Being in a car accident is never enjoyable, but the feeling can be made worse if the other driver flees the scene or refuses to stop. Even more aggravating is walking outside to your parked vehicle to find someone else has caused damage while you are away.
In either situation, your insurance policy can help. Here are a few tips for dealing with a hit-and-run accident.
#1: Gather as Much Information as Available
After a hit-and-run accident, it is important to gather as many details as possible. If you are able to get a license plate number of the other driver, be sure to write it down. You can also take photos to help back up your side of the story and take written statements from witnesses who saw it happen. Any information you have that could possibly identify the other driver is crucial.
#2: Report the Incident to Police
Next, you will want to report the incident to police. However, it is important to remember that not all jurisdictions handle hit-and-run accidents alike. Some law enforcement teams will only take a report over the phone for cases where a vehicle was parked and unoccupied at the time of the incident, while others will send out an officer. Most police departments will immediately respond to an on-the-road crash with one driver who leaves the scene.
Many people also falsely believe that it is the police department’s job to track down the other driver. In serious cases where there are injuries, this can happen. However, most police departments will refer you to your insurance company instead of utilizing resources for a relatively minor incident.
#3: Understand Your Available Coverage Options
Understanding your available insurance coverage options is crucial after a hit-and-run accident. Call your agent as soon as possible to report the claim and review your policy to see what your next options are. Provide as much detail as you can when you give your incident statement. Many carriers can even take the plate number of the other car, which they can sometimes run through a database to find out who the vehicle belongs to. (Note: This is not available with all carriers or in all states.)
If you were injured, medical payments coverage on your policy usually helps offset the cost of any doctor’s visits or time off from work due to a hit-and-run accident. If your vehicle is in need of repair, collision coverage will help with the damage—no matter who is at-fault. This allows you to get your vehicle fixed right away without having to wait for the other party to come forward. While this is great news to many, there is one small caveat: you are subject to your deductible. However, if the other driver is ever found, your insurance company will be happy to help recoup that money back for you during the subrogation process.
Learn more about how insurance covers you after a hit-and-run accident. Please call us today at Idaho Select Insurance for details.