely helpless.
Fortunately, if you have the right car insurance in place, it can cover your car and any injuries or medical expenses you or your passengers suffer.
But, not all car insurance policies cover hit and runs.
So, before you’re involved in an accident, it helps to know what protection your coverage offers against a hit-and-run.
In this article, you’ll learn which types of policies cover hit and runs and under what conditions.
What is a Hit and Run Accident?
In traffic laws, an accident is considered a hit and run if the at-fault driver intentionally leaves the scene without providing any information about themselves or stopping to help the injured.
Traffic laws require that you stop and provide your contact information in the event of an accident and help any injured individual get to the nearest hospital.
In most jurisdictions or states, a hit and run is considered a misdemeanor unless someone is injured or killed. If someone gets injured in the hit and run, it could then become a felony charge.
If you’re the one on the scene, you need to stay put and talk to the police and eye-witnesses. You will also need to document everything.
Top of your list should be the fleeing car’s license plate number and description, including make, model, and color. You will also take pictures of the damage to your vehicle.
Are Hit and Runs Covered By Insurance?
Yes, your car insurance can cover some expenses in a hit and run if you have the right coverage included in your policy.
The insurance coverage for hit and runs also depend on:
- Who’s at fault
- The type of policy you have
- Your state
- Your policy limit
- Your insurance deductible
Hit and Run Accident: Who is at Fault?
In most cases, the fleeing driver is at fault and escaping the consequences of the law. In this case, your insurance can come in and cater to the hit-and-run expenses.
If you cause an accident and flee the scene, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the outcome of the accident.
Which Car Insurance Policies Cover Hit and Run?
Not all car insurance policies cover hit-and-run accidents. Generally, third-party insurance coverages do not cover hit and runs.
The following types of policies may be optional or required to cover a hit and run accident depending on your state or insurance company:
- Collision coverage
- Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
- Medical payments coverage
Each type of coverage has a limit. This is the maximum amount that your policy will pay for the covered claim.
If the expenses exceed your coverage limit, you may have to pay for them out of your pocket.
How Does Car Insurance Cover a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If you have the right policy that covers hit and runs, it will pay the expenses for:
- The damages to your car, and,
- Medical expenses for you or your passengers’ injury.
Coverages for Damages to Your Car
If the hit and run causes damage to your car, you will be covered if you have the following coverages included in your policy:
Collision coverage will pay for the repair or replacement costs if your car has been damaged or totaled by a hit-and-run accident.
It will pay up to the maximum amount included in your coverage after deducting your agreed insurance deductible. With collision insurance, you can make a claim on your policy even if the at-fault driver is not found.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD)
In many states, insurers consider a driver that flees the scene of an accident as “uninsured.”
So, if your policy doesn’t have collision coverage, check if you have UMPD to help cover any damage your car sustains from the hit-and-run accident.
Not all states have UMPD, and it is generally optional coverage in car insurance. It can usually be added to your policy when you don’t have collision coverage.
In UMPD, your deductible may not apply. But this depends on your insurer.
Note: If you don’t have collision or uninsured motorist property damage coverage, your insurer may not be able to cover any damage caused by a hit-and-run. This means, your only hope for compensation is to find the at-fault driver.
Coverages for You and Your Passengers’ Injuries
If the hit and run causes injury to you or your passengers, your car insurance can cover your medical expenses if you have the following coverages in your policy:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI)
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury is like UMPD, except instead of covering the car, it covers injuries from an accident.
So, if the hit-and-run accident causes bodily injury to you or your passengers, you can claim the UMBI to cover the medical expenses.
UMBI is not available in all states, and it doesn’t have a deductible.
Medical Payments Coverage
If you have medical payments coverage in your policy, it may help pay for you or your passengers’ medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault, including a hit-and-run accident.
This coverage depends on your insurer and isn’t available in all states. In addition, Medical Payments coverage typically doesn’t include a deductible.
Personal Injury Protection (No-Fault Insurance)
Also called no-fault insurance, personal injury protection (PIP) pays for medical expenses for you and/or your passengers, regardless of who is at fault.
In addition, PIP may also pay for lost wages (income continuation) if you can’t work because of the accident or child care if you can’t take care of your children.
Other coverages that may be included in PIP include funeral expenses and rehabilitation costs from the accident.
PIP coverage isn’t available in some states, and it varies among states, with some states including it as optional while others require it as part of your coverage.
Depending on your state laws and insurer, a deductible may apply to PIP.
Note: If you don’t have health insurance, you can strongly consider UMBI, Medical Payments, and PIP (depending on your state). Without these coverages, your insurer may not provide coverage for your injuries.
What To Do After a Hit and Run Accident
In most cases, you won’t be able to identify the car or driver that caused the hit-and-run. Don’t bother chasing the car or the driver.
Your priority should be your health and safety and that of your passengers.
So, if you’ve not rolled, pull over and make sure everyone is alright, including yourself. Call any emergency services if anyone is injured and call the police to report the incident.
You can then assess the damage your car has experienced and contact your insurer or insurance agent to report the situation. Make sure you get guidance about how you can claim if there is a need to.
Having the right car insurance will make sure you’re covered all the time, including a hit-and-run incident. When purchasing your car insurance, make sure you ask the right questions to get the best deal. Without proper coverages, your insurer may not compensate for the damages to your car or your injuries from a hit-and-run.