How to File an Insurance Claim When Someone Hits Your Car

To file an insurance claim when someone hits your car, you should collect information at the scene and inform your car insurance company. If your auto insurance claim is denied, contact a car accident attorney to help you with the car insurance claims process.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 29, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There is specific information you need to collect at the scene of the accident
  • Make sure you know who to call after an accident
  • Hit and run incidents need to be dealt with in a specific way
  • You should contact an attorney if your claim is denied

Being involved in an automobile accident can be a frightening experience. Depending on the severity, it can pose a huge inconvenience to all parties involved.

In the unfortunate event that someone hits your car, it is important to know which steps to take in filing a claim with the insurance company to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.

Make sure you have the right coverage at the right price. Enter your zip code into the FREE rate tool above and begin comparing insurance options side-by-side.

What Info to Collect at the Scene


Immediately after the collision once all individuals have moved to a safe location, you must exchange important pieces of information with the other driver.

This information includes:

  • Full name
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • The start and end date of your policy
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers of all parties involved, including witnesses
  • Driver’s license and plate numbers of all drivers involved

Usually, when police arrive on the scene, they assist with the exchange of this information thus encouraging cooperation amongst all parties involved.

If possible, take pictures of all damages, including your property, theirs and the location of the accident. Document weather and traffic conditions if possible.

Collecting all necessary information to provide to the insurance company will make the claim process easier.

It is important to never admit fault at the scene of an accident.

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Who to Call?

Regardless of who’s fault it was, you should always notify your own insurance company of the accident first. Your insurer should be contacted immediately even if you are far away from home.

Many large insurance companies are available 24/7 and their contact information would be available on the back of your insurance card.

If the other driver was at fault, you will file a claim against their insurance company. This is referred to as a “third-party insurance claim.”

However, some insurance companies use “subrogation” for their policy holders which essentially means that your own insurer may pay you for a claim, even if the other party is at fault.

Once they have paid, they will rightfully seek the money from the other insurance company. Discuss this matter with your insurance company to see if it is available.

However, once the other person’s insurance company name and their policy number have been provided, you can independently contact that insurance company to file a claim.

A representative will request certain documents and pieces of information to support the claim. It is important to keep track of all expenses and bills related to the accident.

You will only use your own policy’s coverage if you discover that the other driver does not have enough insurance or if you were at fault.

When shopping for car insurance, you may want to consider purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to pay for injuries caused by the accident from a driver with little to no insurance coverage.

Filing a Claim Against a Hit and Run


If someone hits your vehicle and flees the scene before providing contact and insurance information, there are steps you can take in filing a claim with your own insurance company if you have the proper coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage can cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury can pay for medical expenses. Some states require these types of insurances by law.

When shopping for car insurance, it is advised to consider this type of coverage as such accidents are not uncommon, especially when the vehicle is parked.

Keep in mind that some insurance companies may have different policies and procedures. When shopping for car insurance, it is important to learn about their claim process and procedures.

When dealing with a rep, it is important to always respond to emails and phone calls promptly. A lack of communication between you and the rep may cause the case to become prematurely closed.

When to Contact an Attorney

It is unnecessary to contact a lawyer if serious injuries did not occur or if the damages were not severe.

It is important to contact an attorney under these circumstances:

  • An accident has caused a death or permanent injuries
  • Pedestrians were involved
  • The police report was not accurate
  • The insurance company denies the claim out of “bad faith”
  • The accident occurred in a construction zone

You may want to consider an attorney if it is not clear who’s fault the accident was, if you feel as though the insurance company was unfair with the settlement or if you simply do not know your rights.

Filing an insurance claim does not have to be a difficult process if you are well prepared. Depending on the complexity of the accident, some cases may be resolved quicker than others.

Insurance companies denying claims or making mistakes is not uncommon. In this case scenario, you can either contact an attorney or reach out to other organizations that will assist you with your best interests at heart.

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