Hit-and-run claims: What they mean for your insurance

You're devastated after a crash. Your injuries result in time in the hospital, your loved ones struggle because you can't work and there's nothing you want more than to bring the driver who hit you to justice. Unfortunately, you have no real information on who that is.

Witnesses at the scene reported the color and style of the car. One even had a partial plate number. The police are searching to find out who hit you, but until then, you need to make a claim to begin to receive compensation.

When you don't know who hit you, you have to make a claim through your own insurance carrier. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, this may help you in this situation. Understand that this could increase your insurance premiums, since it's your own insurance covering the costs of your injuries.

What should you do to help yourself?

Record everything you can about the incident. Do you remember the color of the car? Do you remember if the driver was male or female? How old was he or she. What was he or she doing at the time of the accident? Having some of these pieces of information helps identify the individual. For example, if you remember that the individual had a bumper sticker for a local university, you might be able to have the vehicle tracked to a student, much like if a vehicle has a "proud mom of a soccer player at..." sticker on it. Little details could help locate the driver.

Witnesses also help immensely in these cases. Having some idea of the driver's license plate number, the type of vehicle he or she drove and the color helps the police narrow down the suspects and find the vehicle quickly.

With good evidence, it's possible to track a hit-and-run driver. With luck and hard work, the driver may yet be brought to justice and held accountable.

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