Whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator of a hit and run accident, chances are you’ve been left with injuries, dents, and a whole lot of costs to cover.

In these cases, it helps to have an auto insurance policy that helps at least partially cover your costs. You should consider using an insurance comparison website like Insurify, where you can find and compare the cheapest and safest auto insurance policies for your driver profile.

If someone hit your car

Did you walk to your car this morning and discover a massive dent on the passenger door? Did someone sideswipe your car while switching lanes on the highway? Or did you get into a car accident that was clearly the other driver’s fault, but they drove away?

If so, you were the victim of a hit and run accident. If you had the foresight to purchase collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage when you picked your auto insurance plan, your insurance company will cover all or most of the cost. To make sure you get the best car insurance deals, check out Insurify, where you can compare free quotes to make sure you get the best car insurance for your profile and needs.

Before looking into whether or not your insurance carrier will cover the cost of your car’s damage, it helps to know what kind of insurance coverage you have. Two types of policies are applicable if you’re the victim of a hit and run—collision coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. The features of both are pretty similar, but there are some key differences you should keep in mind when buying your car insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is a broad term for several insurance options if you were hit by a driver who drove away without exchanging contact information or someone who doesn’t have liability insurance (read below), or someone who doesn’t have enough liability insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury

Usually, if someone rear-ends your vehicle and you have severe neck injuries as a result, the at-fault driver has to cover your trip to the hospital or any physical therapy you might need because of that injury. But if the at-fault driver doesn’t have liability insurance, or doesn’t have enough liability coverage to cover your costs, you might have to pay your medical bills out of pocket—unless you want to spend months in small claims court. In this case, it helps to have uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) protection, which would cover these medical costs. This type of policy also typically covers any wages you lost because of your injury.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage

UMPD also covers any damages your car sustained in the hit-and-run. Depending on the insurance plan you bought, it may even cover damages to items in your vehicle, such as cell phones or eyeglasses.

Collision Insurance  

When purchasing an auto insurance policy, most people have the option of buying comprehensive or collision insurance. Collision insurance covers any damage your vehicle sustained in several scenarios. It applies if someone hits your parked car, your car hit another stationary object like a tree or guardrail, or you were involved in a hit-and-run—regardless of who is at fault.

If the person who damaged your car stopped and exchanged their contact and car insurance information with you, it’s much easier to file a claim, since they are liable and will have to finance your car repair and medical bills. Usually, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay to cover any damages to you, your vehicle, and your passengers. However, if the at-fault driver didn’t stop and instead left the scene, you’ll have to file an insurance claim with your insurance company. This process is much easier if you do the following:

  • Take down the car’s information: It’s hard to do this if the hit and run driver speeds off before you can discern the license plate number. But it helps if you take down any information like the make, model, or even the color of the car. This will make it easier for your insurance company to find the driver and hold him financially responsible for the damage.
  • Make a police report: You should call the police and file a report detailing the accident. This way, you can document the date and time of the damage so the insurance company can verify it, and this gives a chance for the police to track down the perpetrator.
  • Take pictures of the damage: Make sure you document all damaged vehicle parts in the photos.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of making a claim: Consider your insurance policy’s deductible. If the cost of repairing the car is lower than your deductible, you may want to pay for the repairs out-of-pocket rather than making a claim and risking a higher premium in the future. If the cost of the repairs is much higher than your deductible, you should probably file a claim rather than bearing that financial burden.
  • Make a hit-and-run claim: If you decide to file a claim with the insurance company, you should send over the pictures and copies of the police report to your insurance provider.

If you hit someone else’s car

Maybe you dented a parked car while pulling out of the parking lot, or worse, you ran a light only to find yourself colliding with another vehicle. You may be left having to pay for damage to both your car and the car of the person you hit. Most states require, or at least give you the option, to purchase insurance that would help cover the costs.

  • Liability insurance Most states make it mandatory for drivers to buy liability insurance, which covers the victims of a hit-and-run accident where you are at fault. This type of insurance covers costs for the driver and passengers in the car you hit. Your car insurance company will cover these people’s medical expenses, pain and suffering costs, damage to property in their vehicle, and wages lost due to sustained injury. However, this insurance doesn’t cover damages to your expenses. It only covers your legal costs if the driver and passengers in the other car decide to file a suit against you in court.
  • Personal Injury Protection Only 16 states require this type of insurance, but it makes sense to purchase it since it covers costs regardless of who is at fault in the accident. PIP covers medical bills for any bodily injury you sustained, the income you may have missed out on due to injuries sustained in the crash, and even funeral costs should the accident prove fatal.

Even if you think you’re the safest driver in the world, accidents happen. Things aren’t always in your control. It’s important to make sure your car insurance coverage includes personal injury protection when you’re purchasing your auto insurance policy so that you’re not left paying for thousands of dollars in medical bills.

You can also use Insurify to find and compare the cheapest quotes that would cover you in the event of a hit and run accident.

As the at-fault party in a hit and run, there are specific steps you should take to make sure you don’t end up paying more than you need to…or facing a license suspension.

  • Make sure everyone is okay. This is especially important if you collided with another car. The most important thing is to make sure nobody is severely injured. If they are, you should call 911 immediately.
  • Don’t leave the scene. No matter how much trouble you think you’re in, you must stay at the sceneLeaving the scene of a hit and run accident is illegal. Even if you hit a parked car and drove away, that still counts as a hit and run, and could lead to you losing your license and having to file for an SR-22. That almost always means paying higher insurance premiums in the future.
  • Exchange contact information. Give your phone number, email, and insurance information to the other car’s driver. This is important to do so the other driver can make appropriate claims on their medical payments and damage to their vehicle.
  • Assess and document the damage. Make sure you take pictures of the damage to your own car and property in the vehicle that was damaged. This is going to be crucial when you file claims from your personal injury protection insurance.

Hit and runs can be scary and stressful ordeals. But you can always protect yourself, your passengers, and others on the road by making sure you buy the right insurance.

And no matter what, you can always use Insurify to make sure you get the best, safest coverage for the cheapest insurance rates!

Updated January 4, 2021

Tanveen Vohra is currently a content writer for Insurify. Tanveen has a background in college media, having produced videos, news articles, and feature pieces for various student magazines and newspapers at SUNY Buffalo. She recently moved to the Boston area, and now works full-time for Insurify, helping produce blog content. In her spare time she frequents climbing gyms and explores film photography.