A hit-and-run is when a driver involved in an accident leaves the scene without providing their information or aid to the other involved parties. A hit-and-run can also include a failure to report the accident to authorities. Unfortunately, these types of accidents are common, so it’s important for drivers in Michigan to know what to do in the event they’re involved in a hit-and-run.
Hit-and-runs in Michigan
Under Michigan law, drivers are required to stop at the scene of an accident. However, as of 2019, 25.5 percent of Michigan drivers were uninsured — the second-highest rate in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute. And drivers without insurance could be more likely to leave the scene of an accident.
That said, it is probably in your best interest as an insured driver to protect yourself. Purchasing uninsured motorist coverage, which is an optional coverage type in Michigan, may add an extra layer of financial protection in the event you are the victim of a hit-and-run.
Michigan hit-and-run laws
If you are involved in a hit-and-run, whether you are at fault or not, leaving the scene can result in being charged with a misdemeanor — or worse. Potential penalties vary depending on the severity of the accident.
- If you leave the scene of an accident where there is property damage: You could face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $100 or both.
- If you leave the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death: You may face felony criminal charges with prison time of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
- If you leave the scene of an accident where you caused the death of another party: You may face felony criminal charges punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 or both.
How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Michigan
Any accident where you are at fault is likely to result in an increase to your car insurance premium, as insurers will view you as a higher risk to insure. But if you are responsible for a hit-and-run and you’re caught, you can expect your insurance rates to increase even more since you may face charges and have points put on your record.
On average, Michigan drivers pay $2,691 per year for full coverage car insurance — 34 percent more than the national average of $2,014 per year. After causing a standard at-fault accident, such as rear-ending another car, drivers can expect to pay an average of $4,051. A hit-and-run accident would probably mean paying even more.
4 things to do after a hit-and-run in Michigan
In addition to stopping, drivers in Michigan must take certain steps following any accident to stay in compliance with state laws. These include giving personal and vehicle information to the person or occupants involved in the accident, rendering aid to anyone injured and arranging or providing transportation for injured parties.
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, experts also recommend that you:
- Record as much identifying information as possible: Whether you can write it down or take a picture with your phone, try to identify the make, model and color of the car that hit you. Note the direction they were headed, any damage to the vehicle and a license plate number if you can.
- Call the police to the scene: If you have called for medical aid, police may already be on the way. If not, filing a police report could help track down the at-fault driver. Provide as much information to the responding officer as possible.
- Check for eyewitnesses: Having a third-party witness may help identify the at-fault driver or corroborate your story to the police or your insurance company. Ask witnesses to stay to talk to a police officer, or ask for their names and phone numbers to provide to the police and your insurance company as part of the claims process.
- Contact your insurance company: Once you are safe and finished talking to the police, you may want to file a claim with your insurance company. You can often do this by calling your agent or company directly. Your company may also allow you to file a claim on its website or mobile app.
Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?
In Michigan, there are several coverages that you may have on your auto insurance policy to help pay for your injuries and property damage after a hit-and-run:
- Personal injury protection (PIP): As a no-fault state, Michigan drivers are required to carry PIP coverage, which is designed to help pay for medical care and more, up to your policy limit, regardless of who caused an accident.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: This coverage could help to pay for your medical expenses after being hit by someone without insurance. However, your insurance company may require proof that the other driver did not have insurance, so in the case of a hit-and-run where the responsible driver is not found, this coverage may not cover damages.
- Uninsured motorist property damage: This coverage might pay for the damage the uninsured driver caused to your car or other property. Just like with uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, the insurance company may first require proof the other driver was not insured at the time of the accident, so if the responsible driver is not located, this coverage may not apply.
- Collision: If you have full coverage on your vehicle, you may be able to use your collision coverage to help pay for the damages to your car. You will likely have to pay your deductible, although some companies will waive it in the event of a hit-and-run.
Talking to your agent about your current insurance policy before you are the victim of a hit-and-run may be a good idea. Understanding how your policy could assist you in the aftermath of a hit-and-run could help you to identify coverage gaps.
Frequently asked questions
On average, Michigan drivers pay $1,104 per year for minimum coverage and $2,691 for full coverage. However, the cost of car insurance varies by insurance company, driving record, age, location, vehicle and more. As such, you may pay more or less than average.
Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a hit-and-run. Drivers who cause a hit-and-run in Michigan could face criminal charges, up to $10,000 in fines and up to 15 years in prison. Additionally, it will likely increase your car insurance rates significantly.
In Michigan, most at-fault accidents will remain on your record for seven years. However, a hit-and-run is a criminal offense here, and the state takes these violations very seriously. A hit-and-run violation could stay on your record permanently as you will be charged with a criminal offense.
In Michigan, hit-and-run can result in either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the accident. Leaving the scene of a minor accident that does not result in significant harm will typically carry a misdemeanor penalty. If an accident resulted in severe bodily harm or death, a hit-and-run conviction can result in felony criminal charges, and it may carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.