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Any accident can be stressful and costly, but hit-and-runs may be particularly difficult to navigate. Because North Dakota is a no-fault state, accidents can affect insurance in ways that may be different than in other locations. The following guide breaks down everything you need to know about hit-and-runs in North Dakota.
Hit-and-runs in North Dakota
In North Dakota, a hit-and-run is defined as a collision involving a vehicle where one or more parties involved does not stop to provide their contact or insurance information. After an accident, all drivers involved are required to stop, render medical aid if possible, call emergency services if necessary, and exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver or drivers.
North Dakota hit-and-run laws
After an accident in North Dakota, the at-fault driver is responsible for the financial fallout of the damages they caused. North Dakota is a no-fault state, meaning every driver carries personal injury protection (PIP), which can pay for their medical bills and lost wages, regardless of fault, up to their policy limit. However, North Dakota does allow litigation for medical expenses in certain instances and up to certain thresholds.
Leaving the scene of an accident in North Dakota comes with consequences, particularly if there are injuries or fatalities. Any driver who is charged with a hit-and-run that results in bodily injury or fatalities will likely have their license restricted. If a driver causes an accident and there is more than $4,000 in property damage, they are required to notify the police. Failure to report the accident will result in a $50 fine.
Leaving the scene of an accident that involves property damage is considered a class B misdemeanor in North Dakota, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. Failing to exchange contact information with an unattended vehicle is considered a class A misdemeanor and can result in a maximum fine of $3,000 and up to 130 days in jail. Hit and runs involving minor injuries carry the same penalty. A negligent hit and run that results in more significant injuries is considered a class C felony and carries a penalty of up to five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Hit-and-run penalties continue to get more severe with increased damage or injuries.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in North Dakota
Whether you are the victim or the cause of a North Dakota hit-and-run accident, you may see changes to your policy after the accident. If you are the victim, you are likely not at fault, but if the other driver is not found and you have to file a claim against your own insurance, your rates may still rise.
If you are at fault in a hit-and-run and are found after you have left the scene, you are likely to see a significant increase in your premium. You are also likely to have legal penalties and other fees, and your insurer may place you in the high-risk category for insurance, which can increase your rates. Some carriers may decline to insure drivers who have been convicted of a hit-and-run.
3 things to do after a hit-and-run in North Dakota
Getting into a hit-and-run accident can be scary. The first thing you should do is make sure that no one is injured, including you, your passengers and any other involved parties. If anyone needs medical attention, your first call should be to 911. If no one is injured and you are able to safely pull over to the side of the road, here are the three steps you could follow:
- Call the police: Most experts recommend calling police after a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, and the police may want to investigate it. An officer could also write a police report which could be helpful to your insurance company, should you file a claim.
- Document the damage: If you are able to pull over in a safe place, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle. These could be helpful during the insurance claim process. Also, keep a record of any medical treatment that you or your passengers receive, either at the scene or at a hospital.
- Call your insurance company: The last step is to call your insurance company, if you want to file a claim, and let an agent know what happened. An agent will walk you through the claim process and explain what your policy will cover. If your carrier offers it, you could also submit a claim online or through the company’s mobile app.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Your own car insurance policy may help to cover the aftermath of a hit-and-run in North Dakota. A minimum coverage car insurance policy in North Dakota includes both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which could help cover your medical bills if you get hit by a driver who leaves the scene of the accident. Keep in mind, though, that you may need to prove that the other driver did not have insurance or did not have enough insurance for your expenses to use these coverage types.
Personal injury protection (PIP) is also required in North Dakota, and is designed to pay for your medical costs and other qualifying expenses after a loss, up to your policy limit and regardless of fault. For vehicle damage, drivers who have a full coverage policy may be able to use their collision insurance to help pay for car repairs.
Frequently asked questions
The best car insurance company is different for every driver and will depend on a number of factors, including where you live, what kind of coverage you want, your driving history, the kind of car you drive and more. To find the car insurance that is best for you, most experts recommend narrowing down your options based on coverage needs, customer service, digital tools and discounts. From there, you can compare personalized quotes to see which company could offer you the lowest rate for your selected coverage.
The average cost of car insurance in the United States is $2,014 per year for a full coverage policy and $622 for minimum coverage. In North Dakota, the average rates are much lower. The average North Dakota driver pays $1,302 per year for full coverage and $269 for minimum coverage. Your rates will vary based on your personal rating factors.
There is no single company that always has the cheapest insurance for everyone. To find cheap car insurance in North Dakota, it pays to shop around and gather several quotes from companies. It’s also helpful to talk to a knowledgeable licensed insurance agent, who can work with you to make sure you’re getting every discount for which you are qualified.