What to do after a hit and run

Someone hit my car and took off! This is an unethical driver. You bear the result of the bad choice. Though you have done nothing wrong, you will end up with a lot of grief. You will have to deal with all the implications of an accident most often without the assistance of the driver's insurance company.

A hit and run is an accident where one of the parties involved leaves the scene without identifying him/herself or fails to stop. You could be a passenger in a vehicle, the driver of your vehicle, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist or cyclist. You could suffer a hit and run when someone smashes into your property and then takes off without providing identification.

It is important that you report the incident as quickly as possible to the police. Sometimes the police are able to track down the driver or the vehicle but often the person remains unknown. When it is a series of hit and runs by one person, often impaired or joy riding, then there is a much better chance that someone got a license number.

To have a "leave the scene of an accident" ticket on your record is a ticket that costs extra on your insurance. The insurance companies will not regard you as a good risk if you hit and run. Even if you panic and take off, come back right away to try and minimize your unwise action.

How will the insurance claim get paid? If the person who hits you is found and has an insurance policy that is in force at the time then your damage or injury can be addressed through that driver's Public Liability and Property Damage (PLPD) insurance. You will not have a deductible on your part. Whatever loss of use costs you incur from a rental will also be charged back to the other driver's PLPD.

What happens if the police have no idea who did this? If the person is not found then you will make a claim under your own insurance policy. Your policy will pay if you purchased physical damage coverage. You will pay a deductible. Most insurance companies will not rate your policy for this type of claim.

What happens if you did not buy physical damage coverage for your vehicle? Again, insurance does not have just one answer. It depends where you live. If the province or territory you live in has coverage it can be from $25,000 (Ontario) to as high as $200,000 (Manitoba). Drivers in Alberta are out of luck, they do not have an uninsured motorist coverage other then the SEF 44 which is an injury protection.

Again, if you do suffer a hit and run then report it as quickly as possible to the civil authority where you live. Then notify your agent, broker or insurance company to start their process and find out what you are to do next.