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No one wants to experience a hit-and-run, but if you’re the victim of an incident where the driver leaves the scene, it helps to know what to do. Bankrate’s team of insurance experts is here to guide you through hit-and-run laws in Alabama, explain how insurance works following a hit-and-run incident and answer questions you might have.
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 in Alabama can involve a parked car or other property.
Alabama hit-and-run laws
The Alabama Legislature has outlined what drivers are expected to do in the case of an accident. Alabama accident laws state that any driver who is in an accident where there is injury, death or damage to another vehicle must stop at the scene and provide their name, address, vehicle registration number and driver’s license information to the other party or parties. If no one is present, the driver must attempt to locate the car owner or leave said info in a conspicuous place on their vehicle.
The penalties for drivers convicted of a hit-and-run depend on the circumstances. If someone was convicted of a hit-and-run where property was damaged but no one was injured or killed, they may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. Drivers who are convicted of a hit-and-run where people are injured or killed might be charged with a class C felony.
- Class A misdemeanor penalties may include imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $6,000.
- Class C felony penalties may include imprisonment of one to 10 years and a fine of up to $15,000 (note that the prison sentence may include hard labor).
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 car insurance rates accordingly. Additionally, companies may deny you coverage based on this high-risk status, limiting your insurance options.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 the victim of a hit-and-run, insurance rates may also increase if you choose to file a claim with your insurance company 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: In the case of a hit-and-run, your car may have been parked and unattended. But if you were in it, 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 you were driving when your vehicle was hit and it is now 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: You can attempt to call the police to the accident to document the incident. However, in some circumstances, they may not respond. File a police report yourself if they do not. You will likely be asked for a description of the vehicle and driver (if any info is known), the date and time of the incident and the exact location of the hit-and-run. The more information you can provide, the better.
- Take pictures of the damage: Take pictures of your car if it is safe to do so. These can be helpful when filing a hit-and-run claim with an insurer.
- 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 pay to repair your car.
- 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 injuries 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 $2,191 per year for full coverage and $539 for minimum. This is just slightly less than the national average rate for full coverage, which is $2,542 per year for full coverage and $740 for minimum coverage. 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. Most 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.
There are penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Alabama. Penalty severity is dependent on the circumstances. If no one was injured or killed, a driver will typically be charged with a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this include up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $6,000. However, if people were injured or killed, a driver might be charged with a class C felony, which is punishable by a prison sentence of one to 10 years and a fine of up to $15,000.
Drivers who are convicted of a hit-and-run might see their insurance premiums go up because they are now classified as high-risk drivers. They might also be required to file an SR-22 form, which will also add to higher insurance costs.