How do I make a claim for a hit and run?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 11, 2016

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Here's what you need to know...
  • You must file a police report after you have been a victim of a hit and run
  • If you witness the crash and can get a license plate number and the make and model of the vehicle, you significantly increase your chances of receiving compensation after that person is caught
  • Take pictures of the scene and the damage
  • If you have collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance will cover your damage if you’re unable to catch the perpetrator

Making a car insurance claim for a hit and run is not as complicated as it may seem.

As long as you convey all the necessary information promptly, chances are good that you will be on your way to compensation for any damages received at the hands of a hit and run driver.

Review the details for the steps you need to take when filing a hit and run claim. Also, be sure to enter your zip above to find the best car insurance!

What is a Hit and Run?


In a nutshell, “hit and run” refers to the legal infraction resulting when a driver who causes an accident (whether with another person, vehicle, or piece of property) does not remain at the scene of that accident for identification and resolution purposes.

In the United States, uninsured drivers cause a disproportionate percentage of hit and run accidents.

A Police Report is an Important Element of a Hit and Run Claim

A police report is not always necessary in cases where both parties to an accident are present, accounted for, and willing to cooperate.

A hit and run accident, however, does not fit such criteria. You will need to call the police department as soon as possible after you become the victim of a hit and run to document the scene.

You will benefit if you are a careful observer. If you can get the license plate number of the hit and run vehicle, as well as its make and model, you will be giving the police concrete information to work with.

If the police can apprehend the driver, you may be able to go after the driver’s insurance (if he has any) so that your policy won’t bear the burden.

If you can use your camera phone to get a picture of the retreating vehicle, it’s all the better. If not, use the camera to document all the damage to your vehicle. Also, take wider shots of the general scene.

Any information you can provide to the police and the insurance company will only help your cause. Take a lot of photos; the pictures will keep providing information long after your memory of the details goes fuzzy.

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Talk to Witnesses in Support of Your Hit and Run Claim

It is important to talk to people in the area who witnessed the accident.

While people are often leery of getting involved in other people’s business, not to mention they are usually in a hurry, it is important to make an effort to reach out to as many people as possible who were on the scene.

At the very least, get the contact information of each witness so that the police and/or the insurance company can contact them later.

Contact Your Insurance Company to File a Claim for a Hit and Run

You will want to call your insurance company immediately upon filing a police report, provided you are familiar with the details of your policy. If not, it is wise to review your policy before you speak with an insurance adjuster.

Most companies require drivers to possess collision or uninsured driver insurance in order to receive compensation for a hit and run accident. If you only have liability insurance, you may be out of luck.

Knowing the details of your policy—from coverage to deductibles to limits—will enable you to converse knowledgeably with your adjuster and will allow you to be a better advocate for YOU.

Be Thorough and Organized When You Make a Hit and Run Claim


Your adjuster will give you the necessary paperwork to fill out. Do so as soon as possible. This not only gets the ball rolling at a steady pace, but it allows you to give the details while they are still fresh in your mind.

In addition to the forms provided by your insurance company, you will want to submit the police report, statements from witnesses, and any photos you took at the scene.

This is also the time to submit:

  • repair estimates
  • medical bills
  • documentation of any time away from work

The more thorough and organized you are, the better your case is likely to fare. As always, it is important to stay on top of the matter; you will want to stay in contact with the insurance adjuster to make sure the claim keeps its momentum.

It is important to surround yourself with knowledgeable, caring professionals when dealing with complex car insurance matters. Online quote comparison tools allow you to find a host of respected car insurance companies quickly and easily. Compare quotes today!

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