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

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Accidents are scary enough on their own, but being involved in a hit-and-run is often particularly emotional. A hit-and-run accident is any crash where the driver leaves the scene of an accident before authorities are able to respond.

According to a AAA Foundation Survey of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, a hit-and-run occurs in the U.S. every 43 seconds. In 2016, 2,049 hit-and-run fatalities occurred, the highest of any year to date. With hit-and-run accidents and fatalities on the rise, it may be important to understand the impact they could have on you and your insurance.

Hit-and-runs in Massachusetts

Leaving the scene of an accident, whether you caused property damage, injury or death, is a criminal offense in Massachusetts. The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident will likely be proportional to the specific situation. If you leave the scene of an accident after causing serious injury or death, your penalties may be steep.

Massachusetts hit-and-run laws

In Massachusetts, if you are found guilty of causing a hit-and-run accident, you could face a number of serious repercussions, including:

  • Possible jail time up to two years
  • A fine up to $200
  • License suspension of six months or possibly longer

If you leave the scene of an accident that has caused injuries, the penalties are more severe, including:

  • A minimum of six months in jail, up to two years
  • A fine up to $1,000
  • License suspension for one year or more
  • Payment of the victim’s medical bills and expenses related to the accident

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

If you have a hit-and-run on your record in Massachusetts, you can expect your auto insurance premiums to double.

Although the average full coverage premium in Massachusetts is $1,223 per year, quite a bit less than the national average, the average rate rises significantly if you cause an accident and leave the scene. The table below shows how much your average annual full coverage premiums could increase if you leave the scene of an accident that you cause.

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 $2,148
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,405

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

As stressful as a being involved in a hit-and-run can be, there are a few steps that you can take after an accident that might help make things easier.

Call the police and get medical help if necessary

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, the first step is to prioritize your health and safety. If you suspect you have sustained injuries, request medical attention right away.

Calling the appropriate law enforcement authorities to the scene may also be helpful. Filing a police report with details of the accident could help you remember exactly what happened when working with your insurance company.

Take pictures of damage and surrounding environment

If you are able, take pictures of the accident as soon as it has occured. Details you are able to document may end up providing valuable information for later on. If you do not have a camera, taking notes can also be helpful.

Call your insurance carrier

Shortly after the incident occurs and if you decide to file a claim, you should contact your insurance carrier to give the details of the hit-and-run incident. Be prepared to share your photos and documents of the incident, such as a copy of the police report. Filing the claim promptly, once you are done talking with the police and medical personnel, can be helpful.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, your own insurance policy might step in to help pay for the damages to your property and your medical bills. However, you do need to have the proper coverage for your insurance policy to respond to a hit-and-run situation.

The following coverages — some of which are optional — could help cover expenses related to the accident.

  • Collision: This optional coverage pays for the repair or replacement of your vehicle if it is damaged due to an accident. There is typically a deductible associated with this coverage, which is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket for the damages.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: This coverage covers your medical expenses, and the medical expenses of any passengers in your car, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance. Your insurance company may require proof that the other driver was uninsured, such as a declination of coverage from another insurance company, before this coverage can be used.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): This coverage, which is legally required in Massachusetts, is designed to pay for medical expenses and lost wages for your and your passengers, up to your policy limit, regardless of who causes an accident.

If you are unsure how your car insurance policy would cover a hit-and-run accident, talking to your agent might be a good idea. Being prepared for a hit-and-run before it happens could be the best way to know that your finances will be protected.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company depends on what you want and need from an insurance carrier. You might value customer service ratings or financial strength, or you might be looking for a company with certain coverage and discount options. Making a list of what you are looking for and getting quotes from the companies that fit your needs might help you find the coverage you are looking for.

How much does car insurance cost?

The cost of car insurance depends on numerous individual factors, such as your age, ZIP code, driving record, the coverages that you choose, the discounts you qualify for and the type of car you drive. Your rate is unique to you, but on average drivers in the United States pay $565 annually for minimum coverage and $1,674 annually for full coverage. Drivers in Massachusetts pay, on average $510 per year for minimum coverage and $1,223 per year for full coverage.

What happens if I drive without insurance in Massachusetts?

Driving without insurance in Massachusetts is illegal. You could be facing fines, license suspension, reinstatement fees and jail time. If you cause an accident and do not have any insurance coverage, you will have to pay for the damages and injuries that you cause out of pocket. This can result in severe financial stress.

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
Sara Coleman
Insurance Contributor
Sara Coleman has three years of experience in writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, Reviews.com, Coverage.com and numerous other personal finance sites. She writes about insurance products such as auto, homeowners, renters and disability.
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Insurance Editor