The initial impact of any automotive collision can leave many victims anxious, disoriented and angered. There’s the instant worry that you, your passengers or the other involved driver and their passengers may have suffered injuries, which can result in a series unfolding of events, paperwork and trauma. You may also be left with expensive car repairs or medical bills, and your driving record and the cost of your insurance premium may be affected.
Hit-and-run automotive collisions include the added stress of an unknown, at-fault driver that fails to follow up after the accident. Here are essential steps to ensure you receive the correct auto insurance coverage in the wake of a hit-and-run accident.
- File a police report
Regardless if you were in the vehicle or not, call the police immediately in the case of a fleeing, hit-and-run offender so you have a record of the accident. Never chase after the fleeing vehicle. The police may be able to track down the vehicle or the driver if you can provide the license plate number or a vehicle description. You can also check nearby businesses or street lights for traffic cameras that may have captured the incident.
Police will request your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of car insurance to complete the accident report. Accident reports will vary by state, but the California Department of Motor Vehicles outlines state guidelines in an easy to reference accident guide and many of these apply to most situations. Be sure to note the on-site officer’s name and badge number to collect a copy of the accident report for your records.
- Document the accident
Take photos of any damages to your vehicle, as well as 360-degree videos of the accident scene to help capture important details – like the location of your vehicle when it was hit, major intersections, notable landmarks, etc. – that may be needed for an insurance claim. Videos are helpful because they provide a timestamp of the incident and also enable you to make an account of the accident’s details as you remember them while they’re fresh in your mind. Ask witnesses, if any, to provide additional information about the accident, especially if you were away from your vehicle during the time of the incident.
- Contact your insurance company
Contact your insurance company to file an auto insurance claim. This alerts them of the accident and the current condition of your vehicle, as well as allows you to provide them with information about any injuries you or your passengers sustained, if applicable. One way to provide peace of mind during this process is to have full coverage car insurance, which can help cover the cost of car repairs, property damages and medical expenses following the accident.
Mercury’s claims hotline is available 24/7 at (800) 503-3724 and your claims representative will help guide you throughout the entire claims process. Be sure to provide your claims representative with the photos and videos you took of the damage to your vehicle, and any available witness statements. All information you can provide will help protect you against false claims.
“Any information about the car collision you can provide to help complete the timeline of the accident for your insurance company will expedite the claims process,” said Kevin Quinn, vice president of claims and customer experience at Mercury Insurance. “We recommend contacting the claims hotline as soon as possible and the representative assigned to your claim will help to resolve any issues. They’ll also be your main point of contact throughout the process if you have questions or need to check on the status of your claim.”
The conversation you have with your claims representative can mitigate the stress following a hit-and-run collision, as well as ensure you have everything you need to get your vehicle back on the road as soon as possible.