Hit-and-run accidents are a serious problem in the United States. According to statistics from the AAA Motor Club, in 2018 it was estimated that a hit-and-run incident occurred once every minute in the United States.
Accidents of any type are frightening, but being involved in one where the other driver flees the scene is particularly stressful. A hit-and-run occurs when there is a collision and one of the drivers takes off, leaving the accident scene before law enforcement personnel arrive. This risk is one of the reasons that Illinois, along with most other states, requires drivers to maintain certain minimum limits of liability insurance.
Hit-and-runs in Illinois
Although your first instinct if you cause an accident may be to flee the scene of the accident (especially if you are without insurance), this should not be the case. It is never wise to leave the scene of even a very minor accident in Illinois because the laws surrounding Illinois hit-and-runs are very strict.
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.
- 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.
- 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, 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 leave the scene of an accident in Illinois, your average annual car insurance premium will almost double. Your rates will stay slightly below the national average of premiums following a hit-and-run but this is small consolation for the steep increase. The table below shows average annual full coverage premiums before and after an at-fault hit-and-run and accident.
Additionally, you may be required to obtain an SR-22 if you are involved in a serious hit-and-run in Illinois. An SR-22 is a certificate sent by your car insurance company to the Illinois Secretary of State which verifies that you maintain an active car insurance policy that meets Illinois’ minimum liability insurance requirements.
Average annual full coverage premiums:
|Before a hit-and-run||After a hit-and-run||After a standard accident|
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 are likely to get in another accident or worse. Instead, remain calm and take the following steps:
1. Call emergency services
Your first job needs to be getting 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.
2. Gather information and take photographs
You will want to 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.
3. 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.
4. Contact your car insurance company
Of course, first attend to emergency services, but 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 will 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 certainly helpful in the event you cannot access the other driver’s insurance policy.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company?
The best car insurance company for you will depend on a number of factors, including your driving history and discounts available to you. Obtain quotes from several companies and compare to determine the best fit for you.
How much does car insurance cost in Illinois?
The average monthly car insurance premium in Illinois is $37 for minimum car insurance coverage and $124 for full coverage, or $442 and $1,485 per year, respectively. These average rates will certainly vary, depending on your driving history, age and location, so shop around.
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 coverages that meet 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.