The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
New Hampshire is unique in that it is the only state in the U.S. that does not require a minimum amount of liability car insurance. If you are stopped by a police officer and cannot provide proof of insurance, you will not be fined or experience any penalties (except in a few cases that we will explain below).
Although insurance isn’t requuired, it is never a good idea to drive without auto insurance. Even in New Hampshire, if you are in an at-fault accident, you are liable for all costs involved in the accident, whether it is medical bills or property damage. Without car insurance, you could be facing thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
New Hampshire car insurance is not expensive compared to national averages. A minimum liability policy in New Hampshire costs an average of $321 annually, compared to the national average of $563; while a full coverage New Hampshire policy is $1,099, compared to the national rate of $1,738.
Car insurance laws in New Hampshire
Although not required by law, New Hampshire minimum car insurance recommendations are 25/50/25. What that means is as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability: This is the amount your insurance company will pay for the injuries incurred by a single person in an at-fault accident.
- $50,000 total bodily injury per accident: If more than one person is injured in an accident, this is the total that your insurer will pay for all injuries in a single accident.
- $25,000 property damage: This coverage pays for damage to the other driver’s car, or any property that you hit, such as a fence or light post.
- $1,000 medical payments: This would go toward your injuries, or those of your passengers, in an accident.
There are a few categories of driver who are required to carry insurance in New Hampshire. These include those who have been convicted of a DUI, those who have been convicted of driving offenses such as leaving the scene of an accident, and those who were at fault for a previous accident when they did not have insurance.
Liability insurance in New Hampshire
The lack of laws regarding New Hampshire auto insurance requirements does not excuse you from responsibility if you are in an accident. Anyone who drives should carry an auto insurance policy to protect themselves from financial consequences of an accident.
New Hampshire’s suggested minimums may not be enough if you cause an accident with significant injuries or damage. Healthcare in New Hampshire can be expensive, and an accident that results in a hospital stay, surgery or extensive rehab would quickly use up the minimum 25/50 liability coverage.
Likewise, $25,000 for property damage would not be enough if you were in an accident that totaled a newer-model car, SUV or truck. The average cost of a new car in the U.S. is more than $36,000, so if you carried the minimum-suggested PD coverage and totaled a new car in an at-fault accident, you could still face tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
Note, too, that New Hampshire minimum car insurance is for liability coverage, which is designed to protect the other driver, their car, and their passengers. In order to be protected yourself, you should consider additional coverage options that will pay for your own injuries or damage.
Is New Hampshire a no-fault state?
New Hampshire is not one of 12 no-fault states in the U.S. In these states, you file your insurance claim with your own company no matter who is at fault, and you are limited in your ability to file a lawsuit against the other party in an accident.
No-fault states also require the purchase of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for your injuries in an accident. Because New Hampshire does not follow this format, PIP coverage is not available and you are able to sue another driver if necessary and file a claim for your pain and suffering, as well as medical costs.
Penalties for driving without insurance in New Hampshire
Since New Hampshire insurance laws do not require you to carry auto insurance, you cannot be penalized if you are involved in a traffic stop and the police officer asks for proof of insurance. If you are in one of the categories of driver we mentioned above, however, such as those who have been convicted of a DUI, you are required to carry proof of insurance with you whenever you are behind the wheel. If this is the case, you may face fines, license suspension and the requirement to file an SR-22 certificate of insurance.
Additional auto insurance coverage options in New Hampshire
In addition to liability and medpay, New Hampshire drivers have access to a number of optional insurance types that provide more robust coverage and give them additional financial protection following an accident. Some of these optional coverages include:
- Collision: This pays for damage to your vehicle in an accident. It may be required if you lease your car or have a loan, and there is usually a $250-$2,000 deductible.
- Comprehensive: This type of insurance pays for non-accident-related mishaps, such as theft, vandalism or weather-related damage. It also has a deductible.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: Roughly 10% of New Hampshire drivers do not carry car insurance. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, this type of coverage would help pay for your care and damage if they are unable to do so. It would also kick in if the other driver’s insurance is not adequate to meet all the bills associated with an accident.
- Gap coverage: If your car is totaled, you’ll get a check for the vehicle’s depreciated value from your insurer. However, if you owe more than this amount on a car loan, this coverage will pay for the difference.
- New car replacement: If your new car (less than two years) is totaled, this coverage will allow you to purchase a new car of the same make and model, rather than just getting a check for its depreciated value.
- Rental reimbursement: If your car is being repaired after an accident, this coverage will pay for a rental car.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company in New Hampshire?
There are a number of national and regional insurers writing solid policies in New Hampshire. To find the best one for you, consider price, customer service and the breadth of coverage options available.
What is the cheapest car insurance in New Hampshire?
There is no one car insurance company that is always the cheapest for everyone. Numerous factors go into determining your premium, from the age and model of your car, to your credit rating and even your marital status. You can, however, start your search with our listing of the companies that are writing the most inexpensive policies in 2021.
Why should I get car insurance if it is not required in New Hampshire?
Simply put, unless your financial situation would allow you to pay out many thousands of dollars in the event of a serious accident, you should have car insurance. Even if it is not mandated by law, you are still responsible for any charges that occur following an at-fault accident.