What to do after a hit-and-run in Massachusetts

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A hit-and-run is an accident where the driver who is at fault leaves the scene of the accident without giving their insurance information to the other driver involved. It may also occur if a driver hits a pedestrian or a stationary object and leaves immediately without giving aid or telling the authorities.

According to the AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit-and-run accidents are on the rise, with one happening in the U.S. every 43 seconds. Even though you might not be at fault in a hit-and-run, it can impact your hit-and-run Massachusetts insurance, so it pays for you to have solid insurance coverage to protect yourself.

Hit-and-runs in Massachusetts

Hit-and-run law in Massachusetts says that if a driver is aware that they have hit someone or something, causing injury or damage, and does not stop to give the other driver their information, they are guilty of a hit-and-run. If they initially stopped, but refused to leave the other person involved with their name, address and VIN number, or if they gave false information, it is still considered a hit-and-run.

This also holds true if they hit an object, such as a mailbox or fence. They are required to inform the homeowner of what has happened, and leave their information with the homeowners.

In 2015-2017, the most recent years for which there are records, Massachusetts averaged 8,175 hit-and-run accidents each year. There are serious consequences for drivers who leave the scene of an accident without identifying themselves and giving aid if they are able.

Massachusetts hit-and-run laws

Hit-and-run Massachusetts statutes are clear: if you’re involved in a crash, even if it’s just a fender-bender, you must stop, assess damages and identify yourself, according to the Massachusetts official driver’s manual. If you leave a crash, even if you are not at fault, you could be criminally charged with a violation for leaving the scene of an accident. You would also face the following penalties.

  • Up to $200 or up to two year’s imprisonment, or both, if the crash caused damage to another vehicle or property.
  • Up to $1,000 and up to two year’s imprisonment if the crash caused personal injury to any person that does not result in death.
  • Up to $5,000 and 2.5 years in jail, or up to ten years in state prison, if the crash caused personal injury that resulted in death.

You may also be subject to up to six years of insurance surcharges and your driver’s license could be suspended. Finally, if you hit and injure or kill a cat or dog and fail to notify the animal’s owner or the local police, you can also be fined.

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

There are more penalties you will face in addition to what is stated in Massachusetts hit-and-run law. If you are involved in a hit-and-run in Massachusetts, you will most likely see an increase in your insurance rates. It’s true that accidents can happen to anyone, and a seemingly tiny miscalculation can leave you the cause of a major accident – but you only compound the error if you leave the scene.

In the table below, note the difference in average premium cost between a standard accident — where you stop your car and remain on site — and a hit-and-run. With the latter, your rate more than doubles. Although the Massachusetts increase is less than the increase on a national level, it is still significant. If you stay at the site of the accident, your increase is less than $800, even if you are found to be at fault.

The table below shows average annual full coverage premiums before and after an at-fault hit-and-run and accident.

Average annual full coverage premiums:

Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After a standard accident
Massachusetts average $1,223 $2,493 $2,022
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,405

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

Following a hit-and-run, what to do in Massachusetts? If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, there are several steps you should take immediately, while still on site.

  1. Check for injuries. If you or anyone else involved is injured, your first call should be to 911, so that medical personnel can assist as quickly as possible.
  2. Move your car out of traffic if possible. This is especially true if you are on a busy highway or street. Be careful if you get out of your car that you are not placing yourself at risk of being hit by another car.
  3. Call the police. Even if there are no injuries, call the police and ask them to come so you can have a report filed. This is vital for insurance purposes.
  4. Gather information. Once you are safe and the police are on the way, take some photos, if you can do so safely, of your car and the site. If there are any eyewitnesses, ask them what they saw, and write down any identifying characteristics of the car that left the scene. Ask them to stay with you until the police arrive, so they can add their information to the official report.
  5. Contact your insurance company. Don’t delay on this. You want to open a file for your case as quickly as possible. You may be able to do this on your company’s website — if not, call your insurer, with as much information as you have on hand.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

There are several types of Massachusetts hit-and-run insurance. Any of these may come into play if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

  • Collision: This coverage (unlike property damage liability, which covers the other car) covers damage to your own car. You will have a deductible to pay before it kicks in, which you will have set when you purchased your policy. If the other driver is located, they may be required to pay this deductible.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: This optional insurance covers injuries that you and your passengers face following an accident if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. But your insurer may require proof that the other driver wasn’t insured, which may or may not be possible following a hit-and-run.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: Again, this insurance may help with damage to your car or other property, but there may be restrictions on its use depending on your insurer.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Since Massachusetts is a no-fault state, you are required to carry PIP, which pays for medical payments, wages and more, no matter who is at fault in the accident.

Other than PIP, these coverages are all optional. Since they may save you considerable money in the event of a hit and run in Massachusetts, they may be worth considering if you are able to afford them. Each of them gives you additional protection that you would not get with minimum coverage.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost?

That depends on numerous factors, from where you live and what kind of car you drive, to your age and marital status. The average insurance premium in Massachusetts is $1,223 per year for full coverage, which includes collision and comprehensive along with the required liability and PIP insurance.

Who has the best Massachusetts hit-and-run insurance?

Any insurer can provide you with insurance that will give you coverage after a hit-and-run. To find the best car insurance in Massachusetts, call several companies to see who offers you the best rate.

Is there a hit-and-run deductible?

You may have to pay a hit-and-run deductible if you use your collision coverage to pay for damage to your car, and if the authorities are unable to locate the other driver. This deductible is an amount you will have chosen when you purchased your policy.

Methodology

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.

Written by
Mary Van Keuren
Insurance Contributor
Mary Van Keuren has written for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, Coverage.com and Thesimpledollar.com for the past five years, specializing in home and auto insurance. She has also written extensively for consumer websites including reviews.com and myslumberyard.com. Prior to that, she worked as a writer in academia for several decades.
Edited by
Insurance Editor