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While a car accident is never ideal, a minor crash can become a major headache if the at-fault driver doesn’t stop. Being involved in a hit-and-run accident in Louisiana could be a significant financial burden, whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator. If you’re a driver in Louisiana, here’s how you can prepare for a hit-and-run accident and make sure your car insurance financially protects you.
Hit-and-runs in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a hit-and-run accident is defined as a collision where the driver responsible for an accident or involved in an accident, does not stop to exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver. Hit-and-run crashes are not uncommon in Louisiana. In 2019, there were 17,860 hit-and-run crashes in Louisiana that resulted in property damage, 4,176 crashes that involved injuries and 36 crashes that resulted in at least one fatality.
Louisiana hit-and-run laws
Louisiana hit-and-run laws state that the at-fault driver is fully liable in a hit-and-run collision. The consequences for causing a hit-and-run in Louisiana can be severe.
The driver responsible in a hit-and-run that results in property damage only will be fined a maximum of $500. They can also face up to six months in jail. If there are injuries or fatalities, the driver will be fined a maximum of $5,000, and may face jail time for up to 10 years with or without hard labor.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Louisiana
Drivers who cause a hit-and-run accident in Louisiana and get caught will be subject to a higher insurance premium for years to come. They might also be required by the DMV to have an insurance company file an SR-22 on their behalf, which is confirmation that they currently have an active car insurance policy. With Louisiana being one of the most expensive states for car insurance, regardless of driving record, being involved in a hit-and-run will be costly. Even after causing an accident and staying at the scene, the average cost of car insurance in Louisiana for full coverage car insurance rises from $2,864 to $3,942.
Louisiana is one of the most expensive states for car insurance, regardless of driving record. The United States national average car insurance premium of $1,771 for full coverage is more than $1,000 less than the average rate in Louisiana.
4 things to do after a hit-and-run in Louisiana
If you get into a hit-and-run accident, the first thing you should do is pull over safely, even if the other driver does not stop. Assess the situation and make sure that you and your passengers are not harmed. If anyone in the car needs medical aid, call 911. If there are no injuries, here is what you should do:
- Call the police: Even if your car does not sustain major damage, you should call the police immediately after a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in Louisiana, and police will investigate it as a crime. The officer will ask you to recall any information you can about the vehicle and driver that hit you. They will also write a police report which you can share with your insurance company.
- Take photos of vehicle damage: Before leaving the scene, take some photos of your vehicle’s damage. These will be helpful when you go to file an insurance claim. If you or any of your passengers needed medical aid, keep a record of the treatment received.
- Speak with bystanders: If there was anyone at the scene or can share footage of the accident, this could be useful towards catching the hit-and-run driver.
- File an insurance claim: Contact your insurance company and notify them of the hit-and-run. An agent will walk you through the claim process, and explain what your policy will cover. Make sure to have the police report and photos of the damage ready to go to expedite the process.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Depending on what coverage you have on your car insurance policy, you could have some protection against a hit-and-run in Louisiana. But if you have a minimum coverage policy with only liability coverage, it will not cover a hit-and-run. Louisiana does not require drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but if you do have this optional coverage, you could have some coverage against a hit-and-run for bodily injuries only.
However, if you have a full coverage car insurance policy, you will have some coverage in the event of a hit-and-run for both injuries and car damage. Medical payments coverage will pay for your medical expenses, as well as treatment for your passengers. Collision and comprehensive insurance will pay for your vehicle’s damages, but you’ll likely need to pay your deductible before your car insurance covers the rest. This likely will not be recoverable unless the hit-and-run driver is found and they have an active car insurance policy. Keep in mind that filing any claim on your car insurance is likely to raise your rates, so even if you were not at fault, you could see some longer-term financial consequences.
Frequently asked questions
Car insurance in Louisiana tends to be expensive. Based on our sample rate quotes from Quadrant Information Services, the average cost of car insurance in Louisiana is $2,864 per year for full coverage and $807 per year for minimum coverage. However, keep in mind that every driver pays a slightly different rate based on factors like age, credit score, claim history and driving record.
The best car insurance company varies based on a few factors. For example, the best car insurance company for customer service may not be the best provider for cheap coverage. To find the best provider for you, shop around and compare insurers using your personal criteria, then get quotes to see which one could offer you the lowest rate.
Every driver in Louisiana is required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. The minimum requirement is 15/30/25 personal liability insurance, which includes $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident.