Utah law imposes fines and prison sentences for fleeing the scene of an accident that causes property damage or bodily injuries. But the price of a hit-and-run offense can have lasting costs, because in Utah, your car insurance premium can more than double if you are caught and convicted for leaving the scene of an accident, according to data pulled from Quadrant Information Services.
Most states require drivers to carry certain minimum levels of car insurance. State-mandated liability coverages are designed to help pay the expenses of another driver when you are at fault for an accident. But some states also require motorists to carry other types of coverage that can help pay your medical and auto repair costs if an at-fault driver does not have insurance or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
Hit-and-runs in Utah
Whenever you get behind the wheel, you run the risk of being the victim of a hit-and-run driver. And sometimes drivers flee the scene of an accident because they do not carry car insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2019, nearly 13% of U.S. drivers did not have auto insurance. The same year, Utah had an uninsured driver rate of just 6.5%, well below the national average.
According to the Utah State Legislature, the Beehive State defines hit-and-run accidents as those that cause property damage, injury to a person, or both. When colliding with another vehicle or other type of property, Utah’s motor vehicle traffic code requires the driver to stay at the scene and exchange information with the property owner, such as their name, contact information, insurance provider and vehicle registration number. If the property appears to have sustained $2,500 or more in damage, the driver must also call law enforcement.
Utah law also requires a driver to remain at the scene of an accident that causes injury to a person. Sometimes, injuries occur during a collision with another automobile, but the law also applies to striking a pedestrian with your car. Regardless of whether an accident involves hitting another vehicle or a person, if you leave the scene, you could be charged with a hit-and-run violation.
Utah hit-and-run laws
Motor vehicles are governed under Title 41 of Utah Code. Hit-and-run drivers can face stiff fines and time behind bars. Leaving the scene of an accident that causes property damage is a Class B misdemeanor in Utah, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. If you leave the scene of an injury accident, you could face at least a $2500 fine.
Hit-and-run injury accidents are charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on the severity of the injuries. For a Class A misdemeanor, a court can impose up to a $2,500 fine and up to one year in prison. Third-degree felony convictions carry up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Utah
A fine and jail time are not the only consequences some hit-and-run drivers face. When a hit-and-run driver is also caught driving without insurance, the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles can suspend their car’s vehicle registration and the Utah Department of Public Safety will suspend their driver’s license. Utah classifies driving without insurance as a Class B misdemeanor, subject to a minimum fine of $400 for the first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses that occur within three years of the first conviction.
Loss of your driving privilege and your vehicle registration can take time to recover. You must pay a reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance to restore your driver’s license. Reinstating your vehicle registration may require submitting form SR-22, a document issued by an insurance company as proof of insurance, plus payment of a $100 reinstatement fee.
Insurers can impose a costly premium increase on a policyholder convicted of a hit-and-run accident. Based on Bankrate’s research, average rate increases following hit-and-run incidents exceed 100%.
|Before a hit-and-run||After a hit-and-run||After a standard accident|
Four things to do after a hit-and-run in Utah
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver, you do not have the benefit of exchanging information with another driver. But there are steps you can take that may help law enforcement track down the offender and help make filing an insurance claim a little easier.
Take note of information you can gather
Jot down the vehicle’s license plate number if you can read it. Take note of the car’s color and look for emblems that may define its make and model. Write down the location and time of the accident and make note of which direction the hit-and-run driver fled the scene.
Document the accident scene
Take photos of all accident damage. If other people witnessed the hit-and-run accident, get their contact information.
File a police report
Call the police immediately. Give authorities all the information you gathered, details of the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle, the direction the offender fled, the time and location of the accident and contact information of witnesses.
Contact your insurer
Contact your insurance company within 24 hours. Talk to an agent to find out if your auto insurance will cover your vehicle’s damage or any injuries. Also ask if your coverage will pay for incidental expenses like towing and rental car reimbursement.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
Typically, if another driver is at fault for an accident, their liability coverages should pay your medical and car repair expenses. But if a hit-and-run driver is not identified, you will have to rely on your own insurance policy.
To pay the repair costs of your automobile, your policy must include collision coverage. Terms and conditions can vary among providers, so check with your insurer to find out if your collision coverage will cover repairs even if the hit-and-run driver is not located. Keep in mind that even if your policy covers your car’s damage, you will still have to pay the deductible.
Utah does not require automobile owners to buy uninsured motorist coverage. But if you purchased it anyway, it may help pay lost wages, medical expenses and repair costs if you are a victim of a hit-and-run driver.
Utah does require all motorist to buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Utah PIP coverage will pay up to $1,500 in funeral and burial expenses and can help pay a wide range of medical expenses.
Frequently asked questions
How much does car insurance cost?
Based on Bankrate’s research, U.S. automobile owners pay an average of $565 per year for minimum coverage and $1,674 for full coverage. Utahans pay less, $528 annually for minimum coverage and $1,306 annually for full coverage. But keep in mind that average premiums do not reflect the rate you will pay. Car insurance premiums are based on many factors, including your age, claims history, driving record, the make and model of your vehicle and the coverages you choose.
Does Utah require drivers to carry auto insurance?
- $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $65,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $15,000 personal property liability coverage per accident
- $3,000 personal injury protection (PIP)
Surety bonds, a certificate from the state treasurer or a certificate of self-insurance can also satisfy the financial responsibility law.
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.