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Will A ‘Hit and Run’ Raise Your Rates?

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Research Last Updated: 08/18/2012

How a Hit and Run Incident Affects Your Auto Insurance – You Might Be Surprised

What Happens To Rates After a 'Hit and Run'?

A ‘Hit and Run’ Can Affect Rates.

Unfortunately, ‘Hit and Run’ accidents are a fact of life on the road. Hit and Run incidents are car accidents where one or more parties fails to stop, provide information, and render aid when necessary. In other words, if you have an accident with another vehicle and drive off – even if the other car was parked – you were involved in a Hit and Run accident.

There are many Hit and Run incidents every year on US highways. According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2003-2006, one in eight accidents were Hit and Run. It’s estimated there are over 700,000 Hit and Run incidents every year in the United States. If you haven’t been involved in one yet, chances are you will be in one in your lifetime.

There are two parties in a Hit and Run accident: the person “hitting and running” and the other driver and/or car. Hit and Run accident affects both party’s auto insurance rates differently.

Rates For the Person “Hitting & Running”

If you caused an accident and drove away, you are responsible for a hit and run – even if the other vehicle was unoccupied. If the accident is ever traced back to you, then your insurance could charge you with an at-fault incident. This will probably be a surcharged incident which would result in higher premiums.

Hit and Run incidents are more serious than regular at-fault accidents. It could stay on your driving record for 5-7 years, depending on your state. If your insurance company discovers it’s a Hit and Run, they may also cancel your coverage. This would mean even higher premiums at your next carrier.

Every driver should know a driver’s responsibility in any accident – stop your car at a nearby, safe place, check on the other driver, and give them your information. If you drive off, you could be in more trouble than just rising insurance rates. If the victim is injured or dies as a result of the accident, police will investigate. If you’re guilty of a Hit and Run traffic death, the courts could find you guilty of felony manslaughter. You should contact an attorney in that situation.

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Bottom line: if you’re involved in an accident, do the right thing. Stop, provide your information to the other driver, and render aid when necessary – regardless of who’s at fault.

Rates for the Victim of a Hit and Run

If you are the victim of a Hit and Run incident, your rates should be unaffected. Hit and Run accidents are common and insurance companies usually do not fault the other driver for the incident.

However, whether the incident will be covered is a different question. There are two coverages that would cover a Hit and Run: Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) and Collision. Insurance companies offer Uninsured Motorist coverage for times like these. Hit and Run incidents are covered minus your deductible in most cases. If you do not carry UM, then your Collision coverage should pick up the tab – minus your deductible. That’s one of the reasons you should carry UM or Collision at all times.

The particular coverage that would be used to cover your damages from a hit and run accident all depends on the state that you live in and also your insurance company you have coverage with.  For example, in the state of Washington a hit and run accident is covered under the UM coverage and you are required to file a police report. If the driver that hit you is identified the damage is still covered under the UM coverage, but you are subject to a lower deductible than you would be if the other driver was never identified. In the state of Idaho some carriers do not even sell UM coverage and all hit and run accidents are covered under the collision coverage.

Regardless, if you’re involved in a Hit and Run, contact your insurance company. They will provide the best advice for handling your claim. Depending on the severity of the situation, they could also provide legal counsel.

If you have experience with a Hit and Run accident, feel free to leave a comment.

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Todd Clay

Todd Clay is a former insurance agent with the largest insurance company in the United States. He earned his Bachelor’s from the University of Texas. He's worked in several fields but has specialized in insurance, financial-related information, and technology. He blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook. Connect with Tood on Google+

Reviews (5)

  • Gregory

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    Bill is patently wrong in his answer and you should have educated him.

    One can indeed collect on a hit and run driver without being able to identify the driver.

    UI/UIM insurance pays for damage from collisions from other vehicles such as in a hit and run situation. Like being parked in a restaurant and somebody sideswipes you pulling in or out.

    The key is to fill out a police report. Have UI/UIM insurance and file it as such. I have done this twice in Texas and speak from experience. The deductible is only $250.00 for Uninsured/UnderInsured.

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  • Inella

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    I was home and my car was parked outside my house and someone ran into my driver side causing severe damage to and took off. I think it is so wrong for someone to hit your car and you have to come out of pocket when your car was parked

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    • Michele Griffin

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      We agree with you, it is wrong for someone to do damage to another person’s vehicle and the victim has to pay for it. We hope that you filed a police report so that they can start an investigation and keep a look out for the other damaged vehicle. If the policy don’t know about it they can’t help find the person for you.

      Also, if you haven’t already, contact your insurance agent or company to see if there is anything that they can do for you. Once you file a police report, in most states, they can file the claim as a “hit and run” under your uninsured motorist coverage (if you have it). At the very least if they paid for the damages and you had to pay for your deductible, if the person is caught the insurance company will go after them to get their money and your deductible back from the person that hit your vehicle.

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  • bill

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    uninsured motorist coverage does not cover hit and run damage unless the at fault driver is identified. ask any insurance agent . you should not supply false information

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    • Michele Griffin

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      Bill,
      Thank you for your interest in our site and for offering additional information for us to look into. You are absolutely correct in the fact that we should not supply false information, but in this case it was merely the fact that we did not include the specific details of every possible factor that may be involved in a hit and run accident to determine what coverage may be use. We simply offered the fact that UM could be used to cover this accident if available.

      We have expounded on the article to include this and additional information on how the UM coverage could or could not work.

      Reply

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