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

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Mississippi has the highest estimated number of uninsured motorists, at 29.4% of drivers, according to 2019 data published by the Insurance Information Institute. Uninsured drivers and risks of hit-and-runs involving uninsured drivers are both compelling reasons to ensure you have your own complete auto insurance coverage. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident in Mississippi, the average annual full coverage car insurance premium increases from $1,782 to $2,803—a 57% increase.

Hit-and-runs in Mississippi

Mississippi comes in 20th for traffic fatalities, according to 2019 data from the US Department of Transportation. While not all fatalities involve hit-and-runs, the penalties are not light for this type of incident. Hit-and-runs are defined as a driver being involved in an accident and fleeing the scene. Not only is it illegal to leave the scene of an accident, the result can be steep fines and penalties, and potentially major consequences with auto insurance.

Mississippi hit-and-run laws

Mississippi law dictates all drivers must stop immediately if involved in an accident. Failure to do so is considered a hit-and-run. If found and convicted, not only do the hit-and-run drivers face possible steep increases in insurance premiums, but the legal consequences are severe. Mississippi determines the penalties based on the seriousness of the accident. A failure to stop at the scene of an accident can result in:

  • A fine between $100 and $5,000
  • No less than 30 days and up to one year of jail time
  • Can be either penalty or both

If the hit-and-run accident results in death or severe disfigurement, the penalties include:

  • Hit-and-run driver is charged with a felony
  • Fines between $1,000 to $10,000
  • Jail time between five and 20 years
  • Penalty can be either the fine, jail time or both

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

If you are the driver who is found at-fault in a hit-and-run, it will have a substantial impact on your insurance premiums, based on Bankrate’s 2020 study of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services. Before a hit-and-run, the average cost of full coverage car insurance in Mississippi is $1,782 per year. With a hit-and-run conviction factored in, that rate increases about 57%, to $2,833 per year for the same coverage.

Average annual full coverage premiums:

Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After a standard accident
Mississippi average $1,782 $2,833 $2,477
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,405

In Mississippi, drivers convicted with a hit-and-run charge may also be required to file an SR-22 form for three years. The SR-22 form costs a nominal additional amount each year you have to file, but is legally required for circumstances like being at-fault for a hit-and-run. It represents proof that the driver has purchased the minimum insurance required by law.

4 things to do after a hit-and-run in Mississippi

A vehicle crash of any kind can be scary, but adding a hit-and-run element to the experience makes it even more stressful. The most important concern is for the safety of you and your passengers, but there are other steps you may want to follow if you are the victim of a hit-and-run, which could help you in dealing with the aftermath.

  1. Gather info about the hit-and-run vehicle and driver: If at all possible, try to quickly obtain any details related to the other vehicle and driver. Taking pictures or videos, or writing down key information, will aid police and insurance investigators later on.
  2. Call the police: Getting the authorities involved as soon as possible is your best course of action from a legal and insurance standpoint, especially when injuries or property damage are involved. Filing a police report will be essential when you are dealing with insurance carriers, and to ensure you are legally protected.
  3. Take photos and talk to witnesses: Taking plenty of photos of the scene of the accident and documenting time of day, damage and road conditions at the time of the incident are helpful as the investigation moves forward. If there are any witnesses, you could also try to take down their name and phone number in case there are additional questions from the police or insurance that witnesses can help answer.
  4. File an insurance claim: Once immediate medical needs for you and your passengers are taken care of and you’ve filed a police report, you will likely need to file an insurance claim, typically within a day or two. When filing a claim, be sure to include the police report and any photos or videos you gathered.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run in Mississippi, you have a few options with your own insurance coverage, depending on which ones your policy includes.

If you carry the optional collision coverage, this coverage would help pay for any damages to your vehicle as a result of the hit-and-run. Keep in mind, you typically have a deductible specific to collision coverage, which represents the portion of the claim costs for which you are financially responsible.

Another optional coverage that could help with a hit-and-run is uninsured motorist coverage, which is required to be offered in Mississippi — though it can optionally be declined in writing by drivers. It not only covers medical expenses for you and your passengers, but it also covers lost wages and other related costs, such as funeral expenses. If you have personal injury protection coverage (PIP), this could help pay medical expenses for you and your passengers too. While not required in the state of Mississippi, it is another valuable type of financial protection for incidents like a hit-and-run.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost?

The national average cost for car insurance is $1,674 per year, for a full coverage policy. However, Mississippi’s average auto insurance rates are much higher than the national average. The average cost of insurance in Mississippi is $1782 per year, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums.

Does Mississippi require drivers to purchase auto insurance?

Mississippi requires uninsured motorist coverage to be offered, but it can be declined in writing if a driver prefers to go without. The state does mandate drivers must maintain minimum liability coverage, including $25,000 per person for a single accident, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $25,000 per accident for property damage. Purchasing the bare minimum in auto insurance could leave you financially vulnerable in a case of an accident, especially when it involves a hit-and-run.

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