Section 143a of the Illinois Insurance Code requires that all policies of automobile liability insurance include coverage in amounts specified in the Illinois Vehicle Code for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles and hit-and-run motor vehicles * * *. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 73, par. 755a.) The policy of insurance issued by the defendant, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, to the plaintiff, Stephen C. Ferega, contains an uninsured motorist clause in which the defendant agreed to pay all sums which the insured should be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle. The policy defines an uninsured motor vehicle as including a hit-and-run motor vehicle and defines the latter term as a vehicle which causes bodily injury to an insured arising out of physical contact of such vehicle with the insured or with a vehicle which the insured is occupying at the time of the accident * * *. The complaint alleged that while the plaintiff was driving at night on a two-lane highway, he attempted to avoid an oncoming vehicle in his own lane of travel, by turning his own vehicle to the right. His car struck a culvert, and he and his wife were injured. His wife later died of those injuries. The oncoming vehicle was never identified nor was its driver apprehended. Upon stipulated evidence the trial court denied recovery on the ground that there had been no physical contact with the hit-and-run motor vehicle as required by the policy. The appellate court affirmed, one judge dissenting (15 Ill. App.3d 246), and we allowed leave to appeal.