What to do in a Hit-and-Run or Uninsured Driver Situation
Hit and run auto accidents happen far too often and in some cases your auto insurance won’t cover the damage, so what can you do to protect yourself? Unfortunately you can’t avoid hit-and-run drivers and while you may be lucky enough to see the accident, in many cases you will arrive at your car to find it damaged with no one in sight.
The first step after you arrive at your car is to call the police and see if you can round up any witnesses. If you were lucky enough to witness the accident yourself you want to make sure you get the driver’s license plate number and if possible, grab a couple people who witnessed the event. Always make sure you call the police and file a report because without one you will have a difficult time getting your insurance claim approved.
If you didn’t witness the accident but someone else in the area did, you want to make sure you get his/her full name, address and phone number. These people may be your only evidence that something happened to your vehicle and it is of the utmost importance you get their personal contact information. Often times no one will be standing on the street waiting to tell you what they saw. In such cases it doesn’t hurt to knock on doors and speak to anyone who could have possibly seen the accident first hand. Having the license plate number is highly valuable as police will be able to track the other vehicle and match the damage to what your vehicle suffered.
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it is going to be to get your claim approved. If it is after hours make sure you call your insurance providers 24-hour hotline, do not wait to file your claim. The good news is that if you carry collision coverage and you have a police report and statements from witnesses you should be able to get the vehicle repaired. The bad news is that without a police report or proper insurance coverage, you are out of luck. Once you file your claim, your insurance company will probably send you a hit-and-run insurance form. You may be asked to provide a police report and describe the accident. Make sure you are descriptive as possible. Any misrepresentation or contradicting reports could lead your insurance company to think you are trying to commit fraud.
Locating the vehicle, driver or owner of the other cars involved in the accident will help in filing your claim. Even if you do not carry collision coverage you can still get your vehicle repaired. This is often difficult and you will need eyewitnesses or the driver of the other vehicle in order to prove your claim. If you cannot provide the license number of the other car, have no uninsured motorist coverage and no full coverage you are basically out of luck.
Those unlucky enough to be the victim of a hit and run have few options to resolve the situation. Always make sure you contact the police, get eyewitness accounts and contact information. Contact your insurance provider promptly and take meticulous notes about the accident. If all this is in order, you should be able to get your vehicle repaired with little trouble.
While auto liability coverage is a minimum requirement in most states, it's difficult to identify drivers who lack this car insurance coverage until an accident occurs and a car insurance claim is actually made. If you fear getting into an accident with someone who doesn't have auto insurance, there are a few steps you can take ahead of time to make sure your vehicle is covered.
When Are You Responsible?
When there is an auto collision, the primary responsibility for paying for any injuries and damages falls on the person who is found to be at fault for the accident. If you are at fault, it doesn't really matter to you whether or not the other person has auto insurance since you are responsible for paying for damages.
Consequences of Carrying Minimum Insurance Coverage
If you are only carrying the minimum required liability insurance coverage and someone who is uninsured hits you, you will have a very difficult time getting any money. Your insurance will not cover the damages and if the other person has no insurance, you will need to sue that person for your damages.
If that person doesn't have the money to pay for your damages, you may not get anything at all. Plus, the entire mess will require time in court and may end up costing you more time and money than it's worth. Unless you can't afford better insurance coverage, it's a good idea to get more than the minimum requirements to make sure you're protected in all circumstances.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you may be compensated up to a certain pre-determined amount if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. This type of insurance is meant to protect law-abiding drivers from those who do not have auto insurance. You can ask your current insurance provider about adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy.
Other Types of Coverage
There are other sorts of auto insurance coverage which will help protect you and your vehicle no matter who is at fault for an accident. Collision insurance or comprehensive insurance may be very worthwhile types of coverage for your vehicle. Collision insurance will compensate you for damages to your vehicle no matter who is at fault, and comprehensive insurance protects against all kinds of damages including natural disasters and theft.
If you get into an accident with someone who doesn't have auto insurance, you will want to make sure that you are protected by preparing for such an event beforehand and getting more than the minimum insurance coverage.