When you’re in an auto accident, the last thing you may expect is for the driver to flee the scene. Unfortunately, it happens all the time, which is why it’s so incredibly important to give us a call or visit us here at the Alexander Agency of St Charles to ensure that you have the right coverage. Every state has different laws regarding hit-and-run incidents. Knowing the particulars about the law can help you protect yourself in case you are ever in a hit-and-run accident.

Unmasking the Culprit: Hit and Run Incidents in Missouri:

In Missouri, a hit-and-run is legally defined as being knowingly involved in an accident with another vehicle and not stopping to take appropriate responsibility. Any of the other parties along with law enforcement need to assess proper ID, along with coverage information and their version of the story. Nearly 40% of crashes in St Louis are hit-and-runs, which correlates with our city’s long struggle with reckless driving and collisions as fatalities have gone up by over 55%. 

Hit and Run in the Show-Me State: Penalties and Prevention:

The party responsible for a hit-and-run in Missouri is liable for the other driver’s vehicle damage, along with complete medical expenses recouping for the passengers and driver injured. Missouri hit-and-run laws also state that a driver who causes a hit-and-run that results in property damage of any type can be charged with a misdemeanor. If a driver causes bodily injury or even worse, fatalities, they could spend up to 4 years in prison and/or be fined up to $5,000.

How do Hit-and-Runs Affect Missouri Insurance Rates?

On average, auto insurance costs drivers in the Show Me State just under $3,200 per year. An at-fault accident will likely drastically increase this number, with at-fault accidents resulting in a hit-and-run increasing it even more. Additionally, drivers run the risk of losing their license after a hit-and-run, and would need to obtain an SR-22 form from their insurance company, which cannot always be accommodated. The driver might be required to switch companies, and would be categorized as “high risk”.

Top 3 Most Important Things to Do After a Hit-and-Run:

If you are in an accident and the other driver flees the scene, knowing what steps to take can help you protect yourself. Even though you may be in shock, your priority should always be to see if anyone is hurt. It’s important to call the police right away, and call 911 if someone needs medical attention. If the traffic is heavy, you should turn your hazard lights before proceeding with the following steps: 

  • Contact the Authorities: Bystanders and those involved with the accident may want to try and take charge, but you should leave this to the authorities. Any insurance claims that stem from the incident are made official by a police report. Even if it appears that there is no damage, police in Missouri will often investigate hit-and-run occurrences, as they are considered a fairly serious offense.
  • Take Note of the Damage: Once you have come to a complete stop in a safe area, it’s time to assess the damage and document everything you can. It is much easier to take clear photos than it was years ago, and these could be very helpful during the claims process. If your car needs to be towed, it’s important to take note of exactly where it’s going while you are dealing with multiple issues at once.
  • Contact us Immediately: The most important step is to contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. One of our experienced specialists here at the Alexander Agency of St Charles will look at your policy to see what types of coverage will apply and can explain the claim process in detail.

Will My Insurance Cover My Hit and Run Accident?

What your insurance policy covers after a hit-and-run crash depends on the type of coverage you have.

Collision Coverage: The first type of insurance needed for hit-and-run accidents is collision coverage. This helps with the costs of repairing damage to your car after you are hit by another vehicle. If your car is rendered a total loss, this type of insurance will cover your vehicle’s full value. Missouri requires that drivers carry collision coverage (at a minimum).

How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works in Missouri:

A Missouri driver can collect damages from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance after the accident. With uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim which allows you to repair your car and get treatment you need without waiting for court approval. Even though car insurance is mandated in the state of Missouri, an average of 17% of drivers are not legally covered. As a result, the costs of fatal accidents in Missouri are 1.3 billion each year. 

Don’t allow a hit-and-run accident to throw a roadblock in your plans! We have seen firsthand the damage that occurs when drivers aren’t fully protected against deviant individuals on the road. It can be shocking to find yourself a victim, but it’s quite a relief to secure the right protection!