Does Liability Insurance Cover Hit-and-Runs?
What is Considered a Hit-and-Run?
In a hit-and-run, a driver leaves the scene of the accident after crashing into a pedestrian, object, or another car. It’s also considered a hit-and-run if your parked car is hit and the driver leaves the scene without leaving contact information.
We know it goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway: Do not be this driver. For one thing, it’s dangerous. For another, it’s very illegal and can lead to criminal charges, since most states require that you provide identifying documentation when you’re involved in a car accident.
Sadly, not everyone sticks around after an accident (though we know you would!). Victims of hit-and-run accidents are often left with damages — be they bodily or vehicular — and no way of identifying who hit them. Although being a victim of a hit-and-run can often leave you feeling powerless, there are some things you can do to help cover the damages incurred.
Does Liability Insurance Cover Hit-and-Runs?
Yes — as a general rule, if your vehicle is hit by another car, the auto liability coverage of the at-fault driver will pay the repair costs.
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run and you happen to catch the license plate of the fleeing vehicle, you’ll need to make a claim toward the other party’s liability insurance. If you’ve sustained damages to your car or person, this type of policy will compensate you.
However, most hit-and-run victims don’t see the fleeing perpetrator, so in those cases, your options are more limited — since you can’t get the other person to pay for your damages. And unfortunately, your own personal liability insurance does not cover repairs or medical expenses that result from a hit-and-run accident. Without the license number, ID info, or registration details of the feeling driver, you are somewhat out of luck.
Do Other Insurance Policies Cover Hit-and-Runs?
As we discussed above, auto liability insurance does cover hit-and-run accidents, and many states require motorists to have some level of liability insurance. But given the nature of a hit-and-run, wherein one party is, as the name suggests, doing a runner, it can be near impossible to track down the at-fault party so that you can swap policy details.
If that’s the case, there are other policies that might provide you the coverage you need.
If you hit another car or are hit by a car, collision coverage will pay for your damages, regardless of the fault. This type of policy allows you to file a claim in the event of a hit-and-run accident where your car was hit. That being said, these policies have deductibles, which means you’ll still have to pay a certain amount out-of-pocket, even if you aren’t at fault.
Uninsured motorist (property and bodily injury)
Uninsured motorist insurance comes in two forms. It can cover damage to the car if an uninsured or underinsured motorist hits your vehicle. It can also cover medical bills for sustained injuries if the driver of the other car doesn’t have insurance.
In a hit-and-run, this type of insurance may cover injuries to the driver and passengers of the hit vehicle.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
If you have personal injury protection, your insurance provider will assist with medical expenses for you and other passengers in the event of a hit-and-run. If those injuries are serious and prevent you from returning to work, for instance, PIP will even cover some lost wages or childcare if needed. Be aware that PIP policies aren’t available in all states, and deductibles may apply.
Medical payments coverage
Medical payment coverage (MedPay) works a bit like personal injury protection: it covers both your medical bills and those of your passengers in case of a hit-and-run, and the medical payments are not subject to deductibles.
How to Handle a Hit-and-Run
Car crashes are scary, no matter the scope of the damage, and a hit-and-run is doubly so. There are a few things you can do, though, to help mitigate damages and keep you and your passengers safe.
Move to Safety
First things first: pull over and check that everyone is okay. Turn on your hazard lights, make sure the car is parked in a safe spot, and call for an ambulance if needed. Your safety and that of your passengers is the top priority.
If possible, try to take a picture or write down the license plate number of the car that hit you if it’s fleeing the scene.
Contact the Police
Once everyone is safe, contact the police and file a report within 24 hours of the accident. A comprehensive police report will help the claim process run smoothly. Plus, it assists with any investigation, and in the case of a hit-and-run, the more precise and specific the details are, the better. It could even result in the police finding the perpetrator.
Try to remember what type of vehicle hit you, and take photos of the damage caused, as well as the scene of the accident. See if there’s a CCTV camera facing where the accident took place. Check for eyewitnesses who can speak to the police about what happened. If your car is parked and you weren’t present when it was hit, eyewitness accounts may be the only source of information — so ask around.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
After collecting information and evidence, the final step is to contact your insurance company. Let them know what happened and figure out next steps. You’ll want to call your insurance agent as soon as possible. Document everything, including medical receipts of the injuries sustained and any car repairs. This is not the time to spring clean and throw away your paperwork!
Get the Protection You Need with Marble
Here are some facts of life: February is always gloomy, white pants will inevitably attract red stains, and other drivers are uncontrollable. While a SAD lamp and a good stain remover are useful for the first two situations, when it comes to road safety, you need to have car insurance so that you’re prepared for the unexpected.
If you think your car insurance doesn’t offer adequate protection, review your policy, contact your insurance agent to discuss your options, and consider switching providers.
And to help you figure out what you need, check out Marble, which allows you to compare insurance quotes from different companies, review coverage options, and keep all your policies organized in one digital wallet — all while earning rewards on the insurance you already have.