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Alabama does not take hit-and-run accidents lightly. Drivers convicted of leaving the scene of an accident could face both fines and jail time. If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, this guide may help you understand how to navigate the situation and how it may impact your car insurance.
Hit-and-runs in Alabama
Alabama hit-and-run law states that a hit-and-run is an incident where a driver leaves the scene of an accident without stopping to help or provide insurance information. Another person does not necessarily have to be involved. Hit-and-runs can involve a parked car or other property.
Hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in the U.S. Alabama recorded 258 hit-and-runs that resulted in a fatality between 2006 and 2016.
Alabama hit-and-run laws
The Alabama Legislature has outlined what drivers are expected to do in the case of an accident. The Alabama hit-and-run statute states that any driver who is in an accident where there is injury, death or damage to another vehicle must stop at the scene of the accident and give their name, address, registration number and driver’s license number to the other party or parties.
Drivers convicted of a hit-and-run where people are injured or killed may be charged with a Type C felony, which could result in a one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. If no serious bodily injury or property damage occurred, the driver may instead be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. For Class A misdemeanors, drivers may be imprisoned for up to one year and have a fine of up to $6,000.
How do hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Alabama?
Hit-and-run accidents may impact insurance rates in several ways. If you’re convicted of a hit-and-run, you may be classified as a high-risk driver, and your insurance company may increase your rates accordingly. Additionally, companies may deny you coverage based on this high-risk status, limiting your insurance options. In this situation, you may also be required to file an SR-22 with the state to prove you have the required minimum auto insurance coverage to drive legally.
For a victim of a hit-and-run, insurance rates may also increase if they choose to file a claim with their insurance company for the damages, and the at-fault driver is not found.
5 things to do after a hit-and-run in Alabama
Being involved in a hit-and-run may be stressful. Understanding what steps you could take if this happens to you may help you feel more calm and confident in this situation.
- If anyone is hurt, call 911: Evaluate the health of your passengers, yourself and anyone else involved. If anyone is hurt, dial 911 immediately.
- Move your car to a safe location: You should not exit the area entirely, but if your vehicle is blocking traffic, you should find a nearby shoulder or parking lot to move to if your car is drivable. This is for your protection and the protection of other drivers.
- File a police report: If you have any information, provide it to the police. The officer will walk you through what they need, but you will most likely be asked for a description of the vehicle and driver, the date and time of the incident, as well as the exact location of the hit-and-run. The more information you can provide, the better.
- Take pictures and document the damage: If you are not injured, take pictures of your car if it is safe to do so. You may need these pictures to file a hit-and-run claim.
- Call your insurance provider: If you want to file a claim under your own insurance, you will need to contact your carrier. Your insurer will likely ask for a description of the incident as well as any photos you took and the police report pertaining to the incident.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Hit-and-run insurance is not a specific coverage type, but there are certain types of coverage that may help cover the damages.
- Collision: This coverage is designed to cover repairs to your car after collision incidents. There may be a deductible to use this coverage, though.
- Medical payments: If you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver, medical payments coverage may pay the medical costs of everyone in the car at the time of the accident, up to your policy limit per person.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: Drivers in Alabama may be able to use uninsured motorist coverage for damages caused by a hit-and-run. Keep in mind that you may need to prove that the other driver is uninsured, which could be difficult to do if they cannot be located.
Frequently asked questions
The average cost of car insurance in Alabama is $1,760 per year for full coverage and $443 for minimum. This is just slightly less than the national average rate for full coverage, which is $1,771 per year for full coverage and $545 for minimum. Keep in mind that what you pay may be more or less depending on your personal rating factors.
There is no single best car insurance company for everyone. The best car insurance company for you is likely one that offers the coverage types you need at a price you can afford. More insurance professionals recommend comparing coverage types, discounts and quotes from different companies to find the best company for your needs.
Hit-and-run classification in Alabama depends partially on whether anyone is hurt. If there is only property damage, then it is charged as a class A misdemeanor. However, if people are injured or killed due to the accident, then a hit-and-run in Alabama may be charged as a class C felony.