What to do after a hit and run in Washington

According to data from Quadrant Information Services, your annual full-coverage car insurance premium can go up as high as 90% if you are involved in a Washington hit-and-run.You could face a misdemeanor charge if you’re the driver who fled the scene. Your license will be suspended or revoked.Car insurance costs go sky-high.

Washington: Hit-and-runs

Washington law requires drivers to stay at the accident scene. The law is generally followed by most people. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that Washington was one of the lowest-ranked states regarding hit-and-run fatalities per 100,000 people.

However, Washington experienced an average of 18 hit and run fatalities per year from 2012 to 2016, the most recent year AAA has data. All drivers need to be familiar with Washington’s hit and run laws in order to reduce that number.

Washington hit-and-run laws

The applicable hit-and-run Washington statute here is Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.52.020. This statute specifically states that drivers are legally responsible for providing assistance to anyone who injures or damages vehicles. You could be charged with a misdemeanor if you fail to comply with all requirements.

If you break the Washington hit-and-run law, your license can be revoked for up to one year. And when you can drive again, you should expect some challenges with your car insurance company. After a hit-and-run in Washington, insurance gets harder to come by and significantly more expensive, as you will now be considered a high-risk driver.

Washington: How do hit-and-runs affect car insurance rates

There is no hit-and run insurance. However, there are many types of auto insurance that can protect you in the event of a hit and run, including collision coverage. Even if you aren’t at fault, your premiums will likely increase following a hit-and run accident.

If you are the hit-and-run driver, you might need an SR-22 if you are convicted for leaving the scene of an accident. You will be informed by your insurance company about what you must do to keep coverage. However, the main concern should be to figure out how much car insurance you will need after a hit and run.

There are four things you can do following a Washington hit-and-run

Washington’s hit-and-run law is the same as any other type accident. It might seem tempting to chase a fleeing driver but you must stay still or risk violating Washington’s hit and run law. Do these things instead:

  • Get everyone safe.First, check on everyone involved in the accident. As soon as possible, you should move everyone to the side of the road and stop traffic. Call 911 if you need emergency medical attention.
  • Contact the policeWashington law enforcement is the best way to track down the driver who fled after a hit-and run. They can also document the scene. Call 911 immediately if you have not called for medical attention.
  • Note down everything you remember.Keep track of any details that you remember while everything is fresh and, most likely, while you wait to have the police arrive. If you are able to recall the license plate number of the hit-and run driver, the make and model of their vehicle, and any other information that might help police locate them, take these notes. It is helpful to note any details that you can recall if there are witnesses or passengers in the vehicle. It is also a good idea to take photos of the scene as well as any damage to your car.
  • Start your insurance claim.Your insurance company should be able immediately to help you get started with your claim. You can either call them or go online to their website or app to start your claim. You will get compensation for covered losses if you start your claim as soon as possible.

Is insurance available to cover hit-and-run?

The police should be able locate the driver. Washington insurance is quite simple after the hit-and run. To cover your medical expenses, repairs, or replacement of your vehicle, you can use the liability insurance for the at-fault driver — which is required by the state to be carried by all drivers — up to the policy limits.

If the other driver is not located or does not have insurance, it can become a little more difficult. Your options will then depend on the optional coverages that you have. There are generally two options available:

  • Uninsured motorist coverage.This coverage is added to your policy after a hit and run. Uninsured motorist coverage is similar to liability coverage. It covers bodily injury which pays for medical expenses and property damage which repairs your vehicle. Uninsured motorist coverage will generally not require you to pay a hit-and run deductible, which means that you won’t have to cover any out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Collision coverage.Uninsured motorist coverage is not required. This type of insurance will help to repair or replace your vehicle if you don’t have it. However, collision coverage comes with a deductible that will be deducted from any insurance company payouts.

Questions frequently asked

What is the cost of car insurance?

Car insurance in the Evergreen state is usually quite affordable. For full coverage, average drivers pay $1,200 per year. This includes the optional uninsured driver and collision coverage. The average Washington driver will pay more for insurance in Washington if they are involved in a hit-and run. This means that their insurance premiums could rise to more than $1,200.

Is it possible to hit and run a parked vehicle?

Yes. The relevant hit-and-run Washington statute, RCW 46.52.010, says you need to stop and try to find the affected driver. If you are unable to leave a note with your information on the vehicle you hit, you have a legal obligation.