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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Unfortunately, people are not as honest as they used to be. It is a common predicament to come out of a store, or even your house, and find that your car has been hit and the at-fault driver is long-gone. Some people are even victims of hit-and-runs while they are operating their vehicles. If the driver of the hit-and-run car can be found, he or she can be in for some serious legal consequences; in many states, hit-and-run is a felony. On the other hand, many hit-and-run drivers are never located. Will your insurance pay to fix your car if you are the victim of a hit-and-run and the driver is not found?
Most states require drivers to carry only liability coverage on their vehicles
Liability insurance is a great thing if you are the at-fault driver; it covers the damages and injuries you cause to other people, relieving you of the responsibility for paying these bills. However, liability does not cover any damages to your own vehicle when you are at fault in an accident; in order to have these damages paid for, you must have another form of insurance called collision coverage, and collision is not required by any state. Therefore, people who carry only the state-required minimum coverage on their vehicles are out of luck if they cause an accident and are unable to pay to have their own car fixed.
Collision is also the form of coverage which generally pays for damage to your car from a hit-and-run accident
If you do not have a collision policy, you may not have insurance coverage to pay for the damages caused if another driver hits your car and then flees. If you have collision coverage, this policy will pay for the damage to your vehicle; however, you may have to pay a deductible, and this can actually be more than the cost to repair the damages if they were very slight.
How much is collision insurance per month?
On average, you will pay about 25 percent of the price of liability coverage to have collision added to your policy. If your current insurance premium is $100 per month, you could add collision and have a total bill of about $125 per month. Of course, this amount will vary greatly depending on the company, your claims history, and the options you choose for your collision coverage.
There is another form of coverage which can also pay your damages from a hit-and-run accident called “uninsured motorist coverage.”
In many states, your uninsured motorist coverage can step in and handle a hit-and-run claim as if the driver were known to be uninsured. By using uninsured motorist coverage, you may have a lower deductible than your collision insurance policy; of course, this will depend on your policy coverage and your set deductibles. In some states, you are not allowed to raise your uninsured motorist deductible above a certain amount; some companies may also enforce this policy. This is because if an uninsured motorist hits you, you will be forced to pay the deductible for an accident caused by someone else; it is only fair that the deductible be as low as possible.
Whether you have collision, uninsured motorist coverage, or both, it is important to understand the benefits and limitations of your policy. When you take out this coverage, be sure to ask your agent how your company assesses a hit-and-run accident. Does a hit-and-run fall under your collision or your uninsured motorist coverage? What if the damage includes glass breakage? How much deductible will you be required to pay? Your agent can provide specific answers to these questions based on your company’s decisions regarding how claims are handled, and different companies may have slightly different ways of dealing with these questions. For example, if you have a no-deductible glass breakage policy rider, and the damage to your car was primarily glass breakage, it may be easier and cheaper to file under this policy than either your collision or uninsured motorist coverage.