Does auto insurance cover a hit and run accident?

Auto insurance does cover a hit and run accident, but not in the same way as a normal accident. In most instances, the driver who causes the accident is responsible for paying for damages through their auto liability insurance coverage. This obviously can't happen when the at-fault driver is unknown. Hit and run auto insurance, then, is really a combination of uninsured/underinsured auto insurance and collision coverage. If you have Personal Injury Protection, that will cover your medical costs if the other driver can't be found.

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For over 20 years personal injury lawyer, Stewart J. Guss has represented clients from all over the world in the most serious and catastrophic injury claims. Since starting his own firm in 1999, he has gained national recognition and expanded his reach, now operating several offices across four states and employing hundreds of dedicated legal professionals.  Stewart grew up in Houston, Texas, ...

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Written by Stewart J. Guss
Personal Injury Lawyer Stewart J. Guss

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2021

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  • After a hit and run accident, various types of auto insurance can help
  • If you can identify the other driver, that driver’s insurance should pay for your damages up to the policy limit
  • Your own collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist, or PIP insurance will cover your losses if you can’t locate the responsible driver

After a car accident – whether it’s a minor one or a major one – we all know to stop and exchange information with the other driver. As an auto accident lawyer in a busy city, this is something I always emphasize to my clients and friends.

But what about when you don’t know the negligent driver’s identity and they’ve left you high and dry? Does auto insurance cover a hit and run accident?

Damages caused by someone else in a hit and run accident will only be covered if you have appropriate insurance coverage.

While there isn’t any specific hit and run car insurance, other kinds of coverage can come into play. No matter what your insurance situation, our free search tool can help you get the right auto insurance to cover you in a hit and run accident.

Auto Insurance Coverage for Hit and Runs

In a typical accident, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance would pay for your damages. But what if they flee the scene and never fess up?

If police or insurance agents are able to find the person responsible for your hit and run accident, you can file a car accident claim with that person’s insurance company. You can even sue the negligent driver for any additional expenses that were not covered by your insurance, such as your deductible. To press charges for a hit and run, contact the police as soon as it happens.

If the person cannot be found, you’ll have to file a claim with your own car insurance company… but you’ll only be able to if you have the right coverage included in your policy. Below are some options.

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Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)

Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage exist to help pay for your damages if you get into an accident with a driver who has no car insurance or inadequate car insurance coverage, respectively. Hit and run accidents can also fall into this category.

If your policy includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to get compensated for your medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages, car repairs, pain and suffering, and other expenses.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) will cover your physical injuries, but not damage to your vehicle or other property. For this, you’ll want to add uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage to your policy.

There’s usually a deductible for property damage, but not for medical bills.

What’s the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage both pay for the same kinds of accident damages. The only difference is that with underinsured motorist coverage, the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for your damages up to their policy limits, and your coverage pays for costs that exceed those limits.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Also known as “no-fault insurance,” PIP (personal injury protection) can be added to your car insurance policy.

PIP for a hit and run helps pay for accident-related medical care you and your passengers need, regardless of who is at fault, but you’ll probably have to pay a deductible.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays for your vehicle repairs after an accident, no matter who was at fault. Collision coverage may apply to a hit and run accident as well, but it typically has a higher deductible than other coverage options.

Remember: if the hit and run driver is caught later, their insurance company may be able to reimburse you for your deductible, or you can file a lawsuit against them.

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Determining Liability for A Hit and Run Accident

When filing a hit and run car insurance claim, every crumb of evidence is important.

If you are in your car at the time of the accident, think fast! Try your best to snap a photo of the other car and the license plate number with your phone, or at least remember the make and model of the vehicle.

In any case, it’s imperative to partner with a hit and run accident attorney. They can use their skills to uncover valuable supporting evidence for your hit and run car insurance claim. Plus, they can connect you to the medical care you need at no upfront cost!

What if your car was hit while parked? Need help tracking down the person who hit you? Maybe traffic light cameras or security cameras from nearby businesses captured your accident on video! An attorney and their investigative team can help you access any available surveillance footage.

Frequently Asked Questions: Hit and Run Auto Accident Coverage

Here are the answers to a few more common hit and run accident questions.

#1 – Will a hit and run claim raise my insurance?

The accident will go on your record, but in general, an accident caused by someone else will not raise your insurance rates. (However, insurers can raise rates if you have too many claims filed within a certain time period.)

#2 – Do some states waive the deductible for a hit and run?

Yes, but it’s a complex issue.

While it is possible to add a collision deductible waiver (CDW) onto a policy, insurance companies typically won’t waive deductibles for hit and run accidents.

Two exceptions: California and Massachusetts waive the deductible for a hit and run, but only if you can eventually identify the at-fault driver.

#3 – What happens if I am charged with leaving the scene of an accident?

Most states require you to file a police report for a car accident meets a certain damage threshold. For example, in Texas, the law requires you to report any accident resulting in injury of any kind, or more than $1,000 of property damage.

If someone fails to report a car accident they were involved in, police may consider it a crime. The consequences for leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging info depend on what state you are in.

Depending on the severity of the victim’s car accident injury, a hit and run may be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Penalties range from fines to points on your driving record to jail time.

If a victim is injured or killed in a hit and run, most states consider this a felony.

If the accident only causes property damage, the hit and run is classified as a misdemeanor.

If you were uninsured at the time of the accident, punishment will be even more severe.

Should you hire a criminal defense lawyer, your options will include trial and plea negotiation.

Note: If your car was stolen and involved in a hit and run, you are not liable for damages. In order to prove theft and avoid blame, make sure you report your car stolen to the police ASAP!

The Last Word on Auto Insurance in a Hit and Run

Studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that there are an average of 682,010 hit and run crashes each year, accounting for approximately 11.8% of all crashes and 4.5% of all fatalities.

With numbers like these, it’s understandable to worry: does insurance cover hit and run accidents?

Basic liability insurance won’t…

…But other types of insurance coverage like UM/UIM, PIP, and collision coverage can usually help you out if you’re the victim of a hit and run.
Coverage details and deductible amounts may vary depending on what state you live in and what insurance provider you have.

For more guidance with a hit and run car insurance claim, speak with an experienced hit and run accident lawyer in your area. And make sure you have the right insurance coverage today by comparing  quotes with our free tool right now.

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