If your car is involved in a collision that is not your fault, but the other driver fails to stop and provide their insurance details, this is classed as a hit and run accident. A hit and run driver could leave the scene on foot without identifying themselves.
Third party and some other insurance policies do not provide cover if the owner of the vehicle that was involved in the collision cannot be traced. Check your policy details to find out if you are covered for uninsured or hit and run drivers.
What to do after a hit and run accident
If the car is drivable, make sure it’s safely positioned, preferably at the roadside and not obstructing other cars.
Call the emergency services if someone is injured. Call the police to report the incident and make sure they give you a crime number. Photograph the damage to your car if you have a phone or camera.
Also, contact your insurer as soon as you can and they will provide guidance about how to make a claim.
What not to do after a hit and run accident
Don’t follow or leave the accident scene, or the police could accuse you of fleeing the accident as well as the hit and run driver. If the driver has fled the accident because they have stolen the car, it has been involved in a crime, or they have illegal drugs inside the car, catching up and confronting them could put you in a dangerous situation.
If the car cannot be driven and it is in a dangerous position, don't stay in the car.
How to claim
If you have the car registration number and details of the vehicle that hit you, then the police should be able to trace the driver. Obviously, if the car has been stolen, it may be impossible to do this.
If there are any eyewitnesses, get their contact details to pass on to your insurer. Photograph any damage to your car and record the location, time and date of the incident.
If your insurance company does not cover you for being hit by an uninsured driver, or a hit and run accident, contact the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), which is a not-for-profit organisation set up to compensate victims of hit and run and uninsured drivers. The MIB is funded by the insurance industry.
As well as any necessary repairs, you will be able to claim for injury to the driver and passengers. You will need to show that the runaway driver was responsible for the accident, the damage to the car and any injuries of the driver and passengers. It is important to provide as many details as possible about the accident. Eyewitness accounts help, and even if you do not have the registration number of the other car, as many details about the car make, model and colour as possible can help back up your claim. You will also need to provide the insurer with the police crime number. A dash camera can provide good supporting evidence.
Some insurance policies will provide a courtesy car while you wait for your car to be repaired.
What about the no claims bonus?
If you make a claim for a hit and run accident, even if the accident is not your fault, your no claims will be reduced unless you pay an excess to protect it.
Most motorists stop after an accident, but it makes sense to have an insurance policy that covers you if the other motorist does not remain at the accident scene.