Being the victim of a hit and run can make you feel powerless. Whether you’re in the vehicle when it happens and the person who struck you speeds away without stopping or you see someone has rammed into your parked car without leaving their insurance information, it can be a headache dealing with someone else’s irresponsibility.
But you aren’t alone if you’re trying to clean up the fallout from a hit and run. They affect hundreds of thousands of motorists each year. For some states, the percentage of this kind of accident is high – in Florida, almost 25 percent of accidents are hit and runs.
With a hit-and-run accident happening every 43 seconds in the U.S., according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, you may have to deal with it someday if you haven’t already.
Why It Pays To Be Covered For Hit and Runs
The first thing everyone does when their vehicle is damaged in any way is contact the police and then their insurance provider. That’s wise because you need to document the damage with the police, and that call to your insurance company will tell you if your type of claim will be covered.
But, ideally, you’ll look into your coverage before emergencies occur, so you know what’s covered and what’s not. That way, if you’re not fully covered for hit and runs, you can get any add-on policies that make sense for you financially.
It can be hard to spring for add-on policies when you’re doing your best to make ends meet, but money is still tight. But if you don’t have enough coverage, that’s precisely what you should try to do. If you are struggling to afford the extra amount each month for your add-on policy, what will happen to you financially if you have to pay for damages to your car or medical bills from an uncovered hit and run?
What happens if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you walk to the street one morning as you prepare to leave for work and you find your car has been severely damaged by a hit and run driver while you slept? Do you know if you would be covered?
Many insurance policies cover hit and run incidents when it comes to injuries and damages, but not all do. That’s why it’s important to check with your provider to ensure you are covered.
If you are in the car when you’re the victim of a hit and run, your financial outlook might be even worse. Not only will you have the vehicle damages to worry about, but you may have an injury and possible missed time at work.
Given that the majority of hit and runs aren’t solved, you will only have your insurance to pay for your losses. In New York City in 2018, for example, there were 47,597 instances of people leaving the scene of collisions without leaving their insurance information. Of those cases, arrests were only made in 598, which means just over 1 percent were solved.
If you’re relying on the police to catch the culprit so you can be fully covered insurance-wise, you’re likely to be disappointed.
While nobody wants this kind of bad luck to strike them, life is unpredictable. Bad things happen, and the most we can do is be prepared for them — that’s the whole point of carrying insurance, to protect our financial security when things go wrong. That’s why it pays to do your homework ahead of time before an accident strikes.
What Part of a Policy Covers Hit and Runs?
The majority of auto liability insurance policies cover three categories:
- Bodily injury liability insurance: This is the type that protects other people if you cause an accident and injure someone else.
- Property damage liability insurance: If you damage someone else’s vehicle or property in a collision, this insurance covers their loss.
- Uninsured motorist coverage: This type is what you’ll lean on if you are affected by a hit and run. It will also be invaluable if the driver who hits you gives his information but doesn’t have an auto liability policy. This insurance will usually give you coverage for injuries and property damage, but some companies might require this as an add-on policy you’ll have to pay extra for, which is why you need to check with your insurance agent.
You may also be covered for some hit-and-run damages through your collision policy.
Wading through insurance policy coverages can make your eyes glaze over from boredom after a while. A simple call to your agent with a direct question about hit and run coverage can save you time – they’ll be able to quickly tell you where you stand.
Find the most coverage for best premium, not just the cheapest.
Everyone has different incomes, assets, and tolerance for risk. You need to look at what the right car insurance coverage is for you and your circumstances.
While you should ensure you are adequately covered, you’ll also have to pay attention to the cost. You want to be protected, but you want the lowest price you can find. That allows you to keep building your emergency fund, which is another key component of financial security, or invest more in your retirement accounts.