What’s the New Hampshire Uninsured Motorist Law?

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  • What’s the New Hampshire Uninsured Motorist Law?

New Hampshire is one of two states in America that legally permits residents to drive without insurance. However, residents must prove they can maintain financial responsibility in an at-fault accident with their savings if they forgo coverage. Drivers who can’t maintain financial responsibility in an at-fault accident without the help of an insurance policy are legally required to have a policy.

Those legally required to have a policy in the Granite State must have a minimum limit of uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI/UIMBI) coverage. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of uninsured motorist coverage on a New Hampshire auto insurance policy, what underinsured motorist coverage covers, and what you may want to know about driving uninsured in the state. 

What’s the New Hampshire Uninsured Motorist Law?

While auto insurance in New Hampshire isn’t legally required for everyone, it’s necessary for some. Those who can’t prove financial responsibility in an at-fault accident with the money they have saved may be required to have a policy. Those with several at-fault accidents on their driving record or who have committed other serious traffic violations may also legally require a policy.

The minimum legal amount of coverage in the Granite State for those who must have a policy is $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, $25,000 in property damage liability per accident (25/50/25 liability coverage), $25,000 in uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI/UIMBI) per person, $50,000 in UMBI/UIMBI per accident (25/50 UMBI/UIMBI), and $1,000 in medical payments coverage, or MedPay. Those who lease or finance their vehicles may need a full coverage policy with comprehensive and collision coverages as part of their leasing or financing agreement.

Those who legally require a policy but fail to maintain one may face the consequences of driving without insurance in the state. Those who drive illegally uninsured may face penalties like fines, fees, and license and registration suspension. Plus, those who require a policy but fail to maintain one may risk filing for SR-22 insurance, which may raise one’s premiums to double or triple the average rate in the state. 

Uninsured drivers in the Granite State are on the hook for all the expenses in an at-fault accident since New Hampshire isn’t a no-fault state but a tort state. Tort states require at least one party to be considered at fault in every accident. If the victim in an accident has a minimum coverage policy, they may use their UMBI/UIMBI coverage up to their policy limit, and the uninsured, at-fault driver is on the hook for the remainder of the expenses. If the uninsured, at-fault driver is injured in the accident, they must pay all their expenses out of pocket. 

New Hampshire is a modified comparative negligence state when it comes to legal action following an accident. That means that if a driver is over 50% at fault in an accident, they’re significantly barred from pursuing legal action for damages. However, accident victims may sue the at-fault driver. So, if the at-fault driver is uninsured, they may need to pay for legal defense out of pocket on top of the other expenses they owe.

On average, a full coverage policy in the Granite State costs about $1,210 in annual premiums. A minimum coverage policy has about half the coverage of a full coverage one, so it costs, on average, about $600 annually. While drivers may legally drive without a policy, paying the annual premium is often cheaper than risking financial ruin in an at-fault accident.  

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Uninsured Motorist Coverage in New Hampshire Explained

New Hampshire law requires those who must have an auto insurance policy to have a minimum limit of 25/50 UMBI/UIMBI coverage. Drivers who need an auto insurance policy must have UMBI/UIMBI because some drivers may legally drive uninsured. Since driving uninsured is legal for some drivers in the state, there’s an increased chance drivers may be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Mandating UMBI//UIMBI for drivers who must have a policy helps ensure those most vulnerable on the road have extra protection when they get behind the wheel.

Drivers with full coverage policies may decide to raise their UMBI/UIMBI limits above what’s required by law. They may also add optional coverages onto their policies, like uninsured or underinsured motorist property damage (UMPD/UIMPD), collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and gap coverage, among other additional coverage types. While many drivers opt to carry a full coverage policy because New Hampshire is one of the cheapest states for auto insurance, those required to have auto insurance may only be legally obligated to have a minimum coverage policy that meets the state’s requirements.

The cheapest policy in the state will likely be a minimum coverage policy, but that may not be the safest option. A full coverage policy carries far more protection for various accident scenarios and higher limits for the coverage types offered with a minimum coverage policy. While a full coverage policy is more expensive than a minimum coverage one, some of the top insurers in the state may offer such policies with lower-than-average starting rates and many discounts drivers can stack to lower their premiums even further. 

Do I Need Underinsured Motorist Coverage in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are lumped in as one coverage type. While some drivers don’t require a car insurance policy, those who need one must have a minimum limit of UMBI/UIMBI coverage. While an uninsured motorist is someone who lacks a car insurance policy, an underinsured motorist is someone who has an insurance policy, but it doesn’t quite cover one’s owed expenses.

Suppose two insured drivers get into an accident. In this scenario, the insured victim can invoke their UIMBI coverage after exceeding the at-fault policyholder’s bodily injury liability coverage limit to help them cover the remainder of their medical expenses. UIMBI can only be used if the at-fault driver has an active and adequate policy. Otherwise, if the policyholder lacks a policy or their policy doesn’t meet the state’s minimum coverage requirements, they’re considered uninsured, and the victim would instead use their UMBI coverage to pay for their medical costs. 

How To Find Car Insurance Quotes in New Hampshire

Whether you need a policy, want a policy, or are trying to see if you have room in your budget for one, the best way to see what types of New Hampshire auto insurance policies you may be eligible for is to get and compare quotes online. By getting and comparing quotes online, you can tailor your policy to your needs, raise your uninsured motorist limit past the legal minimum, and ensure your policy stays within your budget by checking out the discounts offered by different insurers. 

Luckily, we’re quoting experts here at Clovered. We even have a free quoting tool you can use to access your unique quotes in just minutes. If you’d rather speak with a professional about your quote or any lingering questions about uninsured motorist coverage in the Granite State, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our licensed agents at 833-255-4117 or agent@clovered.com.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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