What to do after a hit-and-run in Arizona

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Hit-and-runs in Arizona are an unfortunate reality. In April 2021, three deadly hit-and-runs occurred within four hours in Phoenix on Easter Sunday alone. While many of the deadlier cases are usually caused by drunk drivers, some people may not even realize they are charged with one until the police knock on their door. That is because hit-and-runs do not necessarily involve hitting a pedestrian. Colliding with a parked vehicle and leaving, even if it only causes minor damage — to a side view mirror, for example — could be considered a hit-and-run in Arizona.

Hit-and-runs in Arizona

There were over 15,000 hit-and-runs in Arizona in 2019. Most cases — 12,271 of reported hit-and-runs — only caused property damage. However, even an accident that only involves property damage is serious. Arizona hit-and-run law forbids leaving the scene of the crime without providing help or leaving your contact information if no one was present.

It may be tempting to skip out on paying for the repairs of a smashed side view mirror by leaving, but with the number of security cameras available, it’s possible the incident may still be captured and reported as a hit-and-run to the police.

Arizona hit-and-run laws

The Arizona hit-and-run statute does not excuse drivers that did not realize that leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. To drive the point home, former Governor Doug Ducey proclaimed October as Arizona hit-and-run Awareness Month. His goal was to “[call] upon Arizonans to acknowledge the severe impact that hit-and-run drivers create in the lives of those involved in these types of accidents.”

Leaving the scene of an accident could be a felony if serious injury is involved. Joey’s Law, formally known as Senate Bill 1163, was passed in Arizona in 2012 and made a hit-and-run that leads to a serious injury or death punishable with a five-to-10-year driver’s license suspension. Besides the civil and criminal impact, your vehicle insurance could skyrocket or get cancelled, even for a non-injury hit-and-run.

How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Arizona

Leaving the scene of an accident can be considered reckless. If someone is injured, who will call for help if the other involved driver leaves? An injury that is serious enough could lead to death if medical help does not arrive in time. Because of the increased risk of harm, Arizona (and vehicle insurance carriers) take the offense seriously.

Arizona full coverage rates increase just slightly less on average compared to the national average annual premium increase after a hit-and-run. However, at a difference of more than $1,700 per year for a full coverage policy between a clean driving record and one with a hit-and-run, the increased cost is far from insignificant in Arizona. Drivers will also find that insurance coverage after a hit-and-run is even more expensive than after an at-fault accident, on average.

Average annual full coverage premiums:

Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After an at-fault accident
Arizona average $1,547 $3,263 $2,228
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,311

6 things to do after a hit-and-run in Arizona

Causing an accident can be a frightening experience. Insurance coverage is there to protect you financially through the process. If you cause an accident or strike public or private property, there are six steps you may take to avoid more severe consequences.

  1. Stop: The first and most vital step if you are involved in a collision is to stop. Leaving the scene is against the law, as you will not be able to know the outcome of a collision if you drive away. If you have left the accident, returning is a typically less serious offense.
  2. Call for help: Call emergency services if anyone is hurt. If you think the damages are $1,000 or greater, call the police, who are required to file an in-person report at that damage level. While you wait, attend to anyone who is injured, without moving them until medical services arrive.
  3. Move safely out of the way: If possible, move your vehicle out of the way so others may pass while you wait for assistance.
  4. Document the event: Take photos of the accident to submit to your insurance company later. If no individuals were involved in the accident and you damaged someone’s property, leave a note explaining what happened with your contact and insurance information.
  5. File a police report: If the accident was less than $1,000 in damages, you may file a police report later online or over the phone.
  6. Contact your insurance company: Inform your insurance company right away of the incident. Submit your documentation, such as the police report, witness statements and photos of the scene.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

If a driver injures another party or causes damage to others’ property, their insurance will usually cover the hit-and-run through liability insurance. However, liability insurance does not reimburse costs for repairs to the at-fault driver’s vehicle. Collision coverage, which is optional, could be purchased to pay for personal damages.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run where the driver flees and is never identified or caught, uninsured/underinsured coverage through your vehicle policy could help pay for your losses and expenses.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost?

Bankrate’s findings show that the average cost of car insurance is $565 per year for minimum coverage and $1,674 per year for full coverage car insurance, as gathered through Quadrant Information Services. However, each driver will pay a different rate based on their driving record, location and vehicle type.

How much does my car insurance go up after a hit-and-run?

In the state of Arizona, your car insurance bill may double if you are charged with a hit-and-run accident. The average cost of car insurance after a hit-and-run in Arizona is $3,263 per year.

Do I have to pay a deductible after a hit-and-run accident?

If you were at fault in a hit-and-run accident, you will likely have to pay a deductible for any claims filed. However, if you were the victim or used your uninsured motorist insurance to pay for your expenses, your car insurance carrier may waive the deductible.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident and a hit-and-run.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.
Edited by
Insurance Editor