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hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver is involved in a collision and knowingly leaves the scene without providing information or assistance. These accidents account for approximately 11% of traffic accidents according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. When you are the victim of a hit-and-run, having the right insurance coverage is crucial for getting your car repaired and medical bills paid. The main coverages to consider are collisioncomprehensive, and uninsured motorist policies. This article will provide an overview of how to handle a hit-and-run accident from filing a police report to submitting an insurance claim.

Hit-and-run accidents have been exponentially increasing since past years

Types of Coverage

When you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, the right insurance coverage is essential to get your car repaired and medical bills paid. The main types of auto insurance that can help cover damages and injuries from a hit-and-run include:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident with another car or object, regardless of who is at fault.

  • Covers hit-and-run damage from impact with another vehicle that then leaves the scene
  • You will need to pay your deductible amount before coverage kicks in
  • Often required if you have an auto loan or lease

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle that is not caused by a collision, including:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Weather events
  • Fire

  • Can cover a hit-and-run if your unattended parked car was damaged by non-collision means

  • You will need to pay your deductible amount before coverage applies

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for injuries to you and your passengers if the at-fault driver does not have insurance.

  • Covers hit-and-run accidents in most states
  • Pays for medical bills, lost wages, and potentially damage to your car
  • Includes underinsured motorist coverage in case the at-fault driver's limits are too low

Some key notes about uninsured motorist coverage:

  • Not offered in every state
  • May require you to pay a deductible amount
  • In some states, requires contact or identification of the at-fault vehicle

Having the right combination of collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist coverage is important for protecting yourself financially in a hit-and-run accident. Your insurance agent can help you understand the coverages available in your state.

Police Report

Filing a police report is a critical step after a hit-and-run accident. A police report creates an official record of the incident and can help support an insurance claim.

Importance of Filing Police Report

There are several key reasons why you should always file a police report after a hit-and-run accident:

  • Provides an official account of what happened from an impartial third party
  • Can include eyewitness statements to corroborate your version of events
  • Police may be able to identify the at-fault driver using debris, security footage, etc.
  • Required by most insurance companies to process a hit-and-run claim
  • Strengthens your ability to recover damages from the at-fault driver either directly or through subrogation

Without a police report, you will have a much harder time getting compensation for your injuries and vehicle repairs. Some insurance companies may deny a hit-and-run claim altogether without a report.

Information to Include in Police Report

When speaking to the police, be prepared to provide as many details as possible about the hit-and-run driver and accident:

  • License plate number, make, model, color of the other vehicle
  • Direction the vehicle drove off
  • Description of the driver
  • Photos of damage to your vehicle
  • Witness information (names, contact details)
  • Time and location of accident

The more evidence about the at-fault vehicle and driver you can provide, the better chance the police have of identifying them. Having a license plate number is ideal, but even a partial plate or vehicle description can be helpful.

If you were not present when your parked unattended car was damaged, still file a report with any information you have. Police may be able to obtain security camera footage or witnesses.

Filing the report soon after the hit-and-run accident provides the freshest information while details are still clear. This creates the strongest case for pursuing compensation for your damages.

Claims Process

After a hit-and-run accident, there are important steps to take for submitting an insurance claim and getting your expenses covered.

Notifying Insurance Company

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the hit-and-run
  • Alert them even if you are undecided on filing a claim
  • Prompt notice provides your insurer with fresh information to start investigating
  • Review your policy coverages and limits

Documentation Needed

Your insurance company will require documentation to process a hit-and-run claim. Be prepared to provide:

  • A copy of the police report
  • Photographs documenting damage to your vehicle
  • Repair estimates from auto body shops
  • Medical records related to accident injuries
  • Receipts for medical treatment, prescriptions, etc.
  • Records of lost wages from missing work due to the accident

The more thorough details and evidence you can supply, the faster your claim can be processed and paid out. Keep copies of everything you give to the insurance company.

Types of Claims to File

  • Collision coverage claim - To repair vehicle damage caused by the hit-and-run collision
  • Uninsured motorist claim - To cover bodily injury expenses if the at-fault driver is unknown
  • Comprehensive claim - If your unattended parked car had non-collision damage

Be aware you will need to pay your deductible amount before the coverage applies. If the at-fault driver is found, your deductible may be reimbursed through subrogation.

Communicating frequently with your claims adjuster ensures you understand the claim status, required steps, and timelines through the process. They can also advise if the at-fault driver is identified and how that impacts your claim.

Cost Considerations

When filing an insurance claim for a hit-and-run accident, there are costs you will likely need to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage fully applies. Being aware of these expenses can help you financially prepare and budget appropriately.


A deductible is the amount you pay toward a claim before your insurance coverage kicks in. Deductibles typically apply to collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist claims resulting from a hit-and-run accident.

  • Collision deductibles often range from $250 to $1,000 or more
  • Comprehensive deductibles are usually between $250 to $500
  • Uninsured motorist deductibles vary by state and policy

Review your policy documents to understand the specific deductible amounts you would need to pay for each type of claim. Higher deductibles can lower your premiums but mean more out-of-pocket costs when filing a claim.

Premium Increases

Even if you are not at fault in a hit-and-run accident, filing a claim could still cause your insurance premiums to rise at renewal time. Some factors that can result in rate hikes:

  • Frequent claims within a policy period, regardless of fault
  • Major payouts by the insurance company
  • Dropped coverage, like eliminating collision after a claim
Increase Amount Contributing Factors
Up to 20% One at-fault accident
Up to 40% One not-at-fault accident
50% or more Multiple accidents in a policy term

To prevent significant premium hikes, consider:

  • Maintaining your coverage levels
  • Asking about claim forgiveness or accident forgiveness programs
  • Taking a safe driving course approved by your insurer
  • Increasing your deductible amount

Shopping around for car insurance quotes every few years can also help you find the best value. Be sure to compare the same coverage levels.


Subrogation is an important concept in insurance whereby your insurer seeks reimbursement from the at-fault party after paying out your claim. This helps protect your rates from increase and can refund your deductible.

Recovery of Deductible

If the hit-and-run driver who caused your accident is identified, your insurer will try to collect back what they paid for your claim. This is known as subrogation.

  • Your deductible amount is typically reimbursed first
  • You must provide all required proof of damages for your insurer to subrogate effectively

Subrogation aims to make the at-fault party pay for damages instead of you or your insurance company. It helps deter fraud and keeps rates lower.

Identity of At-Fault Driver

For subrogation to occur, the hit-and-run driver must be identified and confirm they have insurance or assets to pursue. There are several ways driver identity can be determined:

  • Witness statements and descriptions
  • License plate number obtained at the scene
  • Police investigation using debris, surveillance video, etc.
  • Damage patterns matching to a suspect vehicle

Insurance companies have dedicated subrogation departments to actively pursue at-fault parties. They may hire private investigators and take legal action if needed.

If the at-fault driver cannot be identified, your insurer cannot subrogate and your deductible will not be reimbursed. Uninsured motorist coverage is meant to protect you in this scenario.

Subrogation Process

  1. You file a claim with your insurer and pay your deductible
  2. Your insurer pays for repairs and medical bills under your policy
  3. The at-fault hit-and-run driver is identified
  4. Your insurer demands repayment from the at-fault driver's insurance
  5. The at-fault insurer reimburses your deductible and claim payout

Subrogation allows your rates to remain stable by placing the financial burden back on the responsible party. It provides a level of justice and compensation for the losses you suffer.

Tips for Handling a Hit-and-Run

If you find yourself the victim of a hit-and-run accident, staying calm and taking the right steps can help protect you down the road. Here are some tips for effectively handling a hit-and-run:

At the Scene

Actions to take at the scene of a hit-and-run accident:

  • Move to a safe location and assess injuries
  • Call 911 if anyone is hurt or the vehicles are disabled
  • Document the accident with photos of damage, injuries, etc.
  • Get identifying information on the fleeing driver/vehicle:
    • License plate number
    • Make, model, color
    • Direction fled
    • Distinctive features (bumper stickers, damages, etc.)
  • Obtain witness contact information
  • Preserve evidence like skid marks or debris
  • File a police report as soon as possible

After the Accident

Follow-up steps to take after leaving the scene of a hit-and-run:

  • Seek any required medical treatment
    • Keep records of treatment and expenses
  • Contact your insurance company about the accident
    • Alert them even if undecided on filing a claim
    • Discuss coverages and process for hit-and-run claims
  • Repair vehicle damages
    • Get repair estimates from shops
    • Save copies of auto body shop invoices
  • Document days missed from work due to injuries
  • Keep detailed records about the accident, damages, injuries

Thoroughly documenting the incident will support your claim, help identify the at-fault driver, and assist any subrogation efforts. Consider consulting an attorney if you have severe uncompensated damages.

Type Details to Document
Accident Date/time, location, diagram, photos
Other Vehicle License plate #, make, model, color, distintive features
Driver Physical description, clothing, distinguishing characteristics
Injuries Diagnosis, treatment dates, medical records
Vehicle Damage Repair estimates, shop invoices, photos
Lost Wages Days missed work, salary records, doctor's notes

Carefully following these tips can make a stressful situation much more manageable while protecting your rights and insurance claim.

Key Takeaways

If you are ever the victim of a hit-and-run accident, there are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

Right Insurance Coverage

  • Review your policy to understand your coverages for collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist.

  • Ensure your coverage levels and deductibles align with your budget and assets.

  • Collision and comprehensive cover damage to your vehicle. Uninsured motorist covers injuries.

  • Optional coverages like rental reimbursement can also be useful after a hit-and-run.

Following Procedures

  • Always file a police report after a hit-and-run, even for unattended vehicle damage.

  • Notify your insurance company promptly, provide detailed documentation, and cooperate fully.

  • Keep copies of all documents submitted to the insurer.

  • Understand the claims process and your deductible obligations.

  • If the at-fault driver is found, your deductible may be reimbursed through subrogation.

Seeking Compensation

  • An insurance claim protects you financially but does not provide complete justice.

  • Consult an attorney if you have extensive uncompensated damages.

  • They can assess legal options such as demanding restitution if the driver is convicted criminally.

  • An attorney may also be able to pursue additional compensation through negotiations or a civil lawsuit.

Key Takeaways Details
Right insurance coverage Collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist
Follow procedures Police report, document, notify insurer
Seek compensation Insurance claim, attorney, restitution

Being prepared with the proper insurance and diligently taking the right steps after a hit-and-run can help you recover from this stressful event. Focus on documenting the incident, communicating with authorities and your insurer, and pursuing maximum compensation through insurance and legal means. With the right approach, you can move past the hit-and-run accident while protecting your finances and rights.


Being the victim of a hit-and-run accident can be extremely stressful. Your vehicle may be damaged, you could have injuries, and the at-fault driver has fled the scene. Having the right insurance coverage and taking the proper steps afterward are crucial for getting reimbursed and pursuing compensation.

This article has provided an overview of recommended actions if you are involved in a hit-and-run:

  • Understand which insurance coverages apply, such as collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist policies. These cover damage to your vehicle and/or injuries based on the circumstances of the accident.

  • Always file a police report after a hit-and-run, even if the damage was to an unattended parked vehicle. The report creates an official record and can support your insurance claim.

  • Alert your insurance company about the accident right away. Provide them documentation like repair estimates, medical records, lost wage details, and a copy of the police report. This starts the claims process.

  • Be prepared to pay your deductible amounts for collision, comprehensive, or uninsured motorist claims before coverage kicks in. If the at-fault driver is found, your deductible may be reimbursed through subrogation.

  • Follow your insurer's process for submitting the proper claims to cover vehicle repairs, medical treatment, lost wages, and other eligible expenses arising from the hit-and-run accident. Communicate with them frequently.

  • If the at-fault driver is not found or your damages are not fully compensated, consult an attorney to explore additional legal remedies available.

Being struck by a hit-and-run driver can be infuriating, but trying to chase them down or take matters into your own hands rarely ends well. Focus your energy on properly documenting the incident, filing your insurance claims, and letting authorities and professionals handle the investigation and pursuit of the at-fault driver. This puts you in the best position for financial recovery and justice.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

10 benefits of comprehensive coverage you must know

Top 5 Comprehensive Coverage Myths Debunked: Get the Facts Straight!

Comprehensive Insurance vs Collision: Which One is Right for You?

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