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

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Getting into an accident can be scary, and when the at-fault driver flees the scene, things can be even more complicated. Hit-and-run accidents are not uncommon, which is one of the reasons why car insurance is a legal requirement in most states. If you drive in Delaware, knowing what to do after a hit-and-run collision, and how a hit-and-run might impact your car insurance premium, could be helpful.

Hit-and-runs in Delaware

A hit-and-run in Delaware is defined as an accident between two or more vehicles where the responsible driver does not stop to exchange information with the other drivers. Nationwide, the rate of hit-and-run accidents is increasing. According to the AAA Foundation, there were 737,100 hit-and-run crashes in 2015, resulting in 2,049 fatalities.

Delaware hit-and-run laws

In Delaware, drivers are legally required to pull over immediately after an accident. If anyone is injured, the at-fault driver is also required to call emergency services and render aid if possible. Additionally, the at-fault driver is required to provide their name, address and their vehicle’s registration number, and show their driver’s license to the other drivers involved.

The at-fault driver in a hit-and-run is fully liable for the other driver’s losses. If a driver hits another vehicle and flees the scene, they could receive a fine between $230 and $1,150, or they might receive jail time between 60 days and six months. In addition, their license may be automatically suspended for six months.

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

Drivers involved in hit-and-runs may see their car insurance premiums increase significantly. In Delaware, the average premium increase after a hit-and-run is much larger than the increase after a standard accident.

However, the average rate increase in Delaware is smaller than the average rate increase in the United States as a whole, both after a hit-and-run and after a standard collision.

Average annual full coverage premiums:

Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After a standard accident
Delaware average $1,775 $3,485 $2,262
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,311

3 things to do after a hit-and-run in Delaware

If you get into a hit-and-run accident in Delaware, the first thing you should do is assess the situation and make sure everyone, including yourself, is okay. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911. Then, you might want to follow these steps:

  1. Call the police: Calling the police as soon as possible ensures that you have a record of the accident, especially any details that you remember about the other driver’s vehicle.
  2. Take photos of the damage: If your vehicle sustained damage, take photos at the scene. Photo evidence might help your insurance company determine the severity of the claim and what type of repairs will need to happen. If you were injured and had medical attention, keep a record of the expenses.
  3. Notify your insurance company: If you want to file a claim for your damage using your own insurance policy (assuming the other driver has not been found to take responsibility), you will need to call your insurance carrier. An agent will walk you through the process of filing a claim and may be able to discuss what your policy will cover.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Certain types of car insurance coverage may help to cover hit-and-run accidents. If you have a full coverage insurance policy, your collision insurance could pay for your vehicle’s repairs, and personal injury protection (PIP) — which is required in Delaware — may reimburse you for any medical treatment you received, plus lost wages if injuries prevent you from working.

You may also be able to use your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage after a hit-and-run. These coverage types are optional in Delaware, but if you have them on your policy, they could be useful. You may have to prove that the other driver was uninsured or underinsured to open up these coverage types, though. Talking to your insurance company about how an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim would be handled is the best way to understand your options with these coverage types.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost in Delaware?

The average cost of car insurance in Delaware is $1,775 per year for a full coverage policy and $787 per year for a minimum coverage policy. However, every driver pays a different rate based on their personal rating factors. Some of the factors that impact car insurance rates include ZIP code, age, credit score, claim history and driving record.

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company is different for every driver, because everyone has different insurance needs. Understanding your needs and getting several quotes could help you find the right fit.

How long does a hit-and-run investigation take?

Hit-and-run accidents are usually investigated by law enforcement, but the process can take weeks or even months, especially if there is limited evidence. The amount of time an investigation takes will depend on the unique circumstances of the incident. Sometimes, hit-and-run drivers are never caught, which is why having insurance coverage of your own to fall back on can be important.

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 coverage that meets 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, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth Rivelli is a contributing insurance writer for Bankrate and has years of experience writing for insurance domains such as The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others
Edited by
Insurance Writer & Editor