Does Car Insurance Cover Hit-and-Runs?

Hit-and-run accidents are unfortunately common, particularly in big cities like New York where you might park your car on the street. If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, you might find yourself at a loss for what to do. Typically after an accident, you would trade contact and insurance information with the other party involved. If they were at fault in the accident, their insurance policy would cover your property damage and medical expenses as a result of an accident. However, in a hit-and-run, you’ll need to rely on your own insurance policies. There are many types of car insurance that cover hit-and-runs, but not all do. Here’s what you need to know about hit-and-runs and car insurance coverage.

Does liability insurance cover hit-and-runs?

Every state, including New York, requires that all drivers have liability insurance. Liability insurance covers the cost of the other party’s property damage and medical expenses if you hit them. However, your liability insurance won’t cover a hit-and-run, since it is only designed to cover you when you are liable for an accident. If you want to protect yourself financially in the event of a hit-and-run, you’ll need to invest in coverage beyond the bare minimum.

What types of insurance do cover hit-and-runs?

hit and runs and insuranceThere are many types of insurance that do cover the cost of a hit-and-run, and they’re easy to add to your liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage will typically protect you in the event of a hit-and-run, as will collision coverage and personal injury protection. Uninsured motorist coverage is intended to protect you in the event you are hit by a motorist without insurance or who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all the necessary payments. However, it will still cover you in a collision where the other party hasn’t been identified. Collision insurance will also help you in the event of an emergency, because it covers any costs that happen as the result of a collision, regardless of who was at fault. You also may be able to rely on personal injury protection coverage if you were hurt in the hit-and-run. Personal injury protection is required in New York, which is a no-fault state. PIP coverage can only be used for medical bills and lost wages as the result of an injury – it cannot be used to pay your property damage. Between these three options, you will likely be able to cover the costs of a hit-and-run.

Will I need to pay a deductible?

Some car insurance claims require you to pay a deductible, while others don’t. If you use your collision coverage to pay for the results of a hit-and-run, you will need to pay a deductible out of pocket when making the claim. If you are using PIP coverage, it will depend on your insurer and their individual requirements – some require you to pay a deductible while others don’t.

If you’re using uninsured motorist coverage to pay for hit-and-run expenses, it will depend on what specific type of coverage you have. If you are using your bodily injury coverage, there is usually no deductible involved. However, if you are using your property damage coverage, a deductible will likely apply. When choosing your car insurance coverage, be sure to read the terms and conditions thoroughly, so you’re aware of whether or not you have a deductible as well as how much it is. 

Will a hit-and-run claim raise my rates?

You may be wondering if filing a hit-and-run insurance claim will raise your rates. Any insurance claim, no matter what type it is, has the potential to raise your rates slightly. However, a hit-and-run claim will likely not raise your rates as much as a typical accident, since you are not at fault. If the damage was minimal and you are not injured, you may want to pay for the damages out of pocket to avoid seeing a rate increase.

What should I do right after a hit-and-run?

Of course, the first thing you should do after a hit-and-run is make sure you and all of your passengers are okay. If anyone needs medical attention, call for help immediately. Next, document the scene. Take photos of the damage from several different angles, and write down what happened while it is still fresh in your mind. Having this evidence will strengthen your claim later on. Next, call the police to file an accident report – a hit-and-run is a serious crime and local law enforcement should be aware. From there, contact your insurance company and get your car assessed for damages by a local repair professional. You’ll be able to start the claims process and get on your way to receiving compensation. Be sure to ask questions if you aren’t clear on the process to increase your chances of your claim getting approved.

While a hit-and-run can be devastating, your insurance still might cover the incident. Since liability coverage won’t protect you in the event of a hit-and-run, you should consider investing in a more robust insurance plan with collision and uninsured motorist coverage. You never know what you might encounter on the road, but you can take steps to protect yourself.

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