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How will my car insurance policy respond to a hit and run?

Sept. 6, 2022
5 mins
A black car with front-end damage after a collision

Being involved in any type of collision is tough, but a hit and run is particularly difficult.

Hit and runs, where the other driver(s) flee the scene of the crash, can happen anywhere. Whether on the road or in a parking lot, being involved in a hit and run is not a good feeling.

But how does a hit and run affect your auto insurance rate?

How is my car insurance premium affected by a hit and run?

The only good thing about being the victim of a hit and run is that it doesn’t affect your premium if your insurance company determines that you were not at-fault in any way. For instance, if your car is sitting in a parking lot and someone hits it and then leaves the scene, you’re not at fault and this won’t affect your insurance premium.

But to ensure that your premium is not affected, you should report the collision as soon as possible. In Ontario, you need to file a claim within seven days of the incident. A hit and run is also a crime, so you need to report it to the police within 24 hours. The police may refer you to a collision reporting centre, depending on the amount of damage.

There’s no good reason to hide the fact that you were a victim of a hit and run from your insurance company. Insurance companies don’t like being lied to, and it could prompt them to cancel your coverage if you don’t disclose that your vehicle was involved in a collision.

If you caused the hit and run, you have committed a crime. You need to talk to the police and your insurance company. You could face jail time, fines or both and your insurance company could cancel your policy.

Will I have to pay for damage to my vehicle resulting from a hit and run?

Auto insurance exists for situations just like this. Most insurance policies will cover up to a certain amount of damages after a hit and run, but you will still need to pay the deductible for the collision. This is because your insurance provider can’t track down the insurance policy of the driver responsible for the hit and run, so they can’t recoup any costs. Your insurance provider must pay for your claim without being reimbursed.

A deductible is what you pay out of pocket if you file a claim. For instance, if repairs for your vehicle after a hit and run cost $10,000 but your policy’s deductible is $1,000, your insurance company will cover $9,000 of the repairs. You’re on the hook for $1,000 before they’ll pay out the remainder.

Some insurance companies may offer a hit-and-run deductible waiver if you report the collision within a reasonable time frame. This add-on would prevent you from having to pay your deductible in a situation where you’re the victim of a hit and run.

If you’re injured from the hit and run

Ontario’s no-fault auto insurance laws mean you will receive accident benefits through your insurance provider, such as income replacement and rehabilitation costs, regardless of who was at fault for the collision.

You may want to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you receive these benefits.

How to make a hit-and-run insurance claim

To make the insurance coverage process as easy as possible after a hit and run, here are a few tips:

  • If you see the hit and run happen, try to remember the licence plate and model/make of the car.
  • If there were witnesses, ask them to stick around and talk to the police.
  • Take pictures of the collision scene and the damage to your car.
  • See if there are any security cameras around to help identify the person who caused the collision.

These pieces of information will all be helpful for the police report, and in turn, making sure your premium isn’t affected. Also take down the officer’s name, badge ID and contact information for your insurance company, in case they need to contact the officer.

A hit and run is a scary occurrence, but luckily, it doesn’t affect your insurance premium and most insurance policies will cover most of the claim costs.

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Sabina Wex

Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto.

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