What to do after a hit and run in Tennessee

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 to understand the consequences of causing a hit-and-run and how it will affect Tennessee auto insurance costs.

Hit-and-runs in Tennessee

When someone is involved in a collision with another car, someone’s property or a person, and does not stop at the scene to provide their information, they have committed a hit-and-run. 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. One of the best ways to protect yourself while on Tennessee roads is to have enough car insurance in place to pay to fix your car and for your own injuries in case you are a victim of 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. The information you must be prepared to provide includes your name, address, vehicle registration number and insurance information. Rendering aid means you must provide reasonable assistance, including calling an ambulance to assist 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. Failure to stop could result in a Class A misdemeanor, or a Class E Felony if you fail to stop and had reasonable belief that the accident resulted in death. A Class A misdemeanor could include fines up to $2,500, up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and driver’s license suspension. A Class E Felony could result in up to six years in jail and potentially having your driver’s license revoked.

Where property damage is involved, causing a hit-and-run accident in Tennessee is considered a Class C misdemeanor. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, up to $50 in fines and a requirement to take driver’s education classes. If property damage is greater than $400, the driver may also have their driver’s 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.

How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Tennessee

A hit-and-run is a serious offense in Tennessee, as the law reflects fines, jail time and license suspension or revocation if you leave the scene of an accident. Drivers in Tennessee may also face insurance penalties, which could include meeting SR-22 requirements as a high-risk driver.

Causing a hit-and-run in Tennessee can increase your car insurance rates more than a standard car accident. Compared to the Tennessee average annual full coverage car insurance rate before an accident of $1,338 per year, the rate increase after a standard car accident is $516 more per year. However, after a hit-and-run, Tennessee drivers can expect to pay $1,425 more per year for the same full coverage car insurance. These rate increases are comparable to the national average increases for hit-and-runs and a standard car accident.Average annual full coverage car insurance premiums before and after a hit-and-run accident

Before a hit-and-runAfter a hit-and-runAfter a standard accident
Tennessee average$1,338$2,763$1,854
National average$1,674$3,367$2,405

Five things to do after a hit-and-run in Tennessee

With a high rate of uninsured drivers in Tennessee, you may become a victim of a hit-and-run at some point. If you cause an accident, no matter how minor, it is best to stop as close as possible to the scene to provide your insurance information and render aid if needed to avoid being charged with a hit-and-run. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run in Tennessee, you may want to follow these steps.

  1. Stop the car: If another driver has hit you, stop as close to the scene as is safe to do so.
  2. Assess the scene: If your car is driveable and in the roadway, move to the shoulder near the accident scene. If the car is not driveable, get out of the car if you are not injured and wait nearby to avoid being involved in another accident, especially if you are traveling a busy road.
  3. Call for help: Make sure you and your passengers are okay, and call the police, especially if the at-fault driver has left the scene, creating a hit-and-run scenario. If someone is injured, notify the police that an ambulance is also needed at the scene.
  4. Document what happened: While it is still fresh, detail the weather conditions, the location where the accident occurred and any other details you can remember. Take photos of your car from all angles. If the person that caused the accident remained at the scene, be sure to get their name, address, vehicle and insurance information.
  5. Contact your car insurance company: If the other person remained at the scene, you should call to file a claim with their insurance company. You can also call your insurance company to file a claim if the at-fault driver left the scene.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

If you cause an accident in Tennessee, minimum liability bodily injury and property damage coverage will only pay for the other party’s injuries and damage. 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: Pays for your medical bills if you are injured in an accident.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: Pays to fix your car if you are the victim of a hit-and-run or the other driver does not have insurance.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: Pays for your injuries if the other driver leaves the scene or does not have insurance.
  • Collision coverage: Pays for damage to your car as the result of any collision with another vehicle.

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

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost?

The average annual cost of full coverage car insurance in Tennessee is $1,338. The rate you pay for car insurance will be determined by multiple factors, including the insurance company, the coverages you select, and your driving and claims history.

Is Tennessee a no fault state?

Tennessee is an at-fault state, which means the driver found at-fault in an accident is responsible for the injuries and property damage 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.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.