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How To Handle a Hit and Run

October 4, 2013

Hit and run accident

How To Handle a Hit and Run

A hit and run accident can be one of the most frustrating experiences for a driver. Whenever another driver strikes a vehicle and leaves the scene, it is considered a hit and run accident, and that driver is in violation of the law. Unfortunately, especially in a case where the accident is not witnessed, hit and run drivers often get away with it. Fortunately, your insurance company may help take care of the damage.

After a Hit and Run Accident

If your car is struck by another vehicle, which then proceeds to leave the scene, the first thing you should do is to record any information about the vehicle you are able to see. That includes the make, model, and colour of the car, any description you can get of the driver, and the license plate number if possible. Pull over and talk to anyone who witnessed the accident who might have seen more detail than you did, and obtain their contact information as well as any information they have to offer.

If you did not witness the accident but instead find your vehicle legally parked with damage, ask around to see if anyone witnessed the incident. In either case, your next step should be to report the accident to the police.

Make a Police Report

Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offence, and the driver of a hit and run vehicle faces consequences if they are caught. Providing the police with all of the information you can about the incident increases the odds that the driver may be apprehended.

Call the police as soon as is possible after the accident. If you are driving when the accident occurs, you should first ensure that no one is injured and then move the car to safety if possible. If your car is parked, wait nearby for the police to arrive. It’s a good idea to take a few photographs of the damage to your vehicle for later reference. After the police have taken their report, your final step is to report the accident to your insurance company. Your insurance company will likely require that you have made a police report before taking the claim as a hit and run; this is to prevent fraudulent reporting of how the damage to a vehicle actually occurred.

Report the Accident To Your Insurance Company

Because there is no other driver whose insurance company can be involved in taking care of the damage, a hit and run accident will be taken care of under your own policy. Hit and run accidents are the only accident in which you are not at fault for which you will be required to pay your collision deductible, in most cases. This can vary from company to company. The reason for this is that there is no other insurance company involved to pay off the damages under their insured driver’s liability. Since your liability applies only to damage to other vehicles when you are at fault, it can’t be used to cover a hit and run accident.

A hit and run will be covered under your collision coverage, which is why you will have to pay the deductible that accompanies that coverage. There is no other coverage on your auto policy that will cover a hit and run; if you do not carry this optional coverage, you will not have insurance benefits to cover your damage.

Because you are not at fault in the accident, you will not have an increase on your insurance premiums as a result of filing the claim and providing a police report. The deductible will be your only responsibility in the repair.

A hit and run accident is frustrating because the person at fault has left the scene, leaving you to deal with the damage to your vehicle. Reporting the accident to the police is the best step you can take to help get a hit and run driver off the road.

  • AGuitar

    For all the money paid to insurance companies they should ALL operate on a good faith principle and not charge the deductible. After all, why should an innocent person suffer the financial blow of a deductible for something they could not prevent? It seems most companies operate on a bad faith line of thinking and that should be punishable.

  • erica

    Okay, so my boyfriend and I got a car from my mom but the plates were still under her name and my boyfriend went to drive the car with no insurance either and as we were turning to make a U turn a van hit us from the back and we got scared and just fled the accident and went back to my place and took the plates off and after a couple of hours the cops came and is giving my boyfriend 5 charges and said the other driver told them we made an illegal U turn when we didn’t but the cops said that it made more sense to believe the other driver cause we were driving illegaly and left the accident.. what do we do?

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    I would seek legal advice.

  • Peter

    You were clearly in the wrong … Pay the fine … Driving without insurance is huge …you may have hurt yourself or someone else

  • Peter

    Pay the fine … You are 100% at fault .. You had no legal right to be on the road .. With a vehicle not regesitered or licensed

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    Explain to your insurance company what happened and let them deal with it.

  • Eduard Santiago

    I was making a left turn and this lady came to the north and almost hit my vehicule in the front. I dont know what happened but I make the turn with green light and I dont know if this lady over passed red light or yellow light or both traffic lights came to green at the same time….So we make a stop close to a gas station and we talk together and we have a little confrotation. This lady it was driving with a child in the front with no seat belt… So we decide to go home each other and we dont call the police because it was nothing to be reported… So no accident in the scene….Just close to it

  • Ben

    SO I was driving across this street and my friend told me to back up. I backed up and moments later I scraped a truck with my van. my van turned out to be fine with minimal damage such as scratches and a broken piece of a taillight. However, I left the scene because my friend told me to. What should I do? I feel bad about hitting that person’s truck, because he might not be able to work. Should I leave a note and apologize? I don’t want this to escalate into the owner calling the cops because I’m a new driver who recently just go their license. Please help.

  • Ben

    Update, I think someone saw me because when my friend asked what happened, someone said they saw the van, they didn’t get the license plate because it was dark but they know its a van.

  • Jean Charles

    driving on the highway in New York, somebody cut me while im doing 60 and the other car was speeding so I avoid the accident and I hit the curve I went on top of snow knowing that im out of states driver from North Carolina, my car is a lil damage my door couldn’t open and someone was trying to help me with my car to get it down but we couldn’t get it down. the police come without us calling, when the police show up I told him I don’t want no accident report cause I didn’t hit no body it was an incident. he told me no problem he took everything from me my license my regristration and my insurance. he told me that he made and incident report. plz anyone im worry I don’t know if my insurance is going to noticed what happened or is it going to my license as an accident. they don’t cover out of states. Thanks!!!

  • D K

    The police report shouldn’t affect insurance. Not sure about U.S. laws, but in Canada, if there’s over $1000 damage total to all vehicles involved or any injuries then it must be reported. What will affect your premiums is if you make a claim and do not have 1st accident forgiveness. I’d find out cost to fix and ask you insurance agent if that will affect your premiums and go from there. But don’t stall.

    I had 1 accident. Not at fault. Insurance repaired my vehicle, gave me a rental for time it was in repairs (1 week), and my premiums were not increased.

  • thathahah

    Because anyone can say “I didn’t cause the damages it was a hit and run” and then everybody pays more insurance as a result…

  • Louise

    A transfer ambulance side swiped my car when moving from behind me to the right lane. I didn’t know if he had hit me or had hit a pot hole. It was rush hour so I did get his licence plate and company name. Reported it to the collision centre ($2,000 damage) & police deemed it a “failure to remain” and have his licence plate. Now my insurance is saying I must pay the $1,000 deductible because he didn’t report to the collision centre. Isn’t it up to them to follow up on the licence plate I provided? This sucks!

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    You will likely have the deductible reimbursed once the other driver is found. Follow up with the police department.

  • Chris Cocroft

    A vehicle struck my car on the side while driving and attempted to leave the scene. I followed and got the make and model as well as the license plate number and reported it to the police. Are the police going to persue the driver even though i left the scene to follow the other driver? Thanks

  • m horton

    Yesterday a car and trailer hit 4 parked vechicles in cedric and kershaw streets. When the 1st car hit (undriveable). He did not stop kept going hit another car in cedric street. Kept going hit car another 2 cars in kershaw. He finally stopped in kershaw street. When asked why didnt you stop, he claimed he didnt know he hit cars. Loud bangs and car alarms going off and neighbours yelling at him to stop. The driver is 74 years old collecting hard rubbish(white goods full in trailer). Our observations were he was confused and uneasy on his feet. Called police. Trailer had jagged edges sticking out and broken right tailight. Police said to him dont move the trailer. He told them and us “arranged a tow”. This all happened at 1.00-115pm. The trailer was moved between 12.00am-6.00am. The police said if he moved he would be charged. But between 12.00am-6.00 how dodgy is that. How many other cars has he hit? Of course he does have any insurance. But 4 cars he hit we are our of pocket. THIS IS UNFAIR

  • InsuranceHotline

    i wouldn’t imagine that the police would fault you for wanting to get the other drivers information.

  • Chinh Nguyen

    Hello! My car was hit-n-run by a stolen car and I got the police report. The police reported that they have some information of the driver and the police tried to contact the driver, but couldn’t. How do I follow up the police report to see if they happened to contact/catch the driver? Please advise.

  • Payal Panchal

    I was driving in Toronto area. a guy hit my car from side back and didn’t provide me his documents and ran away. i just took picture of his number plate what should i do first?

  • InsuranceHotline

    definitely report it to the police. see if they can identify the other driver then contact your insurance company

  • Eleanor Cristina Ruiz

    Hi this happen to me 20 minutes ago . I was driving my mom to her doctor which she is battling cancer. Right when I was driving the normal speed limit a car behind me was tailgating me & went on the right lane to park then she tried to make a u-turn & hit me on the side of my van. Me & my mother hearts drop & it happen a hit & run I ended up following her she was trying to get away we ended on the stop sign & I went infront of her my mom recorded the whole scene !! She said ” I didn’t think I hit you” it was she tried to say & make up excuses that her car was damage but ofcource she had blue paint infron of the car of when she hit me that’s when she said “well I can’t lie the evidence is there” she tried apologizing & then we exchange information. We did not reported it to the police she said she will pay for the damages & give me a call. Never have I experienced this . She also tried explaining that she got a lease off the car she was driving. But why drive off? Like seriously ! We took pictures & also have evidence of video now I don’t know what to do should I wait for her to give me a call?

  • InsuranceHotline

    Since the other driver is at fault and you have her information you should report it to the police and your insurance company.
    Your insurance rate will not increase if the other driver is at fault .

  • Nick

    I was driving to work, turning left and got into a collision. Both cars were able to move so i drove into a parking lot with a witness following . I had thought the other driver was following, they did then drove away before i could get the plate#, i took the witness’ info just in case. What do I do? The damage for me is under 1000

  • InsuranceHotline

    If you’re in Ontario, you should visit a collision reporting center. If you’re not in Ontario, contact your local police to see what your next step should be.

  • nico james

    So me and my friend were going to the Walmart and i let her drive (she only has her permit). We got to the store and i got out and told her to park. She ended up hitting the back of a parked car and so she calls me i come out and see theres no damage to the other car and i drive away, turns out someone saw and wrote down my license plate. The cars under my moms name along with the insurance, and im not under the inssurance yet. Whats going to happen?
    (I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. U.S.)

  • Daniela

    I was make a uturn when a motorcycle jumped in front of me. I did not hit him but i hit his wheel (no damage) he hit his breaks and got off the bike and laid the bike on the floor . I apologized nicely and just drove away. Im scared hes going to make up a story!!! What do you think is gonna happen.

  • InsuranceHotline

    you will probably just get the ticket.

  • Venkat Iyer

    what happened finally?

  • Shannon Anderson

    I was the victim of a hit and run in front of my home and found the vehicle that matches the damage and paint left on my vehicle and it was a neighbor a few streets over. Already made police report but want this jerk to be responsible. What can I do?

  • InsuranceHotline

    Report the incident to your insurance company and send them a copy of your police report. Follow up with the police to see if they can get you the other driver’s insurance information

  • Laura

    I was hit, as a pedestrian, by a car. The car didn’t even slow down…they took off. I just have a bruised hand, but I reported to the police. The driver hasn’t figured out there are video cameras everywhere that capture everything. What will the police do? Will the driver get any type of penalty, i.e. ticket, demerit points, insurance premium increase, etc?? Will they report the incident to the drivers insurance company, or do I request this info and make the report?

  • InsuranceHotline

    It’s probably going to have to be you who makes the report to the insurance company once you have their information.

  • StarLuna

    This morning I was driving to school and I was going to turn left and it was a yellow light about to turn red. Then a car was trying to beat the yellow light be speeding and i was turning left at the time. The car hit the back side of my car then drove away. I went into the gas station right next to the street to see if the driver would come back. I checked my car and the hit was pretty bad. The car never came back and I couldn’t get their license. I needed to go to school so I had to leave. What should I do?

  • InsuranceHotline

    You should report the hit and run to the police. they will let you know what to do