Earlier this week, I wrote about what to do in the aftermath of a hit and run. While we’re on the topic, it makes sense to address another important question concerning these unfortunate accidents. Will your auto insurance rates go up if you’re the victim of a hit and run?
The answer that most insurance agencies or attorneys will give you to this question is “it depends,” and unfortunately, that’s my response as well. The reason for this is that there are many factors at play in a hit and run accident and the resulting insurance proceedings, and one of those is what type of coverage you have. In a no fault state such as Florida, your insurance coverage is slightly different than most of the rest of the country, which can have some bearing on whether or not you’ll end up paying more each month after an accident.
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, coverage is one of the insurance quirks that sets Florida apart from the majority of other states. While it’s an add-on available with policies in most other places, in Saint Petersburg and the rest of the state, PIP is required since Florida is a no fault state. Basically, this means that your policy includes coverage for damages incurred as a result of injury in any auto accident, regardless of who was at fault, up to $10,000 minus your deductible. In simpler terms, it means that if you were not seriously injured in a hit and run, you will get reimbursed for some or all medical bills and lost wages. PIP insurance also applies to other vehicle injuries, such as children injured on school buses and bicyclists or pedestrians injured by a vehicle. Contact a personal injury attorney for more information.
Uninsured motorist coverage and collision coverage
But what if you didn’t suffer any physical injuries, and the only real damage was done to your poor car? This is where uninsured motorist and collision coverages come in. Unlike PIP, these aren’t required coverage, but rather are add-ons that you can choose to include with your policy. These can be particularly beneficial in the event of a hit and run, particularly if the other driver is never found. With these types of coverage, you can file a claim to recoup some or even all of your losses, as long as you can provide proof that another vehicle did, in fact, hit you (i.e., visible paint from another car, witness accounts, etc.)
Okay, so what does all this mean for my monthly premiums?
Even for St. Petersburg residents living in a no fault state such Florida, you may end up seeing an increase in your monthly premiums. If you choose to file a claim following a hit and run, your insurance company will look at all the factors involved not only in the accident, but also in terms of what type of coverage you have and what your driving history looks like. From there, they will assess their own risk in providing insurance to you, which will directly reflect in your monthly premiums. For example, if you’ve filed several claims in the last couple of years, your insurance company will likely view you as a higher risk and may, therefore, increase your rates. However, if the hit and run is your first claim, they may be a bit more understanding and not adjust your rates at all.
In summary, there’s no easy answer to whether or not your insurance rates will spike following a hit and run. Each situation is different, and the unique circumstances involved will ultimately be the deciding factor in whether or not you end up footing a bigger bill each month.