What to do after a hit and run in Virginia
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Unfortunately, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run in Virginia, not only do you have the added stress, but your own car insurance is likely to increase too. The average annual cost of auto insurance in Virginia is $1,304 per year for a full coverage policy. However, a hit-and-run accident increases that average rate to $2,565, based on data pulled from Quadrant Information Services.
Hit-and-runs in Virginia
By definition, a hit-and-run accident is where the at-fault party flees the scene of the accident. In 2019, there were over 238,000 moving violations in Virginia. Among these, 4,278, or 2% of the total, were ruled as hit-and-runs. Interestingly, about 5% of all the hit-and-runs were committed by someone who was driving under the influence.
Virginia hit-and-run laws
Virginia law dictates any driver involved in an accident where an injury or property damage (including to a vehicle) must stop. Not stopping results in serious penalties, including being charged with a misdemeanor if the damage to the property is less than $1,000. If the accident has a serious injury, death or property damage greater than $1,000, then the hit-and-run in Virginia is ruled a Class 5 felony. A Class 5 felony results in jail time for up to one year and a $2,500 maximum fine, or both.
Virginia requires every car insurance company that offers motor vehicle liability coverage to offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in addition to liability coverage. UM coverage also applies to hit-and-run accidents in Virginia. The driver who is the victim of a hit-and-run is responsible for the first $200 in property damage before the UM goes into effect.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Virginia
Depending on whether you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident or the person charged with a hit-and-run in Virginia will make a difference in how your car insurance is impacted. Increased premiums can apply to both the victim or the at-fault driver, however. As a victim of hit-and-run, it is possible to see an increase in your own insurance premiums due to filing a claim.
If you have been charged as the at-fault driver involved in the hit-and-run accident, the consequences can be more serious. The table below shows how much the average cost of auto insurance can increase in Virginia if you are the at-fault driver. A hit-and-run accident can double the cost of premiums, from an average of $1,304 a year, to $2,565.
For perspective, a standard accident increases premiums on average to $1,785 a year for full coverage car insurance. Additionally, you may be required to file an SR-22 certificate with the state as proof of insurance if your current policy is canceled after your conviction for a hit-and-run accident in Virginia.
|Before a hit-and-run||After a hit-and-run||After a standard accident|
Four things to do after a hit-and-run in Virginia
When involved in a hit-and-run in Virginia, there are a handful of key steps to remember as soon as the incident takes place. While this is a stressful experience, staying focused on the next steps will help you navigate a difficult situation.
- Call for medical help right away if there are injuries. Medical attention and safety is the first priority. While you or your passengers may not feel immediate pain from injuries, medical personnel can evaluate everyone and determine what medical steps are next.
- Call the police. Getting the police involved is a critical step, even if the vehicle is parked and you did not witness the damage take place. A police report is helpful when you file an insurance claim. Plus, the police may be able to interview witnesses and gather important details related to the accident.
- Take your own photos and gather any evidence. Take as many photos as you can of the damage to the vehicle and surrounding areas. These photos may prove helpful later on when the insurance claim is filed or from a criminal standpoint. If you do not have your phone, writing down key details such as a detailed description of any damage, time of day, weather and road conditions, is another strategy.
- File an insurance claim. Filing an insurance claim promptly is the best course of action. Your licensed agent can walk you through the process and review your coverage limits.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
In Virginia, uninsured motorist coverage is used to cover the costs associated with a hit-and-run accident. This includes both medical expenses and property damage. The limits and exact coverages associated with the UM depend on your policy and should be reviewed with your trusted agent.
Additionally, if you carry collision coverage, it will help cover damage to your vehicle as a result of the hit-and-run. Collision coverage helps cover costs for repairs, or possible replacement, to a damaged vehicle after a covered loss.
Frequently asked questions
How much does car insurance cost?
The average cost of car insurance in Virginia is $1,304 annually for a full coverage policy. This is well-below the national average of $1,674 per year for the same policy. Your actual cost will vary, as car insurance premiums are based on several factors.
What are the minimum insurance requirements in Virginia?
Virginia requires minimum liability coverage for all drivers, including 25/50/20 of liability coverage, which is:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $20,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident
Virginia also requires drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance at the same policy limits as your liability insurance, unless you ask in writing for the limits to be reduced. Virginia does allow drivers to pay a $500 uninsured fee to skip getting car insurance as long as they are willing to attest that they can pay for damages or injuries out of pocket if they cause an accident.
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.