What to do after a hit and run in Rhode Island

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When you get into an accident, both drivers typically stop to exchange insurance information. Fleeing the scene of an accident, also known as a hit-and-run, comes with major consequences. In Rhode Island, the average annual cost of full coverage car insurance is $2,018, but after a hit-and-run, the average rate increases 61% to $3,251, according to 2021 data obtained from Quadrant Information Services.

Hit-and-run accidents are not uncommon, which is one of the reasons why most states, including Rhode Island, require every driver to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. If you drive in Rhode Island, it is important to understand the penalties associated with a hit-and-run, and what to do if you get involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hit-and-runs in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, a hit-and-run is defined as a collision where a driver who has been knowingly involved in a crash fails to stop. An accident is still considered a hit-and-run if a not-at-fault driver flees the scene.

Although the state of Rhode Island does not publish data on hit-and-runs, these types of accidents are becoming more common across the country. According to the AAA Foundation, there were roughly 737,100 hit-and-run crashes in 2015, which shows that one hit-and-run crash happened every 43 seconds.

Rhode Island hit-and-run laws

A Rhode Island driver who hits another driver and leaves the scene is fully responsible for the not-at-fault driver’s losses. If the driver is caught, they will have to compensate the other driver for their vehicle repairs and medical bills, as with any accident.

However, the consequences for causing a hit-and-run in Rhode Island are serious. If a driver flees the scene of an accident, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. The conviction comes with a fine between $500-$1,000, jail time of up to six months and license suspension for up to six months. If the crash results in injuries or fatalities, the penalties are more severe.

How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Rhode Island

Causing a hit-and-run in Rhode Island has a major impact on car insurance premiums. The average annual cost of full coverage car insurance in Rhode Island before an accident is $2,108, and after a hit-and-run, the average rate is $3,251. Although the rate after a hit-and-run is slightly lower than the United States national average, drivers could see their premium increase even more depending on the circumstances.

Average annual full coverage car insurance premiums before and after a hit-and-run
Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After a standard accident
Rhode Island average $2,018 $3,251 $2,000
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,405

Three things to do after a hit-and-run in Rhode Island

In the event of a hit-and-run in Rhode Island, the first thing you should do is call emergency services if you or any of your passengers are injured. Once you have safely pulled over and put on your hazard lights, here are the next steps you should follow:

  1. Call the police: If you did not already call 911, notify the police of the incident. An officer will meet you at the scene, file a police report and ask you to recall any details you can about the driver and the vehicle that hit you. The police report can be helpful when you file an insurance claim.
  2. Record any damages: If it is safe, take some photos of your vehicle’s damage before leaving the scene of the accident. Jot down what you remember about the accident and describe the damage. If you or any of your passengers received medical attention, keep a record of the treatment and where you got it.
  3. File an insurance claim: The last step is to call your insurance company and start the claim process. An agent can help you understand what will be covered and what information is needed to file the claim. The claim adjuster will ask to see the photos of your vehicle’s damage as well as the police report.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

In Rhode Island, every driver who carries car insurance should be covered in the event of a hit-and-run. But although Rhode Island auto insurance companies must offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of a minimum coverage policy, the coverage can be declined in writing. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help pay for your vehicle’s repairs and medical bills if you get hit by a driver who flees the scene.

In addition, drivers who have a full coverage policy will have extra protection in the event of a hit-and-run. Collision insurance could pay for your car repairs and medical payments coverage could compensate you for any medical bills, lost wages and rehabilitation costs, up to your policy limits.

Financial protection for incidents like hit-and-run accidents is one of the reasons that most insurance experts recommend you purchase more car insurance than the state-recommended minimum limits.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company is different for every driver. It depends on what type of coverage you need, how much you want to spend and where you live, among other things. To find the best provider for you, shop around and compare a few companies using your personal criteria, then get quotes to see which carrier can offer the best rate.

How much does car insurance cost in Rhode Island?

The average cost of car insurance in Rhode Island is $2,018 per year for a full coverage policy and $749 per year for a minimum coverage policy. For comparison, the average rate in the United States is $1,674 per year for full coverage and $565 for minimum coverage, so Rhode Island drivers typically pay more, on average. The actual rate you pay will differ depending on your circumstances.

Does a hit and run go on your record?

Yes, a hit-and-run will go on your driving record, whether you cause the crash or not. However, not-at-fault hit-and-runs typically have a lower impact on your car insurance premium. Hit-and-run accidents are usually removed from your driving record after three to five years.

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
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth has two years of experience writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others. In addition to auto insurance, Elizabeth regularly writes about home insurance, renters insurance and life insurance. She also covers industry trends and general insurance education.
Edited by
Insurance Editor