An Illinois hit-and-run is when one of the parties involved in an accident leaves the scene without exchanging information with the other driver. It is also considered a hit-and-run when a driver hits a stationary object, such as a parked car or fencepost, and leaves without informing the owner. A hit-and-run can be frightening to experience, especially if there are injuries or significant damage. The hit-and-run Illinois law is clear in stating that it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident until you have rendered aid and exchanged information.


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Hit-and-runs in Illinois

There is some indication that hit-and-runs are increasing nationally. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), deaths from hit-and-run accidents increased 26 percent between 2019 and 2020. In Illinois, laws have been put into place to deter individuals from leaving an accident prematurely.

Illinois hit-and-run laws

Illinois law regarding hit-and-run accidents requires that a driver who is involved in an accident causing bodily injury or property damage do the following:

  • Stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible.
  • Exchange their name, address, VIN and driver’s license information with any other drivers involved in the accident.
  • Exchange insurance policy information, including company name, policy number and telephone number of the company.
  • Provide assistance to any persons injured in the accident.

The penalties for a hit and run in Illinois vary depending upon the severity of injuries and circumstances of the accident.

  • Accidents with an unattended vehicle: If you don’t stop and leave your information on an unattended vehicle you hit, this is a Class A misdemeanor with penalties that could include up to a year in jail and a potential fine of up to $2,500 plus court assessments.
  • Accidents causing only property damage: If you leave the scene in this case it is also a Class A misdemeanor with the same potential penalties. If damage exceeds $1,000, your driver’s license could be suspended for one year.
  • Accidents causing injury: Fleeing the scene in this case is a Class 4 felony. The penalties include imprisonment between one to three years and fines up to $25,000. Your license may also be revoked. If you fail to report the accident to the police within 30 minutes, you graduate to a Class 2 felony. Penalties include imprisonment of 3-7 years, a fine up to $25,000 and revocation of your license.
  • Accidents causing death: If you fail to stop for an accident that results in a death, you are also guilty of a Class 4 felony. The penalties are the same as accidents causing injury but, in addition, if you do not report the accident to law enforcement, you can be found guilty of a Class 1 felony and the penalties include imprisonment from four to fifteen years, a fine up to $25,000 and the revocation of your driver’s license.

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

If you are found guilty of a hit-and-run in Illinois, you are likely to pay more than the average car insurance premium. A driver with a clean record in the state pays an average of $552 for minimum coverage and $1,806 for a full-coverage policy. Your rate increases by an average of 44 percent after an accident, to $2,608. Keep in mind that your own rate is likely to differ from the average, and could even be higher.

You may also be required to obtain an SR-22 certificate if you are in a hit-and-run accident in Illinois. This is a form that is sent by your insurer to the Illinois secretary of state indicating that you do have a car insurance policy that meets illinois’ minimum insurance requirements.

4 things to do after a hit-and-run in Illinois

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage. Never chase the fleeing driver or you could possibly get in another accident. Instead, remain calm and take the following steps:

  • Call emergency services. Your first job is to call for any needed medical assistance for yourself and your passengers. If there are serious injuries, call 911 to get an ambulance. Additionally you will want to get the police to the scene. Law enforcement will prepare a written accident report which will be critical in your efforts to recover damages.
  • Gather information and take photographs. Gather as much information about the accident as possible. Write down everything you remember about the other vehicle and driver, as well as the time, location and weather at the time of the accident. When safe to do so, take pictures of your vehicle, the accident scene and the surrounding area.
  • Determine if there are witnesses. If possible, speak to witnesses of the accident from nearby locations. At this point, it is simply important to get the contact information from these witnesses if they are willing to help.
  • Contact your car insurance company. As soon as practicable following the accident, contact your auto insurer to submit a claim. Provide your auto insurer with all of the information you have gathered and any additional information requested.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Unfortunately, you may never be able to locate the driver who fled the scene even with the assistance of law enforcement. But your insurance policy may provide coverage for a hit-and-run accident in several ways in Illinois:

  • Collision: Collision coverage is an important component of your policy because it may pay your costs to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled in the accident. You will need to pay the amount of any deductible out of your own pocket.
  • Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage: A UM policy will provide coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by you and the passengers in your vehicle in the event that you never locate the other driver or he or she is uninsured.
  • Medical payments: A medical payments policy in Illinois may pay the medical expenses for you and your passengers, up to the policy limits. This is helpful if  you cannot access the other driver’s insurance policy.

Frequently asked questions

    • There is no insurance that is specifically for hit-and-run accidents, although some common coverage types, such as collision and uninsured motorist insurance, may pay for damages from a hit-and-run accident. To find the best policy for your needs, ask for quotes from several companies to see which one gives you the lowest price. Consider starting your search with Bankrate’s picks for the best car insurance. These companies consistently excel at price, coverage options and more.
    • The average cost of car insurance in Illinois is $552 for minimum coverage and $1,806 for full coverage, which includes the state-mandated liability insurance plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Your own rate is likely to differ from the average, however, since it is based on multiple characteristics that are unique to you and your vehicle, such as your credit rating, driving history and your car’s make and model.
    • A hit-and-run may be either a misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois depending on the severity of the accident. If the accident damages property only, it is a Class A misdemeanor. If the accident causes injuries, however, it is considered a Class 4 felony. It is in this same category if a death results from the hit-and-run.
    • It depends, again, on the severity of the accident. A hit-and-run that does minor damage may remain on your record for four to five years. A more serious accident, however, is likely to stay on your record for up to seven years, especially if the accident resulted in the suspension or revocation of your license. Your insurance company will have access to this information when it determines your premium rate.