What to do after a hit and run in Tennessee?

Hit-and-run accidents are when an individual causes an accident and then leaves the scene. A hit-and-run accident can have a negative impact on your Tennessee car insurance. The annual average full coverage rate for car insurance in Tennessee is $1,338, which increases 107% to $2,763 after a hit-and-run accident, according to 2021 data obtained from Quadrant Information Services.

Hit-and-runs are just one reason drivers in most states are required to carry car insurance, which can pay for your injuries and property damage if the other driver is not found. It is important that you understand what a hit-and run means for Tennessee’s auto insurance costs.

Tennessee hit-and-runs

A hit-and-run is when someone is involved in an accident with another vehicle, property, or person and doesn’t stop at the scene to give their information. These types of accidents have increased in recent years, with 48 hit-and-runs involving at least one fatality occurring in Tennessee in the last year that data was available, according to the AAA Foundation.

The Insurance Research Council estimates that as of 2019, 23.7% of Tennessee drivers are uninsured–the third highest in the country. A good way to protect yourself on Tennessee roads is to have enough insurance to cover your vehicle and your injuries if you are hit-and-run.

Tennessee hit-and-run laws

According to the hit-and-run Tennessee statute, if you cause an accident with injuries or death of another person in a public area–near a shopping center, apartment complexes or on highways–you must stop at or as close to the scene as possible, provide your information and render aid. You must provide your name, address and vehicle registration number as well as insurance information. You must render aid, which means that you provide reasonable assistance to the victim.

If it is suspected that property damage of $50 or more has occurred, the driver is required to notify the police about the accident. If you fail to stop, you could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class A Felony. A Class A misdemeanor can lead to fines of up to $2,500 and up to 29 days in jail. Driver’s license suspension may also be possible. A Class E Felony could result in up to six years in jail and potentially having your driver’s license revoked.

A Class C misdemeanor is committed if property damage is involved. A Class C misdemeanor can lead to up to 30 days imprisonment, $50 in fines, and the requirement to complete driver’s education classes. Drivers who cause property damage exceeding $400 may have their drivers license suspended or revoked. If you are involved in a hit-and-run in Tennessee and get a ticket for leaving the scene, you could face higher insurance rates, a cancelled policy or be required to carry high-risk car insurance.

What impact do hit-and-runs have on car insurance rates in Tennessee?

Hit-and-run in Tennessee is a serious offense. The law includes fines, jail time, license suspension or revocation for drivers who leave the accident scene. Drivers in Tennessee may also face insurance penalties, which could include meeting SR-22 requirements as a high-risk driver.

A hit-and-run can result in higher car insurance rates than a regular car accident. The rate increases after a car accident are $516 higher than the average Tennessee full coverage car insurance rate of $1,338 per annum. For the same coverage, Tennessee drivers will pay $1,425 less if they are hit-and-run. These rates are comparable to those for hit-and runs and standard car accidents.

Five things you can do after a Tennessee hit-and-run

You could be a victim to a hit-and run in Tennessee due to the high number of uninsured drivers. To avoid getting hit-and-run charges, you should stop as soon as possible after causing an accident. These steps may help if you’re a victim of a Tennessee hit-and-run.

  1. Stop the car: If you are hit by another driver, get out of the way as quickly as possible.
  2. Assess the scene. If the car is safe to drive and the road is clear, you can move to the shoulder next to the accident site. If your car isn’t driveable, you can get out of it if you aren’t hurt and wait near the accident scene to avoid another accident.
  3. Call for help: If the at-fault driver fled the scene, it is a hit-and run situation. Notify the police if someone is hurt and that an ambulance is needed on the scene.
  4. Keep a record of what happened. While the details are still fresh, include the weather conditions and the exact location. Photograph your car from every angle. If the person who caused the accident is still present, make sure you get their name, address and insurance information.
  5. You should contact your car insurance company if the other driver did not leave the scene. You can also call your insurance company to file a claim if the at-fault driver left the scene.

Is insurance available to cover hit-and-run accidents?

In Tennessee, the minimum liability bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage will not cover injuries or damage caused by an accident. If you are the victim on a hit-and-run in Tennessee, there are several coverages you could consider that will cover your car damages and injuries up to limits specified by your insurance company:

  • Medical payments: Provides financial assistance for medical bills that you may need if you are hurt in an accident.
  • Property damage to an uninsured motorist: This pays to fix your vehicle if it is the victim of a hit and run or the other driver doesn’t have insurance.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily Injury: Covers your injuries if another driver leaves the scene without insurance.
  • Collision coverage: Covers damage to your vehicle as a result of a collision with another vehicle.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage in Tennessee, you will pay a $200 deductible for a hit-and-run. No deductible is required for coverage for bodily injury, property damage, or medical payments.

Questions frequently asked

What is the cost of car insurance?

The average annual cost of full coverage car insurance in Tennessee is $1,338. Multiple factors will affect the rate of car insurance. These include the company you choose, your driving record, and any claims history.

Is Tennessee a state of no fault?

Tennessee is considered an at-fault State. This means that the driver who is found at fault in an accident is responsible to the property damage and injuries they cause. Most insurance experts recommend purchasing more than the state-required minimum liability insurance to better protect your finances, but speak with a licensed agent if you aren’t sure what’s right for you.