Wallingford, CT, March 22, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Even though the total number of non-fatal crashes declined steadily from 6.3 million to 5.9 million from 2003 to 2006, the tally of hit-and-run accidents remained unchanged, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During that four-year period, one of every 8 accidents nationwide was a hit-and-run.
“Many drivers are unprepared for the consequences of becoming the victim of a hit-and-run crash in which the other driver cannot be identified,” said Paulette Hotton, President of Better Business Bureau Connecticut.
Not being able to identify the other driver is the same as being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a non-profit consumer education organization, drivers can protect themselves from the financial consequences of a hit-and-run accident. Uninsured motorist coverage can easily be added to an auto insurance policy.
Though required in Connecticut, uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for injury and damages caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver, is not obligatory in every state.
Therefore, some insured drivers on the roads may not be covered.
Moreover, some auto insurance companies do not automatically cover the cost of a temporary replacement rental car while the damaged vehicle is being repaired, even if it was caused by a hit-and-run driver. Most cars are in a repair shop for two weeks after an accident. Considering that the average daily rate for a rental car is $50, it can end up costing more for a one-day rental car than for one full-year of replacement rental car coverage, which is only a couple of dollars a month.
According to the data from the NHTSA, 80 percent of hit-and-run accidents cause vehicle damage only, therefore, the victim’s largest expenses usually are for repairs and a replacement rental car.
To help insured drivers become better prepared for any type of motor vehicle accident, a web site has been developed at www.wiserdrivers.com with information from the Insurance Information Institute and Better Business Bureaus, both non-profit organizations. In addition to tips, the Web site encourages drivers to review their auto insurance policy annually to make sure they have adequate coverage for various types of crashes – those that are their fault, those that are not their fault, and hit-and-run.
“Many of us think that we’re well prepared to deal with an accident, but people often don’t take the time to read and understand their policy,” says Carolyn Gorman, Vice President of the Insurance Information Institute. Most policies are very specific and provide detailed explanations about what is automatically included and what additional low cost options are available.”
For more details, go to http://www.iii.org/individuals/auto/a/basic/
Connecticut Better Business Bureau agrees. “Comparison shopping for price is important, but even more importantly, consumers need to ensure they have appropriate coverage, because a few dollars saved in the short run can cost consumers a small fortune in the end,” said Hotton.