If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, one of your main concerns may be about whether your car insurance rates will rise after an accident. When you file a hit-and-run claim with your insurance company, even if you are not the at-fault driver, you may see your insurance premiums for full coverage rise because your classification as an accident-free driver has changed. Fortunately, the specifics of your accident, your car insurance policy, and actions you take after the accident can sometimes counteract this car insurance rate increase.
What Should You Do After a Hit and Run Accident?
After a hit-and-run accident, the first thing you should do is assess your physical condition and the condition of any passengers in your vehicle. You should stay in your car and call for emergency help if you are unable to move. However, if it’s safe to leave your vehicle, you may do so if you will not cause further injury to yourself. Other steps to take after a hit-and-run accident include:
Contact the Police
You should contact the police right away so you can file an accident report. When the police arrive at the accident scene, the police officers will make notes about the scene of the accident and gather eyewitness testimony that will be included in the crash report. The police may also be able to request a search for the other vehicles involved in the accident. You may need to have a police report when you start your insurance claims process.
Get Medical Aid
Next, you should seek medical aid even if you don’t believe you are severely injured. Even if your accident is minor, your injuries may not be. Many victims of car crashes only notice injuries once the shock has faded; however, trained medical professionals will be able to assess your health and get you the early treatment you need to avoid health complications in the future. Documenting your injuries with medical records may also be important for your insurance claim later on, or if you plan to file a claim against the at-fault driver.
If possible, it’s also a good idea to gather as much evidence as possible. The more evidence you have about your hit-and-run accident, the more successful your insurance claim will be. Even if you weren’t able to get the other car’s license plate, you can still provide your car insurance company with identifying details about the other car, your perspective on how the accident happened, and evidence such as photographs, police reports, witness statements, and available surveillance camera footage.
No Matter What, Don’t Chase the Other Driver
Although it may be tempting, you should never chase after the other driver. Chasing after the driver who caused your hit-and-run accident can be dangerous, particularly if the other driver is already engaging in unsafe driving practices. Furthermore, for the sake of your insurance premiums, it’s best to stay at the scene of the crash. Some insurance rates can rise if you drive away from the scene of the accident, even if you aren’t the at-fault driver.
How Common Are Hit and Run Accidents?
Hit-and-run accidents are very common – in fact, the most recent data suggests that this type of car accident is becoming increasingly common. According to GES data, there are an average of 682,000 hit-and-run accidents each year, which is roughly one car accident every 43 seconds. The number of hit-and-run fatalities is also increasing, with a total of 16,936 fatal accidents in the last decade, which accounts for about 5% of all traffic fatalities.
However, as common as hit-and-run accidents are, very few of these accidents are ever solved. According to research, only 10% of hit-and-run accidents are ever resolved, which is why it’s so important to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. Hit-and-run insurance will ensure you can recover from your accident to make up for vehicle repairs, medical bills, and lost wages.
Does Your Car Insurance Cover a Hit and Run Accident?
In the US, your auto insurance policy will likely not have specific coverage for hit-and-run insurance. However, many of the policies in your auto insurance plan can be used to help you recover from an accident caused by a hit-and-run. Your car insurance plan may offer these policies as part of standard coverage, or these policies may be add-ons.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection or PIP coverage is an insurance policy that is only available in no-fault states. This insurance coverage can pay for the cost of medical bills, as well as any lost income or other expenses caused by injuries sustained in an accident. However, because Missouri is an at-fault accident state, your insurance company will likely not offer this policy.
Medical Payments Coverage
Some auto insurance companies may offer medical payments coverage. This is an insurance policy that will cover the cost of medical payments regardless of which driver is at fault. This may be important if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, but the other motorist involved in your accident cannot be located by the police.
Collision coverage is an optional insurance policy that helps drivers pay for the cost of repairs to a vehicle caused by a collision. This coverage can be applied to a collision with another vehicle or a collision caused by a stationary object. If you have a car loan, a collision coverage insurance policy may be required. After a hit-and-run incident, collision coverage can be used for vehicle repairs, even if the at-fault driver is never found.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
An uninsured motorist bodily injury policy will cover bodily injuries caused by a car crash with an uninsured driver. Your insurance company may consider a driver who left the scene of the accident to be an uninsured motorist, which allows you to use this coverage to pay for your medical bills after a hit-and-run claim.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
Uninsured motorist property damage is an insurance policy that allows you to pay for the cost of property damage to a vehicle involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. In a hit-and-run crash, when the other motorist is absent, this insurance can also be used. However, unlike an uninsured motorist bodily injury policy, an uninsured motorist property damage policy may have a deductible.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Lower Your Car Insurance After an Accident?
If you want to lower your deductible after a car accident, there are several things you can do. For some drivers, the best way to lower their auto insurance rate is to find a different car insurance provider since other insurance companies may have different ways of calculating your premium. It’s best to compare quotes and policies to decide if your current car insurance provider is the best fit for your coverage needs and your budget.
Wait a While
Did you know that the longer you can drive without an accident, the lower your insurance cost will be? For drivers who have a low claim frequency, insurance rates are typically very low. In general, an insurance rate will increase the most in the first month you renew your insurance policy after a car crash. This initial spike will eventually go away if you can remain accident-free with a clean insurance record. Most drivers will see car insurance premiums go back to normal after three to five years.
You may consider raising your deductible after an accident. When you raise your deductible, you can reverse your insurance rate increase by agreeing to pay more out-of-pocket expenses after an accident. Out-of-pocket expenses can include medical bills and damage your vehicle sustains after an accident.
You may want to consider reducing the coverage on your insurance to lower your insurance costs. However, you should remember that reducing the coverage on your insurance may result in higher out-of-pocket costs if you are involved in another accident. Reducing coverage for medical expenses and other property damage can cost you much more money, especially after serious accidents.
Apply for Accident Forgiveness
Accident forgiveness can be another way to lower car insurance rates. Depending on your car insurance provider, your insurance policy may include accident forgiveness, which prevents your insurance premium from increasing after your first accident, even if you are at fault. Much of the time, accident forgiveness can be awarded to drivers who have a clean driving record.
Will You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident?
In some cases, you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer after an accident if your car insurance company is denying your claim for any reason. A lawyer can advocate for your right to seek the full benefit of your insurance policy and can even help you pursue compensation if the at-fault motorist is located by law enforcement.
In some cases, auto insurance after a hit-and-run crash will not increase insurance rates. However, you may still need help from a legal expert if your car insurance provider is denying your claim. Get in touch with Wendt Law Firm in Kansas City, MO by calling 816-542-6734 to learn more about how to seek compensation after an accident.