Car accidents can rattle the best driver's nerves. When the other driver flees the scene, the accident can become even more confusing and stressful. What are you supposed to do next? Who pays for your car’s damages? Should you call the police? With Direct Auto & Life Insurance on your side, you can be better prepared for whatever comes your way, even if it's a hit and run driver. We'll help you understand what to do after a hit and run and how to report it.
What is a hit and run?
According to Nolo's legal encyclopedia, a hit and run "is defined as being involved in a car accident (either with a pedestrian, another car, or a fixed object) and then leaving the scene without stopping to identify yourself or render aid to anyone who might need assistance." This definition can vary by state. A few states also include a collision with an animal in their definition of "hit and run."
A hit and run accident doesn't have to occur on the highway. It can also occur on a neighborhood road, city side street, or in a parking lot. In the event of an accident, it's best to stay at the scene even if you weren't the one who caused it.
How to report a hit and run.
You'll want to start by following the steps you'd take after any other car accident.
After a hit and run…
- Take a deep breath and check for injuries.
- If you can get the other driver's license plate number, do so. If not, that's okay. Do not try to confront the other driver or chase them down.
- Pull over and out of the flow of traffic.
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- Call 911 for police and ambulance if necessary. Note: your insurance policy may require that you notify police within a certain time period after the incident to file a hit and run report.
- Stay at the scene of the accident until you've completed the police report.
- If you can do so safely, take pictures of the scene and any damages to your vehicle.
- Get the name and contact info of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Contact your car insurance company to file a hit and run claim.
Is there such a thing as hit and run insurance?
No. There's no such thing as "hit and run insurance," however, there are car insurance coverages* that can come in handy if you're involved in a hit and run accident.
- Uninsured motorist auto coverage helps pay for your medical and related expenses if you're in a car accident and the at-fault driver does not have liability insurance or cannot be identified. Some states have laws requiring drivers to include uninsured motorist coverage on their auto insurance policies, other states allow the insured to reject the coverage.
- No-fault insurance (or Personal Injury Protection) is required in some states and optional in others. No-fault pays for personal injuries resulting from an auto accident in your covered vehicle, whether the accident was your fault or that of a hit and run driver.
- Collision Coverage can help pay for damage to your vehicle if it’s hit by someone.
- Medical payments coverage can be helpful, too. Because it moves with you, you're still covered even if you're involved in a hit a run while riding in a friend's car or walking along the sidewalk.
Peace of mind doesn't have to come with a high price tag. Get a car insurance quote that includes uninsured motorist coverage, or other applicable coverages to see how affordable hit and run protection can be and check out other products that can supplement your auto insurance. Get an insurance quote online or call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732) today!
* Coverages are subject to terms and conditions, be sure to read your policy.