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What to do after a hit-and-run in New Hampshire

Car crash

Getting in an accident can be a disorienting experience, and you may find yourself unsure of what to do. The one thing you absolutely should not do is leave the scene without exchanging information with other drivers. Nobody wants to experience a hit-and-run, but understanding local laws and your insurance coverage details may help you feel more prepared in case you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

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Hit-and-runs in New Hampshire

A hit-and-run accident is one in which the at-fault driver hits a pedestrian, stationary object or another vehicle and leaves the scene without stopping to render aid or exchange information. New Hampshire hit-and-run law states that a driver must stop if they are involved in any accident that causes death, injury or property damage. Failure to do so is considered a misdemeanor, and in some cases, a felony.

In addition, a police report is required if there is damage in excess of $1,000. Even if the damage does not exceed this limit, it’s typically a good idea to call the police. A police report can be a valuable document if and when you file an insurance claim for damages and can help to establish fault for the incident, even if the other driver flees the scene.

New Hampshire hit-and-run laws

Causing an accident and fleeing the scene is a crime in New Hampshire. You are required by law to stop following a collision and give the other driver or property owner your name, address, license number and insurance information. If the other person is injured, you must give this information to a police officer. Either you or the officer must submit a report within 15 days to the DMV. If you fail to follow these instructions, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. Giving false information increases the potential charge to a class B felony.

If you are involved in a hit and run that involves property damage or an unattended vehicle, you can face a class A misdemeanor that carries penalties of up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.

If you are involved in an accident that results in death or serious injury, you may face a class B felony that can result in up to seven years in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.

How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in New Hampshire

If you are involved in a hit-and-run and flee the scene or do not follow proper protocol post-collision, you may be required to file a New Hampshire SR-22 if you are caught. Hit-and-runs are among the more serious high-risk driving behaviors that can cause insurers to charge higher premiums, as it may signal that the driver is more likely to be involved in future accidents. As such, this incident on your motor vehicle record could have serious financial impacts. While the average cost of a full coverage auto policy in New Hampshire is $1,262 per year, this could increase significantly without a clean driving record.

Involvement in a hit-and-run will also likely impact your insurance. If the at-fault driver is found, they are responsible for damages and medical costs, but if they cannot be found, you may need to file a claim on your own policy. You could see your rates increase after this, although likely not as much as if you were at-fault in the accident.

6 things to do after a hit-and-run in New Hampshire

You may be wondering what to do in New Hampshire after a hit-and-run. With safety as your top priority, here are a few considerations you may find helpful to review, in the event you are ever the victim of this type of incident.

  1. Be safe: If you can safely do so, get your car off the road or to a safe shoulder. If you’re on a heavily trafficked road, be very careful about exiting the vehicle.
  2. Check for injuries: Assess yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved for injuries and seek medical help immediately if necessary.
  3. Call the police: Calling for medical help will typically also trigger a police response, but separate from any requests for medical assistance, it’s best to contact the authorities, particularly with a hit-and-run. A police report can help establish fault and make your insurance claim filing process go more smoothly.
  4. Gather documentation: If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the damage and the road you were on at the time of the incident. If you don’t have a camera or smartphone, write down as many details as you can, including the weather and the level of traffic. If you see possible witnesses, you could also ask them for their contact information and see if they’re willing to stay and talk to the police.
  5. Cooperate with the police: If there is any information that you can give officers to help them track down the perpetrator, it is helpful to cooperate.
  6. File your insurance claim: If possible and necessary, contact your insurer to open a claim. Call your agent, who can answer questions and review your policy with you. Or, if you prefer, many insurers now allow you to file a claim online via a website or mobile app.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Auto insurance policies may cover you in the event of a hit-and-run if the other driver cannot be found, depending what type of coverage is included on your policy. The first step is determining if the other driver can be found. If found and determined to be at fault for the incident, the offending driver’s liability insurance should cover your damages and medical costs.

If the other driver is not located, a few coverage types may be useful immediately. Per New Hampshire statutes, if you purchase auto insurance you must also buy at least $1,000 in medical payment coverage. This coverage may allow you to file a claim for medical expense reimbursement whether the other driver is found or not.

New Hampshire law also requires you to buy uninsured motorist coverage if you carry a policy. Your coverage for this will typically be equal to your liability limits and might be able to be used to file a claim for damages following a hit-and-run. If you have a full coverage policy, your collision coverage may also be used for your vehicle damages, although you will have to pay your deductible.

Frequently asked questions

    • The average cost of a full coverage insurance policy in New Hampshire is $1,262 per year, which is below the national average of $2,014 per year. Your specific rate will depend largely on factors unique to you, including your age, motor vehicle record and insurance-based credit score (in most states).
    • The best car insurance company is likely to be different for each driver and will depend on a number of factors. One way to find the best company for you is to gather quotes from at least three auto insurers to find the right balance of affordability, coverage or discount options, and customer service.
    • Without identifying information about the driver who caused a hit-and-run, it will be very difficult to determine whether or not they have insurance. If you are able to obtain security footage of the incident, you can try to identify the car’s license plate number, which could help the police look for leads on who caused the accident.
    • Conduct after an accident in New Hampshire is a penalty that can be issued to a driver who hits another vehicle or property and drives off without exchanging information. This is typically considered a misdemeanor in New Hampshire but can be considered a felony if serious injury or death occurs as a result of the accident.

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