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.