What to do after a hit-and-run in North Carolina

1
EmilySkeels/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . This content is powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838). For more information, please see our

A North Carolina hit-and-run is a serious violation. Striking a bicyclist or pedestrian is already life-threatening. Leaving the scene of the accident without calling for help can lead to severe injury or death. The NC Department of Transportation claims that 10% of pedestrians struck by a vehicle died. Getting medical intervention as quickly as possible could make all the difference.

Although not every hit-and-run in North Carolina causes injury or death, law enforcement takes all incidents seriously. Running into someone’s mailbox may be nowhere near as damaging as rear-ending a vehicle or colliding with a bicyclist, but police will still be required to investigate the incident if someone files a report. If a driver is caught, they could be charged with a hit-and-run for leaving the scene and not leaving a note to identify themselves as the responsible party.

Hit-and-runs in North Carolina

Roughly 19% of pedestrian collisions were hit-and-runs in which the driver left the scene of an accident. Distracted driving (and walking) could be a big factor. As individuals get wrapped up in their mobile devices, they may be less aware of their surroundings, potentially leading to collisions and subsequent hit-and-runs. North Carolina hit-and-run laws require drivers to stop if there has been an accident or collision, call the police and wait at the scene until the investigation is complete.

North Carolina hit-and-run laws

If you do not follow the hit-and-run North Carolina statute of stopping and remaining at the accident scene until dismissed by law enforcement, you could be subject to the following penalties. Each penalty is based on the severity of the accident:

  • Hit-and-runs with property damage only may be classified as a misdemeanor and could be punishable with a fine and up to 120 days in jail, depending on the severity.
  • Hit-and-run causing serious bodily injury or death: Could lead to suspension of your driver’s license, hefty fines, a felony conviction and up to 25 to 41 months in prison.

Besides the legal side of a hit-and-run charge, your car insurance rates could become significantly more expensive.

How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in North Carolina

Insurance companies may see drivers who break the law by leaving the scene of an accident as high-risk. After all, many hit-and-runs in North Carolina lead to severe injury or death of the victims left behind. A hit-and-run conviction on your record could impact your car insurance for years. Bankrate’s research on hit-and-run rates by state, as gathered through Quadrant Information Services, found that North Carolina drivers see one of the highest spikes in annual premiums in the country, on average.

Average annual full coverage premiums:

Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After an at-fault accident
North Carolina average $1,325 $5,978 $1,933
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,311

4 things to do after a hit-and-run in North Carolina

A hit-and-run can be a frightening and confusing situation. Some people react to a crash by leaving the scene of an accident only to realize the potential harm of their decision. Knowing what to do ahead of time to avoid hit-and-run charges and the aftermath of an accident could go a long way. Keep these things in mind:

  1. Stop: Always stop after a crash. Leaving the location where the accident occurs prior to help arriving is a crime. Try and pull over to a safe spot so you can exit your vehicle and see what happened.
  2. Try to stay calm and call for help: If others are involved, they may be upset or overwhelmed. Keeping a level head to assess the situation is vital. Above everything, make sure everyone is ok. If anyone is injured or seems disoriented, call emergency services for help.
  3. Leave a note: If you strike someone’s property and they are not present, leave them a note explaining what happened, including the date, time, your phone number and insurance information.
  4. Contact your insurance company: Call your insurance provider to explain the accident. This helps your insurer prepare if someone files a claim. Provide as many details as possible such as location, date and time of the incident, police report, photos and witness information.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

There are generally three types of insurance coverages that will cover a hit-and-run. Only one coverage is mandatory, although the other coverage options may be especially beneficial in providing enough financial assistance following a hit-and-run:

  • Liability coverage: This is mandatory insurance that helps pay for the injuries and damages you cause to others, as well as your legal expenses within the limits of your policy.
  • Collision coverage: This optional coverage is part of a full coverage car insurance policy and reimburses you for damages and repairs to your vehicle from an at-fault accident.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This coverage may be automatically offered in some states, but is also optional to help pay for your expenses if someone else is at fault but doesn’t have any coverage or enough coverage. If you were the victim of a hit-and-run, the coverage could pay for your losses if you are unable to find who hit you and left the scene of the crime.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost?

The average cost of car insurance is $565 per year for minimum insurance and $1,674 per for full coverage. However, rates are personalized and will vary based on your vehicle type, ZIP code and driving record.

How much does my car insurance go up after a North Carolina hit-and-run?

A hit-and-run is a serious violation that will dramatically impact your car insurance premiums. Bankrate found that coverage after a hit-and-run in North Carolina is $5,978 per year, compared to $1,325 annually for a clean record. That is an increase of over four and a half times.

What is the best car insurance company?

Vehicle coverage is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What may be best for you may not be ideal for someone else. Finding the best car insurance company takes some work. Determine how much car insurance you need based on the state’s minimum requirements and how much coverage you can afford. Consider getting several vehicle insurance quotes to compare and choose the best carrier.

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
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.
Edited by
Insurance Editor