A hit-and-run is serious regardless of whether you are the offender or the victim. In fact, hit-and-runs are one of the reasons insurance is mandatory in most states, including Arkansas. Bankrate’s guide may help you understand what these accidents could do to your insurance and how to react if you are involved in an accident where the other driver flees the scene.

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Hit-and-runs in Arkansas

Unfortunately, hit-and-runs are on the rise in the U.S. According to a report from the AAA Foundation, there were 143 hit-and-run incidents with at least one fatality in Arkansas from 2006 to 2016. However, not all hit-and-run accidents involve two drivers or a pedestrian. A hit-and-run can be something as simple as hitting someone’s side mirror and not leaving a note with your contact information.

Arkansas hit-and-run laws

Arkansas law requires drivers involved in an accident to stop and fulfill their duties at the scene, including exchanging contact information and relevant insurance details. If you are convicted of a hit-and-run with damage to another vehicle or personal property, you may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, but if the damage exceeds $10,000 or anyone was injured or killed, you could face a Class D felony conviction. A Class D felony conviction could result in six years in jail, license suspension and a fine of up to $10,000.

How do hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Arkansas?

Hit-and-runs can impact car insurance rates both directly and indirectly. If you have a hit-and-run conviction on your record, your insurer may view you as a higher risk and increase your premium accordingly. Some insurers may even choose to not extend coverage to drivers with a hit-and-run on their record.

Victims of hit-and-runs may see their premiums increase if they choose to file a claim on damage or injuries caused by the accident. In areas where hit-and-runs are prevalent, insurers may charge higher rates for all drivers in the area to balance the increased risk of these types of incidents.

5 things to do after a hit-and-run in Arkansas

If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run in Arkansas, you may want to follow these steps:

  1. Call 911 if anyone is hurt: If anyone is injured, call 911 for medical attention.
  2. Move your car to a safe place: If you can safely drive your car, move it to a nearby shoulder or parking lot. Moving out of the flow of traffic may prevent further accidents.
  3. File a police report: Calling the police will allow you to file a police report and potentially locate the at-fault driver. The officer will likely ask for details about the incident and anything you can remember about the other vehicle.
  4. Take pictures of any damage: At the scene of the accident, take pictures of all damage that occurred. Only do this once your car is safely removed from the flow of traffic.
  5. File a claim with your insurance provider: If you decide to file a claim on your own policy for your damages or medical expenses, you’ll need to contact your car insurance company. When you call, give the agent all information and evidence you have, which might include a police report and any pictures you took at the scene.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Arkansas hit-and-run insurance does not exist, but the following types of coverage may come into play after a hit-and-run in Arkansas.

  • Collision: Regardless of who was at fault, this coverage could pay for the repairs to your car after it is involved in a collision accident, including a hit-and-run.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: This coverage is not required in Arkansas (although your insurer must offer it to you), but it could provide some coverage in the event of a hit-and-run. Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage could help pay for your medical expenses if you are hit by an uninsured driver. Bear in mind that it may be difficult to prove that the other driver is uninsured if they are never located.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: Arkansas is one of a handful of states that offers uninsured motorist property damage coverage. The coverage is designed to pay for damage to your property, which is typically your car but can apply to other kinds of property as well. This coverage can be rejected in writing, but could be used for your vehicle damages if you are the victim of a hit-and-run. However, it may be difficult to prove that the at-fault driver is uninsured if they are not found.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Just like uninsured motorist coverage, PIP is not a required coverage but must be offered with every policy. In Arkansas, PIP has three sections: medical, lost wages and death benefits. Essentially, PIP is designed to cover your injuries, and those of your passengers, regardless of fault and up to your policy limit. This coverage can also help cover lost wages and other qualifying expenses that might result from being injured.

Frequently asked questions

    • There aren’t specific coverage types for hit-and-runs, so any deductible in these situations would be based on the type of coverage you are filing a claim on. For example, if you file a collision claim for your vehicle, you may need to pay your collision deductible, and if you use your uninsured motorist property damage coverage, the standard $200 deductible will likely apply.
    • Even for drivers with less-than-stellar driving records, the best car insurance company will vary. Every driver brings a unique set of circumstances to their search for car insurance. Most insurance professionals recommend comparing quotes for the same coverage types from several carriers to find which one could offer you the lowest rates.
    • Hit-and-run penalties in Arkansas depend on both injury and property damage. If there is severe injury, death or $10,000 or more in property damage, a hit-and-run may be charged as a felony. If people are injured or killed in the accident, all involved drivers are legally required to stay on the scene, or they may be charged with a hit-and-run. A hit-and-run is a misdemeanor if no one is injured or killed and property damage is less than $10,000.