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A hit and-run is serious business, and Connecticut takes a hard line on leaving the scene of an accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-runs are still increasingly common across the U.S. Knowing how to respond to one of these accidents could help you feel prepared if you are involved in one.
Hit-and-runs in Connecticut
A hit and run is when a driver fails to stop and provide insurance information after an accident. Nationally, approximately 11 percent of all car accidents are hit-and-runs. Between 2006 and 2016, Connecticut recorded 148 hit-and-runs that resulted in at least one fatality. Even when a fatality does not occur, Connecticut has strict penalties for those who are convicted of a hit-and-run.
Connecticut hit-and-run laws
Connecticut law makes it illegal to drive off from the scene of an accident without exchanging contact information and insurance details. Depending on the accident, the driver may be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony under Connecticut hit-and-run laws.
Drivers convicted of a hit-and-run where only property damage occurs may face a fine of up to $600 (or $1,000 for a subsequent offense) and up to one year in prison. If you’re convicted of a hit-and-run incident where death or serious injury occurs, you could face a fine of up to $20,000 and 20 years in prison.
How do hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Connecticut?
If you have a hit-and-run conviction on your record, you will likely see your insurance premiums increase and may even be classified as a high-risk driver. In some cases, insurance companies may choose to non-renew policies for drivers convicted of a hit-and-run. Additionally, if you are the at-fault driver in a hit-and-run in Connecticut, a judge may order you to file an SR-22 with the state. This form will prove to the state that you are carrying an insurance policy that meets or exceeds the state minimum limits.
Unfortunately, even if you are not the at-fault driver, you may see your insurance premiums increase if you choose to file a claim with your insurance company for the damages.
5 things to do after a hit-and-run in Connecticut
Being the victim of a hit-and-run can be stressful, so knowing how to respond before the incident happens may help you feel more in control. Below are five steps you could consider taking if you’ve been involved in a Connecticut hit-and-run.
- If anyone is hurt, call 911: The first thing you should do after a hit-and-run is make sure everyone is safe and injury-free. If need be, call 911 for medical attention.
- Move your car out of harm’s way: If your vehicle is drivable, move to the shoulder or a nearby parking lot so you are out of the flow of traffic. This may help prevent further accidents.
- File a police report: If you’ve already called for medical assistance, the police may also be on their way. However, even if there are no injuries, calling the police and filing a report may help law enforcement track down the at-fault party.
- Take pictures: When you and your car are safely removed from traffic, take pictures of any damage your car sustained from the accident. Photos can be helpful during an insurance claim.
- File a claim with your auto insurance provider: If you want to file a claim on your own insurance for the damage or medical expenses caused in the hit-and-run, you’ll need to contact your insurance company. Your insurer may ask for any evidence you have as well as the police report from the incident.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
While actual hit-and-run insurance does not exist, there are types of coverage that may help you in the event of a hit-and-run.
- Collision: Collision coverage is part of a full coverage policy and is designed to pay for damages to your car, regardless of fault.
- Medical payments: This optional coverage may pay for the medical costs of you and your passengers, up to your policy limit, regardless of fault.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist: These coverage types are required in Connecticut and may help pay for your medical bills if the other driver was found and does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance for your damages.
If you are unsure about the coverage you have, or about what types of coverage options your insurance provider offers, it may be helpful to speak with an agent.
Frequently asked questions
Connecticut hit-and-run laws differentiate between property damage and injuries to people. If death or serious injury results from the accident, it may be classified as a felony. However, if no one is harmed or injuries are slight, it is typically treated as a misdemeanor. Unlike some states, Connecticut does not specify an amount of property damage that could classify the incident as a felony.
In general, filing any claim may raise your insurance rates. However, you aren’t likely to be penalized explicitly for having been the victim of a hit-and-run. Whether or not filing on a hit-and-run will impact your personal rates will depend on your insurer, policy and the state.
Hit-and-run insurance is not a separate policy, so there is no specific “hit-and-run deductible.” However, individual policy coverage types may have deductibles. If you file a claim for damage to your car under your collision coverage, for example, you may have a deductible. Reviewing your policy with your agent is one of the best ways to understand your coverage.