Does my basic car insurance policy cover hit and run?

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you will not be protected if you only have the minimum mandatory liability coverage.

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A hit and run is a serious criminal offence. Even if tragedy does not strike, victims may end up with serious injuries or damage to their vehicle. To make matters worse, victims of hit-and-runs can sometimes have to deal with the financial consequences.

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In Ontario, drivers are required to carry liability insurance before hitting the road. This type of insurance is designed to protect the driver if another person is killed, injured or sustains property damage. The coverage will offset any legal claims up to the coverage limit. It also covers the costs of settling a claim.

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However, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you will not be protected solely by liability coverage.

What insurance coverage is needed for a hit-and-run?

Under no-fault insurance in Ontario, which guarantees payment whether or not the plaintiff is at fault, a hit-and-run claim is only paid if the driver has optional collision coverage, explains Anne Marie Thomas, director of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

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So, if you’re involved in a hit-and-run and only have limited liability non-collision coverage or comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, chances are you won’t be covered for the damages you sustain. That is why get auto collision insurance who can protect you in this scenario is a good idea.

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Are there any additional costs involved after a hit and run?

For no-fault insurance to kick in, the other driver must be identified and have their own insurance policy, Thomas says.

Although collision insurance is useful after a hit-and-run, you will likely incur costs if you and your insurer are unable to identify the other driver. According to Thomas, in these cases, you’ll be responsible for paying your collision deductible, which can range from $500 to $1,000, depending on the amount you chose when you purchased your policy.

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What to do after a hit and run

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, either while driving or you notice your car has been hit in a parking lot, you should do your best to identify the driver. “See if there are any security cameras,” Thomas said. “Ask for witnesses. Do what you can to find the driver who hit you.

Without identifying the other person, there is no way for your insurer to locate the other driver’s insurance company and policy to reimburse what was paid on your claim.

Just be careful not to run after the driver, adds Thomas. “If you’re on the road and someone bumps into you and runs away, don’t try to chase them. This is for your own safety,” she said. “You don’t know who’s in the car.”

“You also don’t want to be seen as fleeing the scene of an accident. You want to make sure you’re on the right side of the law.

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You should report incidents as soon as they occur, either to the police or by taking your vehicle to the nearest Collision Reporting Centre. “Without a police report, the insurance company may not consider it a not-at-fault accident,” she says.

If a case occurs where you cause a collision and think about taking off, think twice. Refusing to stop after a traffic accident is an offense under the Criminal Code of Canadaand may result in fines, imprisonment and suspension of your driver’s license.

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