AutoInsurance.com
Published: June 30, 2022Last updated: October 19, 2022

What to Do if Someone Hits Your Car

Whether or not they leave a note

If someone hits your car, whether it’s in a parking lot or on the road, your insurance rates could go up if you have to file a first-party claim (a claim with your car insurance provider). However, if the person leaves a note with their contact and insurance information, you can file a third-party claim, and your rates won’t increase. Here’s what to do if you’re not at fault in a car accident, whether or not it was a true hit-and-run.

What to Do if Someone Hits Your Car

One of the most frequently asked questions in car insurance is, “What do you do if another driver is at fault in a collision?” Learn what to do if someone hits your parked car or if someone hits your car while you’re driving.

At the Scene

  1. Call the police.
  2. File an accident report. You’ll want a police report for your claim.
  3. Collect other evidence, taking photos of the damage and notes about the circumstances.

If They Leave a Note

If the at-fault driver leaves a note:

  1. Contact them to get their complete insurance information.
  2. File a third-party claim with their insurance company for your property damages and bodily injuries, if any.  You can either submit a claim online or notify your insurance agent directly to begin the claims process.

If They Leave False Information

If the at-fault driver gives you false information:

  1. Treat the incident the same as if they didn’t leave a note at all by filing a first-party claim with your insurance provider.
  2. Get your vehicle repaired and make any necessary medical appointments.

In terms of coverage, insurance companies view drivers in hit-and-run accidents the same way they view uninsured motorists due to the lack of coverage and information.

If You’re Injured vs. Not Injured

If you’re injured in an accident:

  1. Seek medical attention.
  2. If the other driver didn’t leave a note or left a note with false information, get your claims covered under medical payments coverage or personal injury protection.
  3. See if your health insurance will cover any of your medical costs.

If you’re not injured in an accident:

  1. Capture evidence of the property damages.
  2. File either a first- or third-party claim, depending on whether you have the at-fault driver’s insurance information.
  3. Get your car repaired.
  4. Wait for the insurance company to send a reimbursement check to the repair facility.

CheckDID YOU KNOW?

In our hit-and-run research, we found that 73 percent of hit-and-runs involved property damage only, while 27 percent involved injuries only.1

Will Insurance Pay if Someone Hits My Car?

Insurance may or may not pay if someone hits your car. If the other party gave you accurate insurance information, their third-party insurance will pay for your damages and injuries. However, if the other driver didn’t give you accurate or any insurance information, you will have to turn to your own insurance policy, which may or may not cover your damages and injuries, depending on which coverages you have. See below to find out which coverages cover hit-and-runs and which don’t.

Liability Coverage

Liability insurance coverage, which includes property damage and bodily injury coverage, will not cover your costs in a hit-and-run. Rather, it applies only to the other party’s costs in accidents you caused.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

You can use uninsured motorist coverage for your property damages, injuries, funeral expenses, and loss of income from a hit-and-run.2 Uninsured motorist coverage includes both uninsured motorist property damage and uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.

Collision Coverage

You can also use collision coverage to get your car repaired after a hit-and-run. Note that if you use collision coverage, you’ll have to pay a deductible before your insurance company contributes up to your car’s actual market value.3 Learn more about collision insurance.

Comprehensive Coverage

You can’t use comprehensive coverage for hit-and-runs, as it doesn’t apply to damages from collisions.

CheckNOTE

While neither comprehensive nor collision insurance is part of the minimum coverage in any state, they are part of full coverage car insurance, which we recommend getting.

Medical Payments Coverage and Personal Injury Protection

Finally, you can apply either medical payments coverage in fault states or personal injury protection (PIP) in no-fault states to your injuries.

Will My Insurance Increase After Someone Hits My Car?

Any time you file a first-party claim, you risk higher insurance rates. However, if you’re able to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, your insurance rates won’t increase. Hopefully, they leave you a note with their contact information.

Legal Requirements After an Accident

After the accident, you may be required to report it to the police, depending on its severity. Find out your state’s legal requirements for accident reporting below.

State Accidents after which you have to file a police report Deadline to file after accident Penalty for not reporting the accident by the deadline
Alabama Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 due to an uninsured motorist 30 days Class A misdemeanor (up to $1,000 fine) for accidents resulting in property damages, Class C felony ($2,500 to $6,000 fine) for accidents resulting in death or injury
Alaska Death, injury, or property damage worth over $2,000 10 days License suspension for up to 30 days, plus a fine up to $200 or imprisonment for up to 90 days, or both
Arizona No state law requiring the driver involved in an accident to file a police report None None
Arkansas Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 Immediately (death or injury) or 30 days (property damage) License suspension
California Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 10 days 90 days to 4 years in prison and/or a $1,000-$10,000 fine
Colorado Death, injury, or any property damage 10 days 10-90 days in jail, $150-$300 fine, or both
Connecticut Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 5 days $75-$600 fine, imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both for first offense; $100-$1,000 fine, imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both for subsequent offenses
Delaware Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 Immediately $25-$75 fine for first offense; $57.50-$95 fine for subsequent offenses
District of Columbia None None None
Florida Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 As soon as possible $30 fine
Georgia Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 Immediately 3 points on driving record
Hawaii Death, injury, or property damage worth over $3,000 Immediately $100 fine
Idaho Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,500 Immediately Fines or license suspension
Illinois Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,500, or $500 if any vehicle is uninsured 10 days License suspension
Indiana Death, injury, or property damage worth over $750 Immediately License and vehicle registration suspension
Iowa No requirement for driver to submit reports for an accident with death, injury, or damage of $1,500 or more if the accident was investigated by the police 3 days (if report is required) License suspension
Kansas Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,500 Immediately License suspension, up to $500 fine
Kentucky Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 10 days $20-$100 fine
Louisiana None None None
Maine Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 Immediately Imprisonment for 6 months and $1,000 fine
Maryland Death or injury 15 days 5 points and $140 fine
Massachusetts Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 5 days License suspension
Michigan Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 Immediately Imprisonment for up to 90 days, up to $100 fine, or both
Minnesota Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 10 days License suspension
Mississippi Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 10 days License suspension
Missouri Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 5 days License suspension, fine, or misdemeanor charge
Montana Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 Immediately Misdemeanor ($200-$300 fine or imprisonment for 20 days)
Nebraska Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 10 days Class V misdemeanor (up to $100 fine)
Nevada All crashes Immediately Suspension of driving privileges for up to 1 year
New Hampshire Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 (not required if police file report) 5 days Felony if the accident caused death or injury; misdemeanor if there was only property damage
New Jersey Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 Immediately License suspension and $30-$100 fine
New Mexico Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 Immediately License suspension
New York Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,500 10 days $250 fine, 15 days of imprisonment, or both
North Carolina Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 Immediately Up to $100 fine
North Dakota Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 (not required for property damage only with an undomesticated animal) Immediately License suspension
Ohio All crashes Immediately Up to $150 fine
Oklahoma Death, injury, or property damage worth over $500 Immediately (death or injury) or 6 months (property damage) License suspension
Oregon Injury or death (involved driver must call 911), more than $2,500 in damage to vehicle, any vehicle towed from the scene, more than $2,500 of any property damage (not including vehicles) 72 hours Up to $300 fine
Pennsylvania Death, injury, or if the vehicle is disabled 5 days Suspension of driving privileges
Rhode Island Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 21 days Up to $500 fine
South Carolina Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 15 days $100-$5,000 fine, 1 year of imprisonment, or both
South Dakota Death, injury, damage worth over $1,000 to 1 person’s property, or $2,000 of total property damage Immediately Class 2 misdemeanor (up to 30 days of imprisonment, $500 fine, or both)
Tennessee Death, injury, or property damage worth over $50 Immediately (death, injury, or property damage worth $50-$400) or 20 days (death, injury, or property damage worth over $400) License and registration suspension
Texas Death, injury, or property damage of worth over $1,000 Immediately (death or injury) or 10 days (property damage) License suspension
Utah Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 10 days License suspension
Vermont Death, injury, or property damage worth over $3,000 3 days Fine
Virginia Death or injury Immediately Up to $250 fine
Washington Death, injury, or property damage worth over $700 4 days License suspension
West Virginia Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 Immediately License suspension
Wisconsin Death, injury, property damage worth over $1,000, or government property damage worth over $200 Immediately (to law enforcement by quickest means of communication) $40-$200 fine
Wyoming Death, injury, or property damage worth over $1,000 Immediately $200 fine4

Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident a Felony?

Leaving the scene of an accident is either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on where the accident occurred.5 If you commit a hit-and-run and get caught, you could face legal consequences.

Defenses for Hit-and-Runs

The only defenses for hit-and-runs are if you say you weren’t aware that you hit another person or vehicle, or that the victim said there was no damage. If the other driver says the hit-and-run didn’t cause damages, you legally don’t have to provide your contact or insurance information.

How to Collect Damages After a Hit-and-Run

There are two ways to collect damages after a hit-and-run:

  1. File a claim. File either a first- or third-party claim, depending on whether you know the other party’s insurance information.
  2. File a lawsuit. If the claim is denied, you can file a civil lawsuit, given you meet your state’s monetary or serious injury threshold, if any. Here are the states with thresholds for civil suits:
State Monetary threshold (dollar amount of damages/injuries) Serious injury threshold
Florida None Permanent injury

Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

Hawaii PIP benefit amount Significant and permanent loss of use of a bodily function or body part

Permanent and serious disfigurement resulting in emotional or mental distress

Kansas PIP benefit amount Permanent disfigurement

Fracture of weight-bearing compound or bone

Comminuted, displaced, or compressed fracture of any bone

Permanent injury

Permanent loss of a bodily function

Kentucky $1,000 Permanent disfigurement

Fracture of weight-bearing compound or bone

Comminuted, displaced, or compressed fracture of any bone

Permanent injury

Permanent loss of a bodily function

Massachusetts $2,000 Permanent and serious disfigurement

Fractured bone

Substantial loss of sight or hearing

Michigan None Serious impairment of a bodily function

Serious and permanent disfigurement

Minnesota $4,000 60 days of disability

Permanent injury

Permanent disfigurement

New Jersey None Dismemberment

Significant scarring or disfigurement

Loss of a fetus

Displaced fractures

Permanent injury other than disfigurement or scarring

New York None Bone fracture

Significant disfigurement

Permanent limitation of use of a body member or organ

Significant limitation of a bodily system or function

Substantially full disability for 90 days

North Dakota $2,500 Permanent and serious disability

Disfigurement of at least 60 days

Pennsylvania None Serious injury
Utah $3,000 Permanent disfigurement

Permanent disability

Bone fracture

Washington, D.C. PIP benefit amount Substantial permanent disfigurement or scarring

Substantial permanent impairment

Substantially total impairment lasting 6 months6

You can choose whether or not to hire a traffic attorney when filing a civil suit for a hit-and-run, but we recommend taking advantage of their expertise.

What to Do if You Hit a Parked Car

At-fault accidents happen, even if you drive defensively. Here’s what to do if you hit a parked car:

  1. Remain at the scene. If you flee without giving your information, you could face legal and financial consequences.
  2. Try to find the car’s driver. You may have to go into nearby stores and ask employees.
  3. If you can’t find the person, leave a note in a secure place on their car that contains your insurance and contact information, along with a brief description of the accident.
  4. Write down their license plate number.
  5. Photograph the damage.
  6. Call the police.
  7. Once you exchange information over the phone, the other party will initiate a claim with your insurance provider for their damages. This is where your liability coverage will come in handy. If your liability limit is high enough, you won’t have to pay for the damage you caused out of pocket.

No-Fault vs. At-Fault States

Whether you’re financially responsible for someone’s injuries in addition to their property damage depends on your state’s fault system.

State Fault system
Alabama At fault
Alaska At fault
Arizona At fault
Arkansas No fault
California At fault
Colorado At fault
Connecticut At fault
Delaware No fault
District of Columbia At fault
Florida No fault
Georgia At fault
Hawaii No fault
Idaho At fault
Illinois At fault
Indiana At fault
Iowa At fault
Kansas No fault
Kentucky Optional
Louisiana At fault
Maine At fault
Maryland At fault
Massachusetts No fault
Michigan At fault
Minnesota No fault
Mississippi At fault
Missouri At fault
Montana At fault
Nebraska At fault
Nevada At fault
New Hampshire At fault
New Jersey Optional
New Mexico At fault
New York No fault
North Carolina At fault
North Dakota No-fault
Ohio At fault
Oklahoma At fault
Oregon At fault (but requires PIP)
Pennsylvania Optional
Rhode Island At fault
South Carolina At fault
South Dakota At fault
Tennessee At fault
Texas No fault
Utah No fault
Vermont At fault
Virginia At fault
Washington No fault
West Virginia At fault
Wisconsin At fault
Wyoming At fault

Let’s say, for instance, that you live in the no-fault state of Florida. In this case, each driver would pay for their own injuries, childcare, and lost wages under PIP, which has a $10,000 minimum limit.7 The at-fault driver would pay for the other driver’s property damage under property damage coverage and their own damages under collision coverage, if they have it. In a fault state, on the other hand, the at-fault driver would pay for both injuries and damages.

Recap

The thing about auto insurance coverages is that they don’t work retroactively, meaning if you’re involved in a hit-and-run and lack collision or uninsured motorist coverage, you can’t get your damage repairs reimbursed, even if you add on these coverages after the fact. That’s why you should buy as much auto insurance as you can afford, and be sure to take advantage of car insurance discounts. To see if you can save money by switching car insurance, get an insurance quote today.

Citations

  1. Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2022, Mar 02).
    https://cdan.dot.gov/query

  2. Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Geico.
    https://www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/auto/uninsured-underinsured-motorist/

  3. Someone hit my parked car. What do I do?. Allstate. (2019, Sept).
    https://www.allstate.com/resources/car-insurance/someone-hit-my-parked-car

  4. State-by-State Laws & Requirements for Reporting a Car Accident. Enjuris.
    https://www.enjuris.com/car-accident/accident-reporting-requirements.html

  5. Consequences of a Hit-and-Run Accident. Nolo.
    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/consequences-hit-run-accident.html

  6. No Fault Car Insurance: States with Monetary Thresholds. Nolo.
    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/no-fault-car-insurance-states-with-monetary-thresholds.html

  7. Florida Insurance Requirements. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
    https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/