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New Hampshire Auto Insurance Law: Car Insurance Not Required

No Compulsory Car Insurance in NH
Car Insurance is not Mandatory in NH

New Hampshire does not require that all vehicles be insured. Unlike most other U.S. states there is no compulsory auto insurance law in New Hampshire.

As a practical matter, when most people buy a new vehicle, they need a car loan, and lenders won’t allow the car to be driven off the lot without insurance. But, for those who can pay cash for a car, who buy cheap used vehicles, or who have paid off their loan, auto insurance is not required.

New Hampshire is one of the few states that do not require insurance on all vehicles.

What If There’s an Accident?

Instead of mandatory insurance, New Hampshire has a ‘Financial Responsibility’ law. If an uninsured driver causes an accident, they are then required to post a bond or cash equal to the amount of damage caused by that accident.

If an uninsured New Hampshire driver causes personal injury or over $1,000 in property damage, the state can suspend their driver’s license and registration privileges.

If you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured New Hampshire driver, you can request suspension of their driver license and registration. Submit the following to the Safety Department ‘Financial Responsibility Crash Unit’:

  1. copy of a police report or operator report,
  2. written damage estimate
  3. written request for suspension/revocation.

After New Hampshire drivers without auto insurance are found at fault they’re required to file proof of insurance for a minimum of three years. New Hampshire’s ‘Financial Responsibility’ law allows continued operation of a motor vehicle only with proof of insurance.  Coverage must have minimum limits of $25,000 per person,  $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries caused to another.

If You Are Injured by a New Hampshire Driver Without Auto Insurance

The section above summarizes available penalties against the uninsured. They depend on the machinations of government.  But, what about those injured by uninsured drivers?  You can sit and wait for the person to pay an order to compensate your damages.  But, do you really think someone who drove without insurance will suddenly be responsible enough to pay?

The Uninsured Provision in your own auto insurance policy pays for your injuries in this scenario. The biggest question I get is why claim against my own insurance company when I wasn’t at fault?  Won’t my rates go up?  Rates don’t increase if you were not at fault.  Also, you’ve been paying your own insurance, shouldn’t you make a claim where you’ve been paying for that right?

For details about uninsured insurance coverage, click here.

Proof of Insurance in New Hampshire – What is an SR-22?

The proof of insurance form previously uninsured New Hampshire drivers must file after causing an at-fault accident is called an SR-22. The “Safety Responsibility” requirement also applies to those convicted of DWI, habitual offenders and others whose licenses have been suspended when they seek reinstatement.

Uninsured NH Drivers Crossing Borders

New Hampshire drivers who drive into other states cross into a world where most states require auto insurance. In Massachusetts those driving uninsured face fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 or imprisonment up to one year.  Also any vehicle driven in Massachusetts for more than 30 days in a year must be insured.  Compulsory insurance also applies to any vehicle whose owner lives or works in MA.

Sources for information in this article: NH RSA 264:3 and M.G.L. c. 90: Section 34J

5 thoughts on “New Hampshire Auto Insurance Law: Car Insurance Not Required”

  1. NH drivers without insurance can drive in any of the 50 states without insurance. The privileges and immunities clause makes them exempt from having insurance in their state. Unlike seat belts that do not place a burden, insurance does and they are not required to have it. Why is it that all the stories I hear about this never include the actual laws and cases. If state and local governments are writing tickets, they are committing a crime and remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse particularly if you are the judge.

    1. Dear Larry;
      You are correct in that under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, each state must give deference to the laws of all of the other states. It’s why you don’t need a new driver’s license when you drive over state lines. There are in fact some enforceable exceptions in this case, for example if your car is not garaged in NH and you claim NH residency but actually keep the car in Mass you will in fact be ticketed for uninsured and possibly unregistered and towed. Also if you work in Mass and drive there every day from NH they’ll enforce the law and once you move out of NH into Mass you have only 30 days to re register the vehicle and insure it in Mass. Note that the blog article you replied to in fact does have citations as does the second article to which it linked. If you’re reading other blogs that do not cite to actual laws and regulations, let them know. Finally, no matter how frustrated we all might be in something that happens in court, telling the judge he is ignorant of the law would not make it a good day. Hire an attorney to finesse your frustration.
      One additional point is that in the world of enforcement of regulations you will find a whole body of administrative law and procedure in which the niceties of judicial practice do not always apply.
      Thank you for reading and responding to responding to my blog.

  2. Thanks for pointing out that people should insure their cars whether it’s required in NH or not. I was hit by a guy who blew a red light and had no insurance. If I was uninsured I would have been out of luck because the guy had an old car and likely zero assets to pay my damages. My insurance took care of the damage he caused. We reported it to the Department of Motor Vehicle and I understand they took away his license. That is the legal process. Again, glad I had insurance to take care of this.

    1. No. If you were not at fault for the car accident and the other driver was at fault for hitting your car, you should not have to pay the deductible for collision repairs. Best wishes with it.

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Attorney Myers is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers, and New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. The Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers offer a broad range of legal services in personal injury cases in Massachusetts (MA) and New Hampshire (NH) areas.

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