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Ask the Car Insurance Expert

My car was parked on the street in front my house. It became victim to a hit-and-run accident. I have full car insurance coverage. How do I deal with the situation?

Car insurance has several components, including liability, medical payments or personal injury protection, collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist and extras, such as roadside assistance.

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All states except New Hampshire require drivers to carry liability insurance, which pays for damage and injuries policyholders cause others in an accident. Some drivers carry only liability and forgo optional forms of coverage, such as collision and comprehensive, to save money on car insurance rates.

If you had only liability coverage, your auto insurance would not pay for the damage caused by a hit-and-run driver. Your only recourse would be to identify the fleeing driver to get payment.

But with full car insurance coverage you have a couple of options. One is filing a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for injuries or damage if the at-fault driver is uninsured or you can't track down the driver in a hit-and-run accident.

Another possibility is filing a claim under your collision coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle in an accident. Keep in mind you'll need to pay your deductible, so if the damage is minor, it might not be worth it to make a claim.

If you later discover the identity of the runaway driver, your insurance company could attempt to recoup the money it paid for damages and reimburse you for the deductible.

Call your insurance agent or insurer to see how to proceed. When you file the claim, you might need to provide evidence to prove another car struck your vehicle, as opposed to your car suffering damages from some other cause, such as hitting a tree in a drunk-driving episode. Possible evidence could be a photo of your car showing paint transfer from the hit-and-run vehicle, or corroboration from a witness. Talk to your neighbors to see if anyone saw what happened and might have information about the other driver and a description of the car.

For more, see how to make a car insurance claim for a hit-and-run accident.

 

 

Last updated: Mar. 11, 2011
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