Who pays for damages after a hit and run accident?

Written by Penny Gusner on March 19, 2013 & Posted in Auto Insurance

Being in an accident is bad enough. It just adds insult to injury (or maybe even actual injuries) if the driver responsible for the incident takes off.

It also can leave you in a real bind if you don't have the right car insurance coverages.

Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. If the driver who fled eventualy is found, you can claim against the driver's auto insurance policy -- if the person is insured.

But many times hit-and-run drivers are uninsured, and that is the reason the person doesn't stop.

Without the at-fault driver to file an auto insurance claim against, you're left to look at your own car insurance policy. If you don't have the right coverages, unfortunately, you'll be left to pay out of pocket for your car's repairs and perhaps medical bills.

If you have only state-required minimum car insurance coverages, usually bodily injury liability and property damage liability, you won't be able to make a claim with your own auto insurance for the damages you received.

Liability coverages take care only of those that you damage and are legally liable for compensating after an accident; they don't cover you or your vehicle in any way.

To cover your car after a hit-and-run, you need to carry collision coverage on your car insurance policy. Collision pays for the repair or actual cash value (if the car is a total loss) when you are hit by another car. Your collision deductible will be due; it doesn't matter that you weren't at fault for the incident.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, the bodily injury portion may pay for injuries you sustained. You may have to meet certain requirements, like having an independent witness to the hit-and-run incident.

Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD), however, typically won't cover damages to your car sustained in a hit-and-run accident. If you have uninsured coverage (bodily injury or property damage), review your car insurance policy and/or speak to your agent to see if you will be covered in a hit-and-run accident.

If you have medical coverages, such as personal injury protection or medical payments, as part of your auto insurance policy, then your injuries would be covered (up to your limits). These coverages pay out regardless of fault.

If you are injured in a hit-and-run and don't have medical coverages through your car insurance policy or a separate health insurance policy, then check with your state's insurance regulator or Attorney General's office to see if your state has any compensation programs in place that can provide you with assistance.

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