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Hit and run...it can happen to you

Jan 31 2012

by Wayne Texeira  Marketing Director, CFMP 

It was a chilly Saturday evening after New Years. I was in Bedford, New Hampshire and went into HomeGoods to do some shopping. As I left the store and approached my car in the nearly empty parking lot, something didn’t look right. It was then that I realized someone had hit my car leaving a big dent in the driver’s side, rear quarter panel and bumper. After uttering a few choice words, I was grateful that it was drivable, but furious that someone would do that. IRRESPONSIBLE is the nice term for whoever hit my car.

YES…even we insurance folks have claims, too! While this wasn’t my first claim ever, it had been a long time, and certainly I’d never been involved in a hit and run. I knew looking at the damage that it was going to be over my $1,000 collision deductible. Admittedly, I was unhappy about paying that out of pocket, but knew that I’d saved plenty on my insurance premium over many years without an accident, so it was worth having the higher deductible. It was still a bummer, but at least I had collision coverage. It could have been worse.
In my job, I’m always thinking and writing about insurance issues to help educate people about coverage issues. However, it definitely increases your empathy when you’re the person who had the accident.

When imagining a car accident situation, most of us immediately assume that we can identify the other driver, but as you can see from my situation, it’s not always the case. What happens if a hit and run situation is far worse than a dent? What if you or a passenger in your car is seriously injured? What if you’re struck by a car while walking? I won’t share some of the horror stories my coworkers shared with me, but they only reinforced my decision to blog about this topic. If you’re not convinced, just search the local news and you’ll find plenty such accidents.

When you buy your auto insurance, there are specific “parts” of an auto insurance policy that are specifically designed to protect you in the event that you’re hit by an uninsured driver, underinsured driver, or hit and run driver. Unfortunately, looking at the data, there are many people out there that have no or low coverage on these parts for a variety of reasons. I simply want to encourage everyone to take a second look because without this coverage, you and your family are seriously at risk. So pull out your policy and look at what coverage you’ve purchased. The parts you should be looking at are:

  • bodily injury caused by an uninsured auto (part 3) – covers you & passengers
  • medical payments (part 6) – covers you & passengers
  • collision (part 7) – covers your car
  • bodily injury caused by an underinsured auto (part 12) – covers you & passengers

If you’re not sure you have enough protection, call your agent to discuss options. Seriously weigh the extra cost against the benefit it could provide if you are the unfortunate person caught in a major hit and run accident. Often, the cost is less than going out to dinner with a group of friends.

As for my car, it’s now fixed. Margarida, from our claims team, made the process easier by explaining the options for getting the damage looked at by an adjuster and took care of filing the paperwork with the insurance company. I've seen her do this many times for our customers, but it took on new meaning being on the receiving end of great service. For me, having someone to talk with face-to-face reduced the stress of a rotten situation. And YES, I actually increased my own coverage after my fender bender because I realized that I was one of those people, who had lower underinsured limits than what I carried for optional bodily injury. 

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