As the name implies, hit & run accident is when another vehicle is responsible for the accident, but instead of exchanging insurance information with you, they decide to take off to avoid being responsible and paying for the damage to your car.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are increasing, especially if the fleeing driver does not have any insurance or their license is suspended and to avoid going to jail. Research shows that hit-and-run drivers have histories of drunk driving and license suspension and are fleeing the scene to avoid higher penalties. According to AAA hit-and-run accidents have increased by over 60% since 2009. Leaving the scene of the accident carries big fines, points on your license, plus suspension of your driving privilege. If there is a fatality in the accident, it becomes a felony to leave the scene of the accident and if convicted can result with several years in prison. Sometimes individuals who witnessed the accident will record the license plate of the fleeing vehicle and give it to the police to identify.
With many cameras on the roads today, it makes it easier to identify the hit-and-run vehicle and track down the driver.
That leaves a question, does my auto insurance cover me in a hit & run accident?
If your auto insurance policy has comprehensive and collision coverage, then you are covered regardless who was at fault. Your insurance company will pay for the damage done to your vehicle and if they find out the information on the other driver, they will go legally after them to collect the money paid to fix or replace your vehicle.Your comprehensive and collision coverage policy has a deductible, which is usually $500 but can be also higher. In the types of accidents mentioned, you are still responsible to pay your deductible. It the accident caused your car to be a total loss, your insurance company will reduce your claim payout by your deductible amount. If your total loss vehicle is deemed valued at $10,000 and your deductible was $500, your final payout will be $9,500.
If you have only liability insurance on your car, you do not have property damage coverage if another driver hits your car and leaves the accident scene. If you sustained any bodily injury, you may file a claim under Uninsured Motorist Coverage with your insurance company. If you have the information on the other driver, your only recourse is to go to court and try to recoup the damage done to your vehicle.
Most victims involved in hit-and-run accidents are pedestrians and bicycle riders. Parking lots are also a common place for property damage because of proximity of other vehicles and tight spaces. Best way to avoid being in an accident is to pay attention to the road and your surroundings, avoid being distracted by your phone or your passengers.
Bargain Insurance Connection is here to help you with any questions about auto insurance. Call us at 816.453.7722 or check out our FAQ page.