Car after an hit and run accident in foreground. If You Get Into a Car Accident and the Other Driver Takes Off, Who's Responsible?

A hit and run is when a driver fails to stop at the scene of an accident in which another person or property has been involved. In Florida, 25% of accidents are hit and run. In the unfortunate event that you're involved in one of these accidents, do you know how your car insurance will help you?

Car insurance can save the day in a hit and run, but only if you have the right coverage. Make sure you're set up with the policy you need with a Florida independent insurance agent

What Are the Charges If a Driver Commits a Hit and Run in Florida?

It's illegal in Florida to leave the scene of an accident. The penalties range from fines to jail time, depending on the severity of the damage and injuries. 

Hit and Run Penalties


Leaving the scene of the crash with:
Property Damage Second Degree Misdemeanor
Up to 60 days in prison and $500 fine
Injuries Second or third degree felony
Revoked license for at least 3 years
Up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 fine
Fatalities First degree felony
Revoked license for at least 3 years
Mandatory minimum of 4 years in prison, up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine


Who Pays for Damage If the At-Fault Driver Takes Off?

Sadly, if the at-fault driver in an accident drives away, the person left at the scene is the one who has to pay for the damage. Fortunately, your Florida car insurance could include coverage for a hit-and-run accident, but only if you have the right protection. In any event, if you're involved in a hit and run, you should take the following steps:

  • Immediately call the police, especially if anyone is injured, so you can file a police report.
  • Try to remember everything you can about the driver that hit you, including the make, model, and color of their vehicle and any license plate information.
  • Document any damage to your vehicle with photos and video.
  • Call your independent insurance agent to discuss your coverage and the next steps.
  • Call your insurance company to report the incident and file a claim.

Never attempt to follow the other driver. It's best to stay at the scene and call the police and your insurance in order to report the accident as soon as possible.

What Does Car Insurance Cover in Florida?

In order to operate a vehicle on Florida roads, you're required to show proof of some insurance. This includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL). 

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Covers medical expenses related to an accident no matter who is at fault. PIP insurance in Florida will cover 80% of expenses up to $10,000.
  • Property Damage Liability (PDL): Pays for third-party property damage that you or someone else driving your vehicle causes. Florida requires a $10,000 minimum of PDL coverage for all drivers. 

In addition to these required coverages, you can choose optional coverages to add to your policy.

  • Collision coverage: This covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled in a collision, regardless of fault. 
  • Comprehensive coverage: This covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled by a non-collision event such as a hailstorm or theft. 
  • Bodily injury liability coverage: This pays medical expenses for injuries to another person that you cause with your vehicle. It will also pay legal and court fees if you're sued by another driver. 

Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida?

One of the most important accident coverages to have as part of your Florida car insurance is uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. This coverage is not mandatory in Florida, but it's what will protect you in a a hit and run. 

Uninsured motorist coverage pays for injuries that are sustained if you're in an accident with a driver who does not have adequate insurance. It also steps in if the at-fault driver leaves the scene. 

In Florida, 26.7% of drivers are uninsured. To avoid having to pay for an accident with one of these drivers out of pocket, your agent can help you get set up with uninsured motorist coverage.

Do You Have to Pay a Deductible in a Hit-and-Run Accident?

If you end up being a victim of a hit-and-run accident in Florida, there are a few ways insurance can help you. For property damage, you can make a claim under your collision coverage. This will help pay for damage to your vehicle and any other property damage whether or not you're able to identify the driver. Collision coverage is optional and you would be responsible for the deductible.

If there are injuries, your personal injury protection coverage, which is mandatory in Florida, would help pay for medical expenses. 

You can also file a claim through your uninsured motorist coverage if you have it. However, uninsured motorist coverage will not pay for property damage. If you didn't have collision or uninsured motorist coverage in your policy, you'd be left paying out of pocket for the incident.

Will My Rates Be Affected Even Though I’m Not Responsible for the Crash?

Anytime you're in an accident and you need to file a claim with your insurance, your rates are likely to increase. Unfortunately, insurance companies aren't looking at who caused the accident, but instead focusing on how steep of a payout they had to make to cover your damage.

If you're facing increased rates, your independent insurance agent can help review your policy. They can discuss possible discounts or even quote shop a new policy for you.

Why Work with a Florida Independent Insurance Agent?

Living in the state with the highest rate of uninsured drivers puts you at increased risk every time you're on the road. A Florida independent insurance agent can make sure you're set up with the proper insurance in case an unexpected accident occurs.

Agents work for a network of insurance carriers and can shop policies and quotes to find a blend of comprehensive coverage at a price that fits your budget. Speak with an agent today, free of charge, to get started. 

Article Reviewed by | Paul Martin