Drivers know that their insurance rates will go up if they cause an accident. The driver that wasn’t at fault could also see their rates rise if there is a pattern of crashes. But how will your car insurance be affected if you’re in a hit-and-run accident?
A car accidents attorney in Phoenix can explain how your hit-and-run accident may affect your insurance rates. As long as you are not at fault for an accident in Arizona and you have Arizona insurance, your rates will not rise by law.
If You’re the Hit and Run Driver
If you’re the hit-and-run driver, your rates are certain to rise quite a lot. According to a survey by Insurance.com, if you have full coverage in Arizona your rates will go up by 154% if you’re convicted of a hit-and-run accident.
Also, you’ll have to pay for the costs of the other driver’s damages and for the crime you’ve committed. You may even be charged with a felony if the other driver was injured or killed. You may also face DMV penalties.
You may also have to pay additional money to get SR-22 coverage, which is proof from an insurance company that you have required auto insurance. Insurance companies make you pay a lot for these because it’s proof that the state thinks you’re an unsafe driver.
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My Hit and Run Driver Was Caught. Will My Car Insurance Go Up?
If the police catch the hit-and-run driver, your insurance questions are much more straightforward. Assuming the driver has insurance, you will make your claim with them, and they’ll pay you. Your own insurance will not have to get involved.
Arizona hit-and-run laws make it illegal for insurers to raise your rates if you are not at fault for an accident. If an insurer raises your rates, they have to tell you why and explain the reason. Some states don’t have this protection.
If you do share responsibility for an accident, then the insurer may try to raise your rates based on that, but they still have to explain why, and you can challenge it. The law is on your side here, so speak with a lawyer if your rates get raised, and you wish to challenge it.
Will My Insurance Compensate Me If the Hit-and-Run Driver Can’t Be Found?
This depends entirely on what insurance policy you have. Arizona requires all drivers to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This insurance covers your injuries if the other driver cannot be found.
You will need collision coverage to pay for your car repair. Most collision coverage comes with a deductible, so you will need to pay that as well. If the at-fault driver is found later, you can add your deductible to your settlement amount to get that money back.
Some insurers will also let you get coverage for property damage caused by uninsured motorists. As each insurer is different, ask your agent what your current policy covers and what you would need to cover your personal injuries and property damage if you’re in a hit-and-run accident.
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Will My Personal Insurer Raise My Rates If I Use Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
As explained earlier, Arizona does not raise premiums if you’re not at fault. It is assumed that uninsured motorists are at fault. First, they’re breaking the law by not carrying insurance. Second, many uninsured motorist accidents are hit-and-runs.
In fact, a car doesn’t even have to hit you and can use this coverage. Say a driver caused you to swerve and get into an accident, but they didn’t get hit and drove off. Even though they didn’t hit you, the insurer will still cover your accident under this coverage.
Where this coverage could let you down is in the policy limits. The minimum coverage by Arizona law is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This may be good enough for most crashes, but you may need much more coverage if you’re seriously injured. Consider buying a policy larger than the minimum to ensure you can easily pay for your injuries.
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I Have Out-of-State Coverage. How does that Change Things?
Each state has different insurance laws, so if your insurance policy wasn’t purchased in Arizona then these rules may change. Your insurer may have ways they can raise your rates even if the accident wasn’t your fault.
For example, if you have shown a pattern of accidents over a period, usually around three years, they may raise your rates. The range will vary between states and insurers. The rate hike won’t be nearly as high as if you were at fault, but it’s possible.
You could also live in a state with no-fault insurance. This coverage, known as PIP, could cover a lot of your medical bills. You will need to speak with a lawyer with familiarity with your state’s insurance laws for more details.
What Should I Do to Help the Police Find the Hit-and-Run Driver?
Contact the police right away If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run. Time is of the essence. Leave the accident scene as it is and take photographs of the car damage, the scene, and any debris left by the other car.
If there is anyone nearby, ask if they saw the accident. Also, try to find any security cameras that may have caught footage of the accident. When the police arrive, tell them what you know and pass on witness and camera information. They will give you a crash report number you can use to check on the progress of their investigation.
After you’ve made your report, see a doctor if you’ve been injured, and then contact your insurer to report the accident. Then contact a lawyer with experience in hit-and-run cases.
Contact a Hit-and-Run Lawyer in Arizona
Zanes Law can help you with your hit-and-run case. We can perform our own investigation to discover who hit you and how you can hold them accountable. To learn how we can help you, call us now to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.