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Deaths resulting from hit-and-run accidents rose 26 percent from 2019 to 2020, according to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report. An accident is considered a hit-and-run when one driver leaves the scene of an accident without stopping. Even when there are only minor injuries, this sudden and potentially frightening situation can leave the drivers and passengers at the scene wondering what to do. To help you feel prepared, Bankrate has compiled a guide showing you what steps to take after a hit-and-run occurs and what car insurance coverage may want to have on your policy.
What to do if you were involved in a hit-and-run
Hit-and-run accidents can be stressful, even if the damage is minimal. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run, knowing how to react and what steps to take could make the process less stressful.
Get medical attention
After a hit-and-run, as with any accident, you should immediately evaluate your need for medical attention. If you feel that you are injured from the car accident, calling for medical attention or going to an emergency room should be your first priority.
Call the police
Consider filing a police report for the damage to your vehicle, even if it was hit while parked. If any witnesses have a description of the fleeing vehicle or its license plate number, that information could help to find the at-fault party. Even if the at-fault party is not found, having a police report that details your experience will be beneficial to processing your insurance claim.
Get as much evidence as possible
Take photos of your car or the property that was damaged as soon as you have called the police. In the aftermath of an accident, it can often be easy to forget details. Having photos or written evidence may be helpful when you need to provide as much information as possible to the police or your insurance company.
Call your auto insurance company
If you decide to file a claim on your auto insurance policy, you will need to call your carrier, or file the claim online or through an app. Provide the carrier with your photos and notes, the police report number or an actual copy of the police report, if you have it. Calling to file a claim as soon as possible after an accident can be beneficial; some insurance companies and states have regulations surrounding how long after an accident you can file a claim.
Car insurance coverage options for hit-and-run accidents
Depending on the coverage you carry on your auto insurance policy, you may have coverage for the damage to your own vehicle caused by hit-and-run accidents. While “hit-and-run insurance” is not its own policy type, there are several coverage types that could cover the expenses associated with this type of accident.
- Collision: This coverage pays for your vehicle repairs if the damage is caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. This is true whether you are at fault or if someone hits you and drives away. Collision coverage typically comes with a deductible. This is the amount of the claim you must pay out of pocket.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: This cover pays for your medical expenses if you are hit by someone without insurance. Some carriers may allow this coverage to be used for hit-and-run accidents. However, some states and some carriers may require that there be proof that the other driver was uninsured, such as a declination of coverage from another carrier, before this coverage can be used.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: This option, which is only available in a handful of states, pays for damage to your vehicle caused by someone without insurance, and may possibly be used for a hit-and-run accident. Just like with uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, this option may require proof that the at-fault driver is uninsured.
- Medical payments coverage: This coverage pays for your medical bills and your passenger’s medical bills, no matter who is at-fault. It is not available in all states.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): This coverage is similar to medical payments coverage and helps pay for medical expenses for both you and your passengers, no matter who is at fault for an accident. PIP is also not available in all states, but if you live in a no-fault insurance state, this coverage is mandatory.
Understanding your current policy and how it covers a hit-and-run situation could be beneficial. Hopefully you will never be the victim of a hit-and-run, but if you are, having the knowledge about how your insurance policy might protect you could help make the recovery process easier.
How a hit-and-run affects your car insurance rate
Usually, hit-and-run accidents are not surchargeable on your insurance policy since you were the victim and therefore are not at fault for the damages. However, you may still experience an increase in your premium in some cases. Depending on your insurance provider and state, you could lose an accident-free discount or your rating classification could change if you have a few not at fault accidents in your driving history. These increases can range from slight to very noticeable, but both should be much lower than if your policy was surcharged for an at-fault accident.
If you cause a hit-and-run and are found, you may choose to file a claim with your insurance so that you don’t have to pay the damages out of pocket. In that case, you’ll likely see a large increase in your rates, on top of any moving violations and legal fees you are charged for fleeing the scene. Additionally, you run the risk of facing potential criminal charges.
The table below shows the average increase in full coverage premiums after an at-fault accident for several different carriers. For comparison, the average cost of full coverage auto insurance in the United States is $2,014 per year.
|Company||Average annual full coverage premium with a clean driving record||Average annual full coverage premium with one at-fault accident|
How much your rates increase depends on a number of factors. Your coverage choices, the state you live in, the type of car you drive and your insurance carrier’s underwriting rules all influence the potential premium increase on a policy after a hit-and-run.
How to save on car insurance after a hit-and-run
Although you may have an increase in your car insurance premium after a hit-and-run, there are ways that you could potentially lower your rates:
- Shop other carriers: One of the best ways to save on your car insurance is to comparison shop your policy with multiple insurance companies. Rates vary between different insurance carriers, so you may find the same coverage for a lower price.
- Utilize discounts: Most insurance companies provide discount opportunities to policyholders. If you have another insurance policy, like a homeowners or renters insurance policy, you may qualify for a bundling discount if you insure it with the same carrier. Other common car insurance discounts include paid-in-full, vehicle safety features and paperless billing.
- Maintain a clean driving record: Avoiding at-fault accidents and traffic violations can help to keep your insurance costs from increasing due to surcharges. If you have already seen an increase on your policy due to a hit-and-run, keeping your record clean could help you to avoid further increases.
Although hit-and-runs are stressful and could increase your auto insurance premiums, understanding how your insurance policy covers these situations can help you to find opportunities to save. If you have questions about the type of coverage you have or if you would be covered should you be the victim of a hit-and-run, talking to your agent or a representative from your insurance company could help you to understand your policy.
Frequently asked questions
The best auto insurance company is different for everyone depending on their coverage needs and budget. Whether you are a victim of a hit-and-run or guilty of one, you may want to look for an insurance company with high claim and customer service reviews, plentiful discounts, and the coverage you require. Drivers found guilty of hit-and-runs may have difficulty finding an insurance policy with standard carriers—getting quotes from companies specializing in high-risk drivers or offering SR-22s may give them more options.
The amount of car insurance you need depends on many factors, such as your financial situation, the state’s insurance requirements and the coverage mandated by your bank if you finance your car. Many states consider hit-and-run driving a severe violation. Drivers who need SR-22s to reinstate their drivers licenses may need liability limits higher than the required state minimum limits. To minimize the chances of paying out of pocket for a potential hit-and-run, consider adding collision, uninsured motorist liability, or uninsured motorist property damage coverage to your policy. Talk to your agent for help narrowing down the right coverage for your situation.
Factors such as the state you live in, as well as your vehicle type, driving record, claims history and the coverage types you choose are all used to calculate your premium. While rates vary from person to person, the average annual premium for minimum coverage is $545 and for full coverage is $1,771. Premiums for auto insurance are based on a number of personal factors, which means that your actual quoted rates will likely vary from the average premiums.
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.
Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident