Dealing with the aftermath of a hit-and-run is an emotional rollercoaster, often leaving one feeling alone and responsible for handling the repairs without the support they need. When you find unexpected damages to your vehicle, here are some helpful tips to guide you in making smart decisions moving forward to recover the costs resulting from repairs.
The first step you should take is to try to obtain any kind of identification of the person who damaged your vehicle. This could be a license plate number, make and model of their vehicle, and/or identifying characteristics of the neglectful driver that could help you obtain the license plate or car type at a later point.
Secondarily, you will want to file a police report as soon as possible to ensure you give an accurate description of the damages, location of the accident, and timing of the event. Be sure to complete an accident report with the local police department as well, and include any potential witnesses. If you are unable to file an accident report with the police right away due to a lack of availability, then take the initiative to gather statements, names, and addresses of the witnesses for submission at a later point. If the police department has this information on file, it can be used as a resource in identifying the responsible driver during run-ins or traffic stops. Take as many photos of the incident and specific damages to your vehicle as possible to paint the full picture for law enforcement and your insurance company. This will help your memory if asked later on about the details of the accident as well as provide a reference for those involved in resolving the issue.
Third, you will want to contact your insurance company to review your coverage options in order to determine how much they will pay for your repairs and ensure your insured limits match your liability limits. All insurance companies should have some kind of policy about uninsured or underinsured motorists, so you should at least receive compensation under that clause so that you are not paying completely out of pocket. Of course, you have to be signed up for this special additional coverage on your own liability insurance. In most states, coverage for the uninsured motorist will cover the costs as if they were the neglectful driver’s liability insurance. This added security will be a huge weight off your shoulders if involved in an unexpected accident like a hit-and-run.
Unfortunately, when you are involved in a hit-and-run, documenting everything and contacting the appropriate parties like the police department and your insurance company are the only steps you can take to protect yourself. Do not make the mistake of fleeing the accident yourself because this could result in less coverage or protection. Taking these steps should ensure your damages are covered, should you find yourself in this situation. After you have done all you can to cover and protect yourself following an unexpected accident, all you can do is breathe and wait to hear back about how you will be supported during this time. If your vehicle is not drivable post-accident, see if your insurance company will cover the costs of a rental car for the time being. Having safe transportation is important, and you deserve some relief after going through these unexpected damages and costs.