While it can sometimes feel a little crippling having to pay car insurance, it is nevertheless there for a very important reason. Insurance means that we can never cause damage to someone else and then be unable to pay to help them.
And if you imagine being on the receiving end of this equation, it’s something you’ll probably be very glad exists.
But while car insurance is a good system, it is not flawless – and there are scenarios that it isn’t designed to cope with.
Take hit and run accidents for instance. If someone drives into you and then drives away without stopping to let you exchange details, then you don’t have any way to get compensation from their insurance policy.
So what happens now? Do you pay your own costs? Will your own insurance protect you?
When you’re hit by another driver in a hit and run accident, you can normally rely on your insurance to cover you as long as you have ‘fully comprehensive’ insurance. Fully comprehensive insurance means that you will are covered for damage to your own vehicle too, up to a certain limit. This means that no matter what the cause of the damage to your vehicle – whether it’s a hit and run or a storm – you won’t have to pay the amount yourself.
On the other hand though, if you opted only for ‘third party insurance’, meaning that you’re only insured to pay for damage to other individuals, then you may not have any assistance. In order to be absolutely certain, you’ll need to carefully read through your policy.
Even if your insurance policy is fully comprehensive though, you may still find a few unfortunate consequences occur as a result of the accident and lack of party to assign liability too. For example, you’ll probably need to pay your deductible – which is the amount you agreed in your policy to pay before you would get help. This can be set at a wide range of values and will also impact on the cost of your premiums – the bigger your deductible, the less you’ll pay for the policy but the greater risk you take.
Another problem is that you might find it still puts up your premiums and hurts your no-claims bonus. This may not seem fair but you need to understand that this is nothing personal: it’s all calculated by algorithms. At the same time, companies might make the claim that you could have put your car in a risky position that led to the accident. They may also wish to deter false claims.
What if You’re the Guilty Party?
If you’re the guilty party on the other hand, then it’s crucial to understand that a hit and run is a criminal offense – especially if you may have caused injury. If you are pursued then you will likely be taken into police custody and the owner of the other vehicle will be contacted. If there is no bodily injury, then you may be able to settle the claim through your respective insurance companies with no further involvement from the police. This sill substantially increase your insurance premiums however and the fact that you drove away will only increase this further. Because this is considered a serious road crime (more serious than a speeding ticket for instance), you can realistically expect your premiums to increase by anything from 25-75% percent.
If you are ever in any kind of traffic accident, then it is crucial that you stop to exchange details and then call the authorities if necessary. If you are the victim, then you should record the number plate of the other vehicle as soon as you can. While it’s not nice to assume people are guilty, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. If the guilty party does drive away, you can also ask witnesses nearby if you can have their details, so that they can help in an investigation.
Make sure to look for an insurance policy that will protect you in as many scenarios as possible. And at the same time, always drive safely! A lot of accidents can be avoided by hanging back a little and taking your time. Leave earlier and leave yourself more time to enjoy the ride!