What to do after a hit and run in Vermont

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If you are involved in a hit-and-run car accident in Vermont, the average annual full coverage car insurance premium jumps from $1,207 to $2,521—a 109% increase, according to 2021 data pulled from Quadrant Information Services. Vermont clearly defines the actions motorists must take following a traffic accident, and drivers who leave the scene of a crash run the risk of being charged with a hit-and-run.

If caught, hit-and-run drivers can face legal penalties plus increased car insurance premiums. According to the Vermont Highway Safety Office, traffic accidents killed 61 people in 2020, a 28.78% increase over 2019. The same year, 202 people suffered serious injuries due to crashes, down from 260 in 2019. Here’s what you need to know about hit-and-run accidents in Vermont.

Hit-and-runs in Vermont

Vermont law makes it easy to understand a driver’s responsibilities following a crash. When a collision involves contact with another vehicle, other types of property, or a person, drivers must immediately stop. When injury accidents occur, the driver must help victims to the best of their ability. Drivers who leave the scene of a crash may be charged with a hit-and-run.

Vermont hit-and-run laws

According to the Vermont General Assembly, Title 23, Subsection 1102(g) of Vermont’s legal code defines motor vehicle law involving automobile crashes with another vehicle, other types of property or a person. The law requires you to remain at the scene of the incident and give the other affected parties your address, license number, name and names of other owners of your vehicle, if any.

The consequences of a hit-and-run conviction in Vermont are severe. Leaving the scene of an accident has escalating penalties, depending on the severity of the incident. Those who violate the law can receive:

  • All hit-and-runs: Up to a $2,000 fine, up to two years in prison, or both.
  • Hit-and-runs involving bodily injuries: Up to a $3,000 fine, up to five years in prison, or both.
  • Hit-and-runs involving fatalities: Up to a $3,000 fine, up to 15 years in prison, or both.

All hit-and-run convictions also require paying a $50 surcharge, which helps support Vermont’s DUI Enforcement Fund.

How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Vermont

The impact of leaving the scene of an accident can also escalate depending on why an offender drives away. Some hit-and-run drivers leave the scene because they do not have auto insurance. Driving without insurance in Vermont is a civil offense, which carries a penalty of up to $500.

If convicted of driving without insurance, the court can also require the offender to submit an SR-22 form when they buy an insurance policy. An insurance company must submit an SR-22 on your behalf, proving that you carry state-required insurance coverages. SR-22 filings require monitoring for three years. If the offender’s policy is canceled or lapses, the insurer must contact Vermont’s Department of Motor Vehicles, which will suspend their driver’s license.

Hit-and-run convictions can also lead to hefty auto insurance premium increases. Based on Bankrate’s research, Vermont policyholders face an average rate increase of just 0.41% on an annual full coverage auto policy following a regular traffic accident in which all parties remain at the scene. But if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, the average premium increase rises to nearly 109%.

Average annual full coverage car insurance premiums before and after a hit-and-run accident
Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After a standard accident
Vermont average $1,207 $2,521 $1,212
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,405

Six things to do after a hit-and-run in Vermont

Victims of hit-and-run drivers can take several steps to help law enforcement find the driver who left the scene and make the insurance claim process go smoothly.

Collect information about the hit-and-run vehicle

When possible, act quickly and jot down information about the hit-and-run automobile, including its license plate number, color, make and model and visible damage or special features, such as custom wheels or a convertible roof. Also take note of the exact time and place of the accident and the direction in which the car fled.

Call the police

Call 911 whenever a crash results in injuries or property damage. Filing a police report will make it easier to file an insurance claim.

Take photos

Take photos of all property damage and bodily injuries to provide detailed proof when filing a police report and insurance claim.

Look for witnesses

Collect the names and contact information of people who witnessed the crash and pass the information along to the police when you submit an accident report and your insurance company when filing a claim.

Report the crash to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles

All crashes that result in injuries or property damage of $3,000 or more must be reported to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. The Department provides a downloadable online form, which must be filled out and mailed within 72 hours of the crash. The City of Burlington also offers online reporting of hit-and-run incidents.

Share insurance information with involved parties

Vermont law also requires drivers with liability insurance to notify other people involved in the crash when property damage or injuries occurs, providing them with the name and address of their insurer and their policy number. Notification must occur within five days of the accident. If someone else besides the driver that fled was involved in the crash, be sure to exchange insurance information with them as soon as possible.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Unfortunately, drivers do not always have the coverage needed to cover the expenses that result from a hit-and-run accident. If you have collision coverage, it may pay to repair your vehicle, or replace it if it is totaled, up to your policy limits, even if law enforcement cannot locate the hit-and-run driver.

Uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for damages to your automobile, lost wages and medical expenses if the hit-and-run driver is not located or is found, deemed at fault for the accident and does not have insurance. Vermont law requires motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage in addition to liability insurance, unless the driver opts to file evidence of self-insurance up to $115,000 with the state.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost?

According to Bankrate’s research, U.S. car owners pay an average annual auto insurance premium of $1,674 for full coverage and $565 for minimum coverage. Vermont drivers pay an annual average of $1,207 for full coverage, nearly 28% less than the national average.

Does Vermont require drivers to buy auto insurance?

Vermont law requires all motorist to carry at least:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $10,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 uninsured motorist property damage liability per accident

Evidence of self-insurance for $115,000 can be filed with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to satisfy the financial responsibility law.

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
Michael Evans
Personal Finance Contributor
Michael Evans has worked in numerous industries, including education, finance, government, insurance and journalism. He began writing professionally while working for the world's first online mortgage brokerage in San Francisco, California. His writings have appeared in print and online publications, including Fox Business, International Living, Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance. Michael has contributed to Bankrate since 2013. He and his family divide their time between residences in Northern California and Colombia. When Michael is not writing, he enjoys working in his photography business and playing with his cat, Cyndi Lou.
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