Does car insurance cover a hit and run?

Thunk. Even if the jolt and the sudden lurch forward wasn’t enough to alert you to the fact that you’ve been rear-ended, the unmistakable sound would. You take a deep breath to steady your nerves, taking inventory. You feel okay. You put your hazards on and move to the side of the road, pulling over to a safe place. You expect the other driver to slow and stop behind you, but instead, they take off. You stare in disbelief as the other car speeds away. What? For real? Through your understandable frustration, you’ve got this question – does car insurance cover a hit and run? We’ll explain.

Does car insurance cover a hit and run?

Well, if you have the right coverages, your car insurance could indeed cover you for that hit and run. It might help you repair your vehicle after the accident.

(Note that you would not be covered if you only have liability insurance. Bodily injury liability helps cover the other driver’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages if you’re at fault in an accident. Property damage liability helps repair the other driver’s car or other property you happen to damage if you’re at fault. Your liability insurance won’t cover repairs to your own car. That’s just not what it does.)

So, that being said, what coverages could help you out?

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Collision coverage.

Collision coverage can help you repair or replace your car if it’s damaged in an accident, or if you hit something like a pole. It doesn’t matter if you’re at fault or not – collision coverage can help. If you’re hit by a hit-and-run driver, your collision coverage can help you get your car repaired and back on the road. While this coverage may not be required by your state, it may be required by your lender if you have a car payment. You may still have to pay your deductible for the claim. (Your deductible is the amount that you agree to pay if you have a claim.)

Yes, it’s unfortunate that you could still be out your deductible even if you’re not at fault and the other driver took off at the scene. It’s maddening. But the bright side is that you’re not paying to repair your car all on your own.

Uninsured motorist.

There’s another coverage that could help you in the event of a hit and run. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can come to the rescue. UM/UIM coverage is designed to help you if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance (uninsured) or who doesn’t have enough insurance (underinsured) to cover all of the damages from the accident. Most of the time a hit-and-run will fall under the uninsured motorist coverage because you can’t exactly get ahold of the driver to make their insurance cover it. (So it’s kind of like they don’t have insurance at all. Actually, maybe they don’t have insurance – perhaps that’s why they fled instead of sticking around.)

While car insurance is required by most states, that doesn’t mean every driver carries insurance. (Georgia, for example, requires drivers to have $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 of property damage liability.) According to the Insurance Research Council, about 1 in 7 drivers are uninsured. Not everyone does the responsible thing in carrying the required amount of liability insurance. You can’t control the actions of other people, after all, so UM/UIM coverage can help you if you’re involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t carry enough – or any – insurance.

If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, your collision coverage could help you repair the damages to your car. If you only have liability coverage, that won’t help you repair your own car following an accident. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage could also help you out in this situation. So, not all hope is lost if you’re hit by a hit-and-run driver.

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