Being involved in a car accident can be stressful. But, taking responsibility for your actions is always the best idea both legally and financially. Fleeing the scene of a car accident you caused is called a hit-and-run. Being involved in a hit-and-run in Georgia may result in jail time and increased car insurance rates, among other things.

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Hit-and-runs in Georgia

When you get in a car accident, it can be stressful, especially if you are at fault. But it’s never a good idea to leave the scene of the accident without making sure the other vehicle and its passengers are OK. Fleeing the scene of an accident like this is called a hit-and-run, and Georgia ranks fourth in the U.S. for the number of fatal hit-and-run accidents. If you leave the scene of an accident without following the appropriate procedures and laws, it can lead to serious penalties and even jail time.

Georgia hit-and-run laws

A Georgia hit-and-run is serious. Any driver 21 years old or younger leaving the scene of an accident faces a six-month license suspension for a first offense and 12-month license suspension for a second offense. Driving privileges must be suspended for any driver convicted of a hit-and-run in Georgia. If you are convicted of more than one hit-and-run within a period of five years, your driver’s license may be revoked.

If you are convicted of a hit-and-run, your penalties may be dependent on the specific scenario and your past driving history. You could face fines, license suspension and even jail time.

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

Hit-and-run claims generally increase car insurance premiums more than claims for a standard accident. Georgia car insurance rates are already higher than the national average, but being a part of a hit-and-run will likely bump your rates up higher than a standard accident would.

The Georgia average annual full coverage car insurance rate before a hit-and-run is $2,085. After a standard accident, this average rate goes up to an average of $2,906, but may go up even higher after a hit-and-run.

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

Getting into an accident can be frightening, and when the other driver flees the scene, the scenario can be even more stressful. Knowing what steps to take in advance can help you make sure you take care of everything you need to do.

  1. Check for injuries and call 911: Your first priority is to your safety and the safety of those around you. Check yourself, your passengers and anyone else involved for injuries and call the emergency services if there’s a need.
  2. Move your car: If you can, move your car to a safe spot nearby, such as a shoulder or nearby parking lot. You shouldn’t move too far from the accident scene, but getting out of the flow of traffic is the safest option.
  3. File a police report: The police can help you record details about the other driver that you remember, take witness statements and could eventually find the at-fault party.
  4. Take pictures of your car: If it is safe to do so, take photos of the damage to your vehicle and record the details of the accident. Doing this as soon as possible after the crash could help you keep a record of what happened.
  5. File an insurance claim: If you want to file a claim on your own insurance policy, you can call your company to do so. Many companies also have claims services on a mobile app or website. You may want to provide the police report number and the photos of your damage.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Hit-and-run insurance is not a standalone policy. However, there are a few different types of coverage that could help you cover hit-and-run damage if you are a victim of this scenario.

  • Collision: If you have a full coverage policy, your collision coverage may pay for your vehicle damage regardless of fault, but there could be a deductible.
  • Medical payments: This coverage is not mandatory in Georgia but it is offered. Medical payments coverage could help pay for your injuries and your passengers’ injuries up to your policy limit, regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: If the other driver is found and does not have insurance, this optional coverage could help you pay for your medical bills, too.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: Georgia is one of only a handful of states that offers this coverage, which may help pay for your vehicle damage and other property damage if you were hit by an uninsured motorist.

Keep in mind that you have to have these coverage types before the hit-and-run happens to allow your policy to respond. You won’t be able to add these coverage types retroactively to gain coverage for a hit-and-run that has already happened.

Frequently asked questions

    • It depends on what type of coverage you have and how you are handling the damage. If the other driver is found and has insurance coverage, your damage should be taken care of by their liability coverage and no deductible will apply. However, if you file a claim for your damage on your own policy, you may have a deductible depending on the coverage you use. Collision coverage generally has a deductible, for example, but medical payments coverage does not.
    • The best car insurance company will likely be different for everyone. Adding a hit-and-run claim may make it more difficult to find a favorable rate with a car insurance company, so it may be a good idea to shop around with several companies. A hit-and-run is not the only thing that will impact your car insurance rate. Car insurance companies usually consider your full driving history, your location, your vehicle type and your age when quoting you a rate.
    • If you have caused a hit-and-run, the incident may stay on your driving record for life. However, when it comes to your insurance, claims generally only surcharge for three to five years. The exact time range varies by company, but your claim shouldn’t affect your premium indefinitely.
  • Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. 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 2021 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.