A hit-and-run accident in Iowa could be dangerous, expensive and time-consuming. Unfortunately, hit-and-runs are on the rise in the U.S., and if the perpetrator is not found, the victim will likely bear the financial burden of any vehicle repair or medical expenses. By planning ahead and assessing your car insurance policy, you may be able to better prepare yourself to navigate a hit-and-run.


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Hit-and-runs in Iowa

Hit-and-runs in Iowa are defined by an at-fault driver leaving the scene of an accident that involved property damage or bodily injury without providing their personal information or calling for necessary emergency services. While hit-and-runs in Iowa are more common than in many states, exact numbers are hard to come by. In 2015 and 2016, there were 30 fatal hit-and-runs in Iowa.

The more severe the injuries from an Iowa hit-and-run, the greater the penalties will be. The state’s hit-and-run statutes primary focus is on bodily injury rather than property damage. The more severe the injuries caused, the greater the consequences may be.

Iowa hit-and-run laws

Iowa hit-and-run laws state that the more injuries and damage caused by the accident, the worse the crime of fleeing the scene. If the hit-and-run only involves property damage, the perpetrator may be charged with a simple misdemeanor. A hit-and-run that involves serious injury or death could be charged as a serious misdemeanor or felony. The at-fault driver is liable for costs accrued either through property damage or personal injury. Committing a hit-and-run while uninsured can add further layers of penalties and costs.

Beyond the criminal penalties of a hit-and-run, insurance consequences may also be severe. The DMV may require the driver to obtain an SR-22 filing from a car insurance company, which states that they have an active car insurance policy that meets the state’s minimum car insurance requirements.

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

Depending on the circumstances, being involved in a hit-and-run may increase the cost of car insurance for either driver. Some carriers may refuse to extend coverage to drivers convicted of a hit-and-run. Those that do will likely charge higher premiums to compensate for this risk. On average, insurance premiums in Iowa can nearly double after being convicted of high-risk driving behavior.

Even after the victim of a hit-and-run is deemed not at fault, they may see their insurance rates rise at policy renewal if they choose to file a claim with their own insurance company for the damages resulting from the incident.

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

After being the victim of a hit-and-run in Iowa, there are a few steps that may help you manage the situation more smoothly.

  1. Assess for safety and check for injuries. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If there are injuries, you may want to contact emergency services for an ambulance.
  2. Report to the police. Once safety is assured, contact the police to report the incident. They will want some basic information about the incident, you and your vehicle.
  3. Move your vehicle to a safer location. If your car can be safely driven, move it to a shoulder or nearby parking lot to remove yourself from the flow of traffic and prevent further accidents.
  4. Detail and document the scene. If it is safe to do so, document the scene with photos and notes. Evidence may be helpful for both the police and the insurance company.
  5. Contact your auto insurance agent. If you intend to file a claim, you may promptly contact your insurance company and provide them with the details you gathered in the previous step. They may also want the identification number from the report you filed with the police.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Specific hit-and-run insurance does not exist, but there are some types of insurance that may offer coverage in the event of a hit-and-run. While your basic liability (minimum coverage) insurance will not cover damage to your own vehicle, collision, uninsured motorists and medical payments are all types of auto insurance that might help you if you’re the victim of an Iowa hit-and-run, depending on the insurance company and your specific policy terms.

  • Collision coverage: As the name implies, collision insurance is designed to cover damage that your vehicle sustains from collisions, regardless of fault. Unlike minimum coverage, this insurance pays out towards your own car. Even if you are at fault for an accident or the victim of a hit-and-run, collision coverage may cover your repairs up to your policy limits.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: In essence, uninsured motorist coverage is a fill-in for basic liability if another driver, who is uninsured, is at fault for an auto accident that injures you or damages your property. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run, these policies may help with the costs, but you might have to prove that the other driver was uninsured, which can be difficult if they are not located.
  • Medical payments coverage: While it’s important to protect your vehicle, safeguarding your health is even more critical. Medical payments coverage could help pay for medical bills for you and your passengers that result from an auto accident, regardless of fault.

Iowa law only requires drivers to carry bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. Carriers are required to offer you uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage, but you may deny these in writing. As minimum coverage car insurance is fairly basic in Iowa, you may want to explore full coverage options for enhanced financial protection if you’re concerned about hit-and-runs.

Frequently asked questions

    • Iowa car insurance rates can vary significantly between customers and companies. The average annual cost of a full coverage car insurance policy in Iowa is $1,254. The average yearly cost for minimum coverage in Iowa is $227. For comparison, the U.S. annual averages for full and minimum coverage are $1,771 and $545, respectively.
    • By leaving the scene of an accident in Iowa without sharing personal information or contacting emergency services, a hit-and-run driver could be convicted of a simple or serious misdemeanor, depending on the severity of damages and injuries. If a victim dies due to the accident, the at-fault driver who flees the scene could be charged with a class C felony.
    • With policies and rates being as personalized as they are, it can be tricky to pinpoint just one company as the best for car insurance. Experts recommend shopping around between multiple companies to compare quotes and coverages. Consider starting with the Bankrate guide to the best Iowa car insurance companies.