New Hampshire is a land of classic New England beauty, and it’s also one of the cheapest states for car insurance in the country. It consistently ranks in the bottom five states for lowest average premiums—but that’s not even the most noteworthy part of the state’s auto insurance system.
This also happens to be the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t mandate car insurance coverage (or an alternative form of demonstrating financial accountability). Opting out of coverage may seem like a great way to help out the monthly budget, but it’s not a very good idea.
Accidents happen. The vast majority of drivers are involved in at least one eventually. If you’re in a crash and don’t have insurance, you’re on the hook for all associated costs, including any you cause for others. And these expenses can be astronomical.
Instead of gambling with your financial stability, pick up a policy that’s right for you. Again, New Hampshire has relatively low rates, and you can further minimize your costs by comparison shopping for the best rates. SmartFinancial’s carrier-neutral system lets you do that quickly and easily, right here and right now, all for free!
Overwhelmed at the idea of shopping for car insurance? Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve listed the top three auto insurance companies for New Hampshire (see the full list).
When you’re comparing car insurance companies, pay close attention to the number of rejected claims and the overall satisfaction scores. And make sure you ask for the same coverage limits and discounts; there’s no point in comparing apples to oranges.
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Many motorists think auto insurance is an unnecessary expense because they’ve never benefited from it. But you can’t predict the future and you can’t control other drivers on the road. There’s no way to know if or when you’ll be involved in a crash, how much damage will result, or whether the other driver will have insurance. Obtaining auto insurance protects you, your family, your car, and your financial well-being.
New Hampshire Driving Safety
Innumerable factors can trigger a motor vehicle collision. Some of the most common causes of traffic accidents in New Hampshire include distracted driving, speeding, aggressive driving, driving under the influence, and weather conditions. No matter how careful you are, there are dangers on the road beyond your control. It’s crucial to maintain adequate levels of auto insurance coverage.
Let’s look at some New Hampshire safety statistics below.
New Hampshire participates in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States. The TCI is a collaboration of certain jurisdictions aiming to reduce oil dependence and transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and to encourage a clean-energy economy. The state’s focus on green driving is one reason you should expect more incentives for eco-friendly vehicles in the future. For now, see if you qualify for one of the incentives below.
The state requires most vehicles to undergo an emissions test during an annual safety inspection to maintain valid registration. This includes alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids. However, electric vehicles are exempt from these tests.
New Hampshire motorists who choose to drive green may be eligible for a variety of federal tax credits that can result in huge savings each year. Credits are available for those who buy electric cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, diesel vehicles, and other alternative fuel vehicles.
Want to save money on your car insurance while helping to save the planet? Buy and drive eco-friendly vehicles! Certain New Hampshire insurance carriers reward green driving with substantial discounts on auto insurance policies. These savings generally apply to drivers of hybrids, alternative fuel vehicles, and economy cars. Low mileage and pay-as-you-drive discounts are also available.
New Hampshire motor vehicle laws don’t require residents to carry auto insurance, as long as you can show ability to provide sufficient funds to meet the state’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Requirements in the event of an “at fault” accident. If this financial responsibility cannot be met, your driving privileges may be suspended. However, it’s a good idea to carry auto insurance to protect yourself in case of an accident.
Assuming you choose to purchase car insurance in New Hampshire, the minimum limits are $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 for two or more people injured in an accident, and $25,000 to cover damage to property. Per New Hampshire Statutes, if you buy personal use auto insurance, you must also buy medical payments coverage of at least $1,000, as well as uninsured motorist coverage.
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Coverage for multiple people injured in a single accident
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
Minimum required coverage may or may not be enough to pay for all damage and injuries following an accident. It also doesn’t cover certain types of damage and car problems occurring outside a collision with another vehicle or while you’re driving. Optional coverages are a smart way to protect your wallet in these circumstances.
Even though it isn’t required by law, lenders typically insist that you carry collision and comprehensive auto insurance on any financed vehicle. They may also require additional coverages. Consider these added costs when calculating the price of your auto loan.
For some helpful purchasing tips, see our article called 11 Mistakes People Make When Shopping for Auto Insurance.
*This list is based on the ratings for the New England region of the United States in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Consumer ratings are derived from five key customer service areas: price, claims, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
Children in New Hampshire are required to ride in a federally approved safety seat until they reach 7 years of age or 57 inches in height. Infants should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the weight and length limits listed by the manufacturer. At that point, they can move to a forward-facing seat until around the age of 4 years, when a booster seat becomes more appropriate.
Children are only ready to move out of a safety seat and begin using the vehicle’s seat belt when they can sit all the way back against the seat with their knees bent comfortable at the edge of the seat. The shoulder belt should cross the shoulder and chest, and should not rub against the neck or face. Additionally, the lap belt should lay across the upper thighs.
Drivers who fail to properly restrain children in their vehicle face a fine of $50 for a first offense and $100 for a second or subsequent offense. Also of note, New Hampshire is the only state with no adult seat belt law.
Although there are no laws directly addressing leaving children unattended in a vehicle, the practice is extremely dangerous and those who fail to supervise children may be charged with child neglect or endangerment. It takes only moments for a child to become dehydrated and overheated in a parked car, putting them at risk for heat stroke, brain injury, and death. Plus, children left unattended are at increased risk of accidental injury and abduction.
New Hampshire citizens who encounter an unattended child in a vehicle who may be in danger due to excessive heat or cold are urged to call 9-1-1 and remain with the child and the vehicle until the authorities arrive.
Yes. Insurance companies in New Hampshire can review your credit history and adjust your rate based on what they find in it.
You may qualify for discounts from various insurance companies when buying or renewing an auto insurance policy. One of these is a discount for safe driving and generally requires an accident-free period of several years. Ask about available discounts when shopping around for coverage, as these can add up to a significant savings on your monthly premium. Some common discounts available in New Hampshire include:
Yes, you may display proof of insurance on your electronic mobile device. However, New Hampshire is the only state where you’re not required to carry auto insurance. If you’re in an accident, you will be liable for the associated costs, though.
Insurance coverage is not mandatory in New Hampshire and therefore there is no penalty for a lapse in coverage. If you’re involved in an accident, are uninsured, and are unable to meet your financial responsibilities associated with the collision, there are serious consequences.
It’s illegal for individuals to operate a vehicle in New Hampshire with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
If your BAC is 0.16% or higher in New Hampshire, you can be charged with aggravated DUI and face greater penalties, including longer jail time.
As part of the state’s “implied consent” law, New Hampshire requires motorists to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test if pulled over and suspected of driving while impaired. Failure to submit to a chemical test will result in license revocations for 180 days for a first refusal and no prior DWI conviction, and revocation for two years if there’s a prior refusal or DWI conviction.
Driving while impaired in New Hampshire carries a minimum penalty of license suspension for 90 days to 2 years. Other penalties include fees and fines, probation, jail time, community service, and more. The penalties you face depend on whether your impaired driving resulted in injury or death, whether you’re a repeat offender, and other circumstances at the time of arrest.
Defensive driving courses are an excellent way to reduce your insurance premiums while improving your driving skills. Most carriers offer this option, buy double check with yours. Any course you take should be approved by the state, or your insurance company may not accept your certificate of completion.
Yes! First and foremost, be sure to comparison shop for the lowest rates. Choose a higher deductible in exchange for lower premium payments and, if possible, pay off a full policy term upfront instead of in monthly installments. Also, sign up for all possible discounts, and be careful to keep your credit score in check and your driving record clean.
Yes. Assuming you demonstrate financial responsibility with a personal auto insurance policy, it must include this coverage type. Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection should injuries occur in an accident with an at-fault uninsured driver or with a hit-and-run driver. New Hampshire requires uninsured motorist coverage to be purchased at limits equal to the minimum liability coverage.
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