I only have liability car insurance on my vehicle. I was in a wreck
that wasn't my fault, but the other person didn't stay at the
scene. The police said they'll likely never find out who hit me,
and my auto insurance company says it won't pay for my car's
damages or my injuries. What can I do in this situation? Who
Unfortunately, you pay. There isn't anyone to file a claim against
or sue, and you have not bought the right auto insurance coverages.
Hit-and-run accidents like this put you in a hard spot
The liability policy that you have is good only to cover the
damages you cause others; it doesn't help you in any way to pay for
your damages. You can't make a claim against your own bodily
injury or property damage liability coverage, ever, even if the
at-fault party cannot be found.
Most all states require car owners to carry
so that the responsible party has a way to pay for the damages they
cause to others. This of course doesn't work if the at-fault
person doesn't stop. You are a victim of circumstances, but
that doesn't help you get your car fixed or medical bills paid.
What would help you is having optional auto insurance coverages
that you could file a claim under. For injuries, you'd need
personal injury protection
as part of your policy. For damages to your car, you'd need
collision coverage in order to be able to make a claim.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury benefits vary by state and by
insurer, so sometimes it will cover injuries you sustained due to a
hit-and-run accident, but typically
uninsured motorist property damage will not
If you don't have health insurance to pay for your medical
expenses, then you should check with your state's insurance
regulator or attorney general's office to see if there is a
compensation program in place that could help you out.
In many states, there are crime victim compensation programs set
up, and generally they include help for those injured by
hit-and-drivers (if you fit their eligibility requirements).
For example, Delaware has the Victim's Compensation Assistance
Program (VCAP), and New York has a program more specifically for
injuries resulting from auto accidents with its Motor Vehicle
Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).
These compensation systems, however, do not cover property
Without having collision insurance coverage on your car, you're
left to pay out of your own pocket for any needed repairs. If
the car is too damaged to be repaired, you'll, unfortunately, be
out of a car with no recourse unless the hit-and-run driver is
When turning down physical damage coverages of collision and
comprehensive as part of your car insurance policy, you are taking
the risk that you may be in an accident and end up being
responsible for the full cost of repairs or total loss of your
car. (See "Is it time to drop comp and collision?")
If you want full coverage but don't think you can afford it,
shop around first before making a final decision. Car
insurance companies vary on their rating systems and it's very
possible that you can hook up with an auto insurer that is pricing
competitively for your specific rating factors and allow you to
afford more coverage while paying less. (See "12 ways to
double-check your savings.")