If you are involved in a hit-and-run in Michigan, you know it can be a frightening situation. An accident is considered a hit-and-run if one of the drivers involved leaves the scene without exchanging information or providing assistance to the other driver. It may also be considered a hit-and-run if the driver does not report the accident to the police or other authorities. Michigan hit-and-run laws include severe penalties for those involved in these accidents. Bankrate took a careful look at hit-and-run laws in the Great Lakes State to help you know what to do if you are involved in one.

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Hit-and-runs in Michigan

Under Michigan law, drivers are required to stop at the scene of an accident. However, as of 2022, 19.6 percent of Michigan drivers were uninsured — the fifth-highest rate in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute. And drivers without insurance could be more likely to leave the scene of an accident.

That said, it is probably in your best interest as an insured driver to protect yourself. Purchasing uninsured motorist coverage, which is an optional coverage type in Michigan, may add an extra layer of financial protection in the event you are the victim of a hit-and-run.

Michigan hit-and-run laws

If you are involved in a hit-and-run, whether you are at fault or not, leaving the scene can result in being charged with a misdemeanor — or worse. Potential penalties vary depending on the severity of the accident.

  • If you leave the scene of an accident where there is property damage: You could face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $100 or both.
  • If you leave the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death: You may face felony criminal charges with prison time of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
  • If you leave the scene of an accident where you caused the death of another party: You may face felony criminal charges punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 or both.

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

Any accident where you are at fault is likely to result in an increase to your car insurance premium, as insurers will view you as a higher risk to insure. But if you are responsible for a hit-and-run and you’re caught, you can expect your insurance rates to increase even more since you may face charges and have points put on your record.

On average, Michigan drivers pay $3,375 per year for full coverage car insurance — 33 percent more than the national average of $2,545 per year. After causing a standard at-fault accident, such as rear-ending another car, drivers can expect to pay an average of $4,051. A hit-and-run accident would probably mean paying even more.

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

In addition to stopping, drivers must take certain steps following any accident to stay in compliance with Michigan hit-and-run laws. These include giving personal and vehicle information to the person or occupants involved in the accident, rendering aid to anyone injured and arranging or providing transportation for injured parties.

If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, experts also recommend that you:

  1. Get medical help if needed. If anyone is injured, even if the injury seems minor, your first responsibility is to contact 911 quickly so they can be stabilized and moved to a hospital or care center.
  2. Get to safety. If you can do so without difficulty, move your vehicle off the road to a safe location out of the flow of traffic. Be very careful opening your door or getting out of your car if there is traffic moving around you.
  3. Call the police. This is a good idea even if there is minimal damage. An official police record can help your insurance company to determine what happened in the accident. The police are likely to question you—anything that you can remember about the other car will be helpful.
  4. Record the damage. If your vehicle is damaged, and you are in a safe location to do so, take photos with your cell phone of the car’s damage, along with the site of the accident. It’s also a good idea to have a file of all paperwork involved with any medical care you received. This can help your insurance company resolve your claim quickly and efficiently.
  5. Contact your insurer. If the damage is very minor, you may decide not to file a claim. But in most cases, you will want to contact your insurance company and give them the details you’ve collected. You can often do this with a phone call or via the company’s website. If you talk to an agent, they can answer questions and help you understand what your policy will cover.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

In Michigan, there are several coverages that you may have on your auto insurance policy to help pay for your injuries and property damage after a hit-and-run:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): As a no-fault state, Michigan drivers are required to carry PIP coverage, which is designed to help pay for medical care and more, up to your policy limit, regardless of who caused an accident.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: This coverage could help to pay for your medical expenses after being hit by someone without insurance. However, your insurance company may require proof that the other driver did not have insurance, so in the case of a hit-and-run where the responsible driver is not found, this coverage may not cover damages.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: This coverage might pay for the damage the uninsured driver caused to your car or other property. Just like with uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, the insurance company may first require proof the other driver was not insured at the time of the accident, so if the responsible driver is not located, this coverage may not apply.
  • Collision: If you have full coverage on your vehicle, you may be able to use your collision coverage to help pay for the damages to your car. You will likely have to pay your deductible, although some companies will waive it in the event of a hit-and-run.

Talking to your agent about your current insurance policy before you are the victim of a hit-and-run may be a good idea. Understanding how your policy could assist you in the aftermath of a hit-and-run could help you to identify coverage gaps.

Frequently asked questions

    • Drivers in the Great Lake State pay an average cost of $1,210 for state-mandated minimum coverage, while full coverage, which includes collision and comprehensive insurance, is available for an average cost of $3,375. These premium rates are higher than the national averages, which are $741 and $2,545 respectively. Your own rate is likely to differ from the average, however, since it is based on factors that are unique to you, your car and your situation, including your driving record, age and your car’s make and model.
    • Leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging information with the other driver is illegal in Michigan. Even if you hit an object, such as a parked car or a mailbox, it is your responsibility to try to locate the owner and contact authorities so that responsibility for the accident can be correctly assigned. If you leave the scene of an accident, you will face penalties that may include fines of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 15 years. You will also almost certainly see a significant increase in the cost of your car insurance policy.
    • In Michigan, most at-fault accidents will remain on your record for seven years. However, a hit-and-run is a criminal offense here, and the state takes these violations very seriously. A hit-and-run violation could stay on your record permanently as you will be charged with a criminal offense.
    • In Michigan, hit-and-run can result in either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the accident. Leaving the scene of a minor accident that does not result in significant harm will typically carry a misdemeanor penalty. If an accident resulted in severe bodily harm or death, a hit-and-run conviction can result in felony criminal charges, and it may carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.