October 29th, 2014
Filing an insurance claim can be a complicated and stressful process. Talking with insurers over the phone while trying to prove your case can be difficult, especially if you don't have the other person's information. In the event of a hit and run, you could be left without any details about the suspect at all. In most cases, two people involved in an accident would have to swap insurance information, license plate number, phone number and make and model of the car. However, it can be quite common that the suspect doesn't have insurance and thus chooses to drive away to avoid paying. Or, you could leave your car parked, only to return and find that there is a huge dent in your door or your mirror is missing.
To ensure that your case is properly investigated and that your damage is paid for, it is important to file an insurance claim immediately. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with a hit and run:
Gather any details
While it can seem virtually impossible to track down a car that has already sped off, it's still in your interest to write down as much information as you can. Even the color of the car or a rough estimate of the model can help. Also, witnesses may have been present at the time so it is best to confirm any details with others so as to improve your case.
Call the police
You should file a police report so that the hit and run is on record. There may have been traffic cameras in the area or the police may already have a file that matches your description. The authorities will investigate further into the case and may come up with additional information after the fact.
You'll want to take pictures after a hit and run just as you would in any type of wreck. This will give you documentation that you are not filing fake claims while also providing a visual reference for the amount of damage incurred. The more time you take to properly report your claim, the more likely it will be handled quickly by your insurance company. Pictures can help determine the exact location and time of the accident, which provides police with a frame of reference to begin their search for the suspect.
Speak with provider
Every insurance company approaches a claim in a similar manner. However, each case is handled distinctly, which means results vary. Depending on the type of policy you have, your own insurance could cover the costs if the offender is not caught. Also, you may be able to waive your deductible if your own insurance does not cover the damage. This will at least minimize the costs of repair.
It's vital to file a claim as quickly as possible because providers can become suspicious if you wait a long time. It's also to your advantage to revise your policy as a whole to see if there are any unnecessary gaps in your auto insurance coverage.