Understanding New Hampshire Automobile Insurance
Unlike most U.S. states, New Hampshire doesn’t require drivers / vehicle owners in the state to carry motor vehicle insurance. But, that’s not quite the free pass it sounds like. And, most New Hampshire drivers are insured. Here’s what the law actually requires, why most drivers carry auto insurance in New Hampshire, and what to do if you’re hit by an uninsured driver.
Uninsured Drivers Around the Country
Across the United States, there are about 28 million uninsured motorists. Only about 72,000 of those drivers are in New Hampshire. Of course, that’s partly because New Hampshire is a small state and has fewer licensed drivers than many other states. But, that doesn’t tell the whole story.
In terms of percentage of drivers, New Hampshire doesn’t even make the top 10 for uninsured motorists. The top slot goes to Mississippi, where more than 29% of drivers lack insurance. Michigan, Tennessee, New Mexico, Washington and Florida all have rates above 20%. Each of these states requires automobile insurance, though the types and minimum coverage vary from state to state.
In New Hampshire, just 6.1% of drivers are uninsured. That’s among the lowest rates in the country.
New Hampshire Financial Responsibility Requirements
Though New Hampshire drivers aren’t required to carry motor vehicle insurance, driving without insurance can backfire in at least two important ways.
- Drivers who have been involved in an accident or have committed certain types of traffic violations are required to show proof of financial responsibility. If they are uninsured and fail to or are unable to establish proof of financial responsibility, their driving privileges can be suspended until such proof is submitted.
- A driver who is at fault in a car crash and is not insured can be held personally liable for any damages suffered by other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and others injured as a result of the accident. The negligent driver will also be liable for property damage, such as damage to other vehicles and to the property where the accident took place.
Purchasing Car Insurance in New Hampshire
While motor vehicle insurance isn’t legally required in the state of New Hampshire, legal requirements do kick in if you choose to purchase insurance. If you buy car insurance, you must purchase at least:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury, up to $50,000 if 2 or more persons are hurt
- $25,000 for property damage
- $1,000 in no-fault medical pay coverage
- Uninsured motorist coverage in the same amount as your bodily injury liability coverage
You also have the option of purchasing higher limits on the coverages listed above, and to buy additional types of insurance such as:
- Collision coverage, which covers damage to your vehicle sustained in a motor vehicle crash. Though this type of coverage is not required by law, your lender will likely require it if there is a lien on your car.
- Comprehensive coverage, which covers physical damage to your vehicle sustained in other ways, such as through hail damage or a tree branch falling on the roof of your car. Like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage is typically required by a lender if there is a lien on your vehicle.
- Towing coverage, which pays for a tow and associated labor if your vehicle is disabled on the road.
- Rental reimbursement, which covers the cost of a rental car (up to a specific limit) while your vehicle is being repaired.
What to Do If You’re Hit by an Uninsured Driver
There’s another reason New Hampshire drivers should seriously consider purchasing automobile insurance: a driver who is hit by an uninsured motorist may have difficulty securing damages. However, if a New Hampshire resident chooses to buy motor vehicle insurance, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is part of the package.That means the policyholder’s own insurance company will provide coverage when the responsible driver is uninsured or doesn’t have adequate insurance to cover the policyholder’s damages.
You may also be able to collect compensation directly from the driver who was responsible for your accident (though you can’t collect for the same damages from the driver and your insurance company).
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident and suffered significant losses, it is in your best interest to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Whether you will be making a claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier, your own insurance provider, or directly against the driver, the process can be complicated and simple mistakes can seriously harm your case. That’s true even if the claim is with your own insurance carrier–don’t assume they’re on your side just because you are their customer. Insurance companies improve their bottom lines by minimizing the compensation they pay out.
To schedule a free consultation with attorney Kevin P. Broderick, just call 78-459-3085 right now. Kevin has been helping people who were injured in Massachusetts and New Hampshire car accidents for decades, and can provide the knowledge, guidance, and determination you need.
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