If you drive an automobile in the United States, you need to have auto insurance. That’s just the way it is — or is it? While it’s nearly true that car insurance is a legal requirement in all fifty states, there is one particular standout case: New Hampshire. You don’t technically need auto insurance in New Hampshire, although that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for any financial responsibility in case of accident or damage. There are still some consequences and penalties for not having insurance, even in the Granite State — so let’s dig into the details and find out why you might want auto insurance in New Hampshire, even if it’s not legally required.
The Reality of Car Insurance in New Hampshire
New Hampshire is one of two states not requiring motorists to carry auto insurance (the other being Virginia). But that doesn’t mean the state is a free-for-all when it comes to responsibility for accidents. While there’s no mandatory liability minimum for New Hampshire drivers, they still have to provide some proof that they can bear the financial burden of expenses associated with the accident, such as medical or repair bills.
This is called “alternative proof of financial responsibility” and often takes the form of a surety bond, personal liability bond, or deposit with the state treasurer. But most importantly, if you get in an accident and injure yourself or others in the process, you are financially responsible for all the damages, both in terms of property and bodily harm. In a country where health care costs are increasingly out of control, this could easily mean bankruptcy.
It’s also worth noting that the privilege of driving without car insurance in New Hampshire is a fragile one. For example, if you’re convicted of a DUI, or of leaving the scene of an accident, you’ll be required to provide proof of insurance for at least three years following the accident. If you’re uninsured and cause an at-fault accident, you’ll likewise be required to have proof of insurance on hand for three years or more.
Consequences of Lacking Insurance
As previously mentioned, driving without any liability protection means you could not only be held responsible for any damages caused in an accident, but could also be sued if the accident was your fault — and if you’re unable to meet those financial obligations, your license could be suspended or revoked and you could be subject to fines. Just as in the other 48 states, driving without auto insurance could be the road to financial ruin.
Good Reasons to Have Car Insurance in New Hampshire
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at some reasons why you should consider having New Hampshire auto insurance:
For one, cheap New Hampshire car insurance isn’t a myth. As a matter of fact, per numbers from Renata Belasco at insurance comparison site The Zebra, the annual premium for auto insurance in New Hampshire is just $999, a full 35% less than the national average. Even taking on minimal liability coverage could save you thousands in the long run, and won’t break the bank in the meantime.
There’s also the financial security that comes with being protected against lawsuits, massive repair bills, expensive lawsuits, and crippling health care costs. Knowing you’re covered against these sorts of problems can provide a great deal of peace of mind while you’re on the road — far more so than saving a few bucks every month on auto insurance premiums. That peace of mind can count for a lot, especially if you don’t have to worry about the potential financial stress of getting in an accident.
Legal compliance in other states:
There’s also the reality of legal compliance in other states. Sure, New Hampshire doesn’t require you to carry any auto insurance — but that only applies to driving in New Hampshire (and possibly Virginia). If you want to take that car out of state, you’ll have to be in compliance with their auto insurance laws, and that means either paying for insurance or taking a chance that you won’t get pulled over or involved in an accident while behind the wheel. That’s a gamble many motorists will tell you is simply not worth taking.
At first glance, not having to pay for auto insurance seems like a little piece of financial freedom, and in some ways, it is. But when you weigh the monthly costs of a $999 annual premium against the potential costs incurred by an accident — which could easily run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars — the choice is fairly clear. Unless you never plan to drive beyond the boundaries of New Hampshire, it’s wise to find an auto insurance policy. Fortunately, with online tools for comparing quotes, it’s relatively easy to find cheap New Hampshire car insurance.