In this article, you'll find information on New Hampshire's auto insurance requirements and how they affect a driver's legal rights and options after a crash. We'll look at the kinds of "proof of financial responsibility" New Hampshire drivers are required to have, and how those financial responsibility requirements might affect a driver's decision to carry insurance.
New Hampshire follows a “fault” system -- also known as an “at-fault” or “tort liability” system -- when it comes to auto accidents. This means that drivers in New Hampshire have multiple options when deciding how to get compensation for damages stemming from a car accident. They may file a claim with their own insurance company, file a claim with the other driver's insurance company, or bring the other driver to court by filing a lawsuit.
(By contrast, in a “no-fault” state, drivers must first file a claim with their own insurer, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. New Hampshire drivers don't have to be well-versed in no-fault rules, but if you want to learn more, see No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws: The Basics.)
New Hampshire drivers are required to either purchase auto insurance or show independent proof of their financial responsibility (demonstrating that they have the resources to cover the bills if they cause a car accident; more on this below). For drivers who decide to buy auto insurance, the following minimum amounts of coverage are required under New Hampshire law:
Property damage benefits pay if the accident caused damage to someone else's vehicle or property. Property damage benefits cannot be applied to repairs for your own vehicle, however. For coverage to repair or replace your own damaged vehicle, you should consider purchasing collision coverage and/or comprehensive coverage.
If a vehicle owner chooses to buy a car insurance policy in order to comply with the state's financial responsibility requirement, under New Hampshire Revised Statute 264:15 that policy must include uninsured motorist coverage. Learn more about How Uninsured Motorist Insurance Works.
All New Hampshire drivers have to provide proof of financial responsibility to the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles, for any vehicle operated in the state. Buying an auto insurance policy with the minimum benefits listed above satisfies this requirement. Drivers who do not want to buy insurance, however, may also prove their financial responsibility by filing what's known as an SR-22 with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. New Hampshire drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol are also required to file an SR-22 for a certain number of years.
Your Guide to Auto Insurance Requirements in the Granite State, published by the State of New Hampshire Insurance Department, provides detailed explanations of New Hampshire's auto insurance requirements, plus tips on how to shop for the best policy for your individual needs, and what to do if a crash occurs.