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Sadly, hit-and-run accidents are fairly common in the U.S., and Pennsylvania is no exception. News stories abound of drivers fleeing the scene after damaging property — or worse, injuring or killing others. Should you be involved in a hit-and-run in Pennsylvania, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with the facts.
Hit-and-runs in Pennsylvania
A hit-and-run occurs if a driver flees the scene of an accident that causes property damage, injury or death without stopping to exchange information with other drivers and to provide aid to injured parties. In Pennsylvania, neglecting these duties is a violation of state law and could result in criminal charges, license suspension or revocation, jail time, fines, restitution payments and increased insurance rates.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Pennsylvania
The average cost of car insurance in Pennsylvania is closely in line with the national average. Drivers in PA pay an average of $2,040 per year for full coverage, compared to $2,014 across the U.S. However, your individual rate may vary based on a variety of factors, including your claims history and driving record, among other things.
That said, after any type of accident, drivers’ insurance rates may increase. This is especially true for the person who is found to be at fault. However, someone who flees the scene and is caught later would likely face an even steeper hike in their insurance premiums since there would be an accident and a criminal charge on their record.
3 things to do after a hit-and-run in Pennsylvania
If you cause an accident, the law requires you to stop your vehicle, exchange information and take financial responsibility. Attempting to avoid the situation could cost you far more in fines and higher premiums than an accident would.
Here’s what experts recommend:
- Stop: As soon as the accident occurs, pull over to a safe place and check on other drivers, pedestrians and/or damaged property.
- Call for help: In most cases, it’s wise to call emergency services. They can file an accident report and provide assistance if someone is injured, if any of the vehicles are immobile or if one of the parties left the scene of the accident.
- Notify your insurance company: It’s important to contact your car insurance company to relay details of the accident. You may also be asked to submit the police report and relevant photos.
Learn more: What to do if you are injured in a car accident
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Your auto insurance may help cover a hit-and-run, depending on your policy. Below are common types of car insurance coverage and how they can help protect you financially.
- Minimum coverage car insurance: If you have the minimum required coverage in Pennsylvania, liability insurance will help pay for the damages and injuries others incur in an accident you cause. However, it will not pay to repair or replace your own vehicle, regardless of fault.
- Full coverage car insurance: Full coverage typically includes collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance should help pay to repair damage resulting from a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object, even if you were at fault. It may help cover repairs to your vehicle after a hit-and-run, as well.
- Optional coverage: Should you elect to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your policy, this type of insurance may help cover damages and injuries caused by another driver, should they be inadequately insured. It may also help reimburse your expenses if you are the victim of a hit-and-run.
Experts recommend speaking with an agent to learn more about your car insurance policy, including what’s covered, what’s not and what steps to take after a hit-and-run.
Frequently asked questions
Based on 2023 rates, the average cost of car insurance in the state of Pennsylvania is $428 per year for minimum coverage and $2,040 per year for full coverage. Note that your individual rate may vary based on several factors, including your age, driving record, vehicle, ZIP code and more.
In the wake of any accident, your car insurance company may raise your premiums — particularly if you were at fault. If you cause an accident and then flee, your rates are likely to shoot up even more should you get caught. Drivers who face rate increases may benefit from shopping around for quotes from other providers.
If you are at fault for a Pennsylvania hit-and-run, you will typically have to pay the insurance deductible on any claims filed. But if you are the victim, you may not have to pay a deductible, depending on the coverage you carry and the details of your policy. Experts recommend speaking with an agent to learn more.