Unlike most states, New Hampshire does not require car insurance for most drivers, although there are a few exceptions. But even if it is not required by law, having a solid car insurance policy in the Granite State is often a good idea. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team took a close look at what you need to know to protect yourself financially with the right New Hampshire car insurance policy for your needs.

Does New Hampshire require car insurance?

Although New Hampshire doesn’t require car insurance by law, you would be liable for any costs associated with an accident you cause, including medical bills and the cost to repair or replace property. If you are not in a position to pay for damages out of pocket in the event of an accident or other vehicle mishap — potentially to the tune of thousands of dollars — you will likely want to consider purchasing car insurance in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire auto insurance laws

New Hampshire car insurance laws deviate from most states and can be a bit complicated in how they work. Even though auto insurance is not required here, New Hampshire still has minimum requirements for those who choose to purchase it:

  • $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.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person and $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident

However, there are a few exceptional circumstances in which New Hampshire drivers may be mandated to purchase car insurance. 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

New Hampshire’s suggested minimums may not be enough if you cause an accident with significant injuries or damage. Health care 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 $46,000. If you carry the minimum-suggested property damage coverage, you could still face tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.

Note, too, that New Hampshire minimum car insurance is simply liability coverage, which is designed to protect the other driver, their car and their passengers. To protect your finances, you may want to consider additional coverage options that will help pay for your injuries or damage. Coverage types like collision, comprehensive and medical payments can help handle repair or replacement costs for your vehicle and injuries you or your passengers sustain.

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 auto insurance laws do not require you to purchase coverage, you cannot be penalized if you are involved in a traffic stop and the police officer asks for proof of insurance. However, if you identify with one of the exceptions we mentioned above, such as having a previous DUI conviction, you may be legally mandated to carry proof of insurance with you whenever you are behind the wheel. If this is the case and you are caught driving uninsured, 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 medical payments, New Hampshire drivers have access to optional insurance that provides more robust coverage and gives them additional financial protection following an accident. Some of these optional coverage types include:

  • Collision: This helps pay 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 helps pay for non-accident-related mishaps, such as theft, vandalism or weather-related damage. It also has a deductible.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: Roughly 7.8 percent 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 the other driver is 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 help pay for the difference.
  • New car replacement: If your new car (usually less than two years old) 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 help pay for a rental car.

Frequently asked questions

    • No single insurance company in New Hampshire is always going to have the best policy available for everyone since each driver’s needs are unique. To find the best option, consider your priorities. Do you have a teen driver in your family? You may want to consider a policy from a company known for writing affordable coverage for young drivers. Do you have marks on your license from previous infractions? You may want to look at insurance for high-risk drivers. Are you a military member stationed at Portsmouth Shipyard? Some insurers offer special rates for service personnel. Determining what’s most important to you is likely to help you narrow down your choices and find the best car insurance for your needs.
    • Broadly speaking, The Hanover and USAA may offer some of the cheapest car insurance in New Hampshire. However, numerous factors go into determining your premium, from the age and model of your car to your driving history and even your marital status. Experts recommend comparing personalized quotes from several companies. Quotes are free aside from the time investment it takes to gather them, which can be expedited by using online comparison tools. For reference, the average annual cost of car insurance in NH is $1,700 for full coverage and $435 for minimum.
    • The main goal of insurance products is to provide financial security to policyholders or their beneficiaries. The lack of laws requiring car insurance in New Hampshire doesn’t remove the financial threats associated with driving an automobile. Although if you’re lucky you’ll never need to file a claim on it, having an auto insurance policy can help prevent you from needing to pay significant sums out of pocket in the case of an auto accident or similar event.
    • Saving on car insurance in New Hampshire may be done in several ways. Two of the most accessible methods are shopping around for lower rates and finding discounts that you are eligible for. Obtain free quotes from several auto insurers and compare their estimates to see which offers the best rates. Then compare their discounts to see who has the most savings that you are likely to be eligible for. Combining these two approaches may help you save money on New Hampshire car insurance.