It’s not legally required to carry car insurance in New Hampshire, so you won’t face penalties for getting into an accident while uninsured—as long as the accident wasn’t your fault. New Hampshire drivers don’t have to be insured as long as they can demonstrate financial responsibility.
New Hampshire joins
Virginiaas one of two states in the country that don't obligate drivers to purchase car insurance. However, both states have set up legal parameters for drivers who opt out of insurance.
In New Hampshire, drivers can decline car insurance as long as they’re able to demonstrate financial responsibility. In other words, if you cause a car accident and are uninsured, you must pay for the other party’s damages with your own money.
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Jerryis giving you all the details about what to do if you’re in a car accident without New Hampshire insurance, but not at fault. We’ll discuss how New Hampshire’s Financial Responsibility Law affects accidents—including what legal repercussions you could face if you’re ordered to pay out damages after a collision—and don’t, plus some ways you can save money on insurance coverage should you choose to carry it.
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What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in New Hampshire and not at fault
The sudden shock of getting into a car accident is scary, but try not to panic. Instead, the first thing to do is stop and pull your vehicle to the side of the road if you’re able to. Then, take a moment to assess whether you or someone in your vehicle needs immediate medical attention.
If someone is seriously hurt, call 9-1-1 immediately. As long as you’re not in urgent need of medical care, the next step is to speak with the other driver(s) involved in the collision. This is the part where you’ll need to exchange insurance information.
Seeing as it’s New Hampshire, it wouldn’t be shocking—or even illegal—if you or the other involved party is uninsured. But it could be a problem if whichever driver is determined to be at fault for the accident violates New Hampshire’s
Financial Responsibility Law. This is a state law that requires uninsured, at-fault drivers to pay out of pocket for the other party’s bodily injuries and/or vehicle damage.
Failure to compensate the other driver may result in your license and registration being suspended. If you are injured in the crash, you’ll also be responsible for payment of your car repairs and medical bills.
These expenses can rack up quickly, which may have you second-guessing if opting out of insurance coverage in New Hampshire was the best decision. Be that as it may, if you’re tempted to hightail it away from the scene of the accident without stopping and speaking to the other driver—don’t do it.
Fleeing the scene of an accident is considered a
hit-and-run. This is an extremely serious offense that comes with some very unsavory consequences. A hit-and-run conviction in New Hampshire could carry the following penalties:
- A minimum fine of $1,200
- Maintaining SR-22 insurance for three years
- Up to seven years in jail if injury, death, or property damage occurred
- Conviction of a class B felony if injury, death, or property damage occurred
Regardless of how you view the circumstances of the accident, stop, stay calm, and call for help if someone involved has been injured. Even if you end up being at fault for the accident and don’t have insurance, the consequences will be much less severe than if you are caught trying to leave the scene.
What you should do is document the aftermath of the crash by taking photos of vehicular damage and bodily injuries. You may also want to take witness statements. All this documented information could be vital to your case should you decide to
file a claimwith the other driver’s insurance provider.
Who decides fault in a car accident in New Hampshire?
If the accident was serious enough that police arrived on the scene, the police report helps determine which driver caused the collision. In the end, though, it’s up to the insurance company to decide who is at fault for the accident.
This is why submitting your post-crash documentation to the other driver’s insurer is such a crucial move—especially if this evidence shows that you were the victim of the incident.
Do you need to report a car accident in New Hampshire?
Yes. If the accident you were involved in caused bodily injury, death, or property damage totaling $1,000 or more, you must report the accident in writing to the
New Hampshire DMVwithin 15 days of its occurrence.
You should also complete a
State of New Hampshire Operator’s Reportwhen you make the accident known to the DMV. Even if there was a police report created after the crash, it could take weeks for the DMV to receive it. If you’re planning to put in a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, physical documents like the Operator’s Report will help your case.
Time is also of the essence if you plan to file a lawsuit for personal injury after the accident. You’ll have three years from the date of the occurrence to sue the other driver for damages. After that, the statute of limitation will expire.
What if you’re at fault?
New Hampshire uses modified comparative negligence to determine fault in car accidents. You’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed 51% or more negligent for the accident.
If you don’t have insurance, you won’t get hit with the lawbook at the time of the crash. However, if you fail to compensate the other party, the not-at-fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages, and you may have your registration and license suspended for violating the New Hampshire Financial Responsibility Law.
What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in New Hampshire?
If the other driver is at fault, the situation works the same way. They will not necessarily be penalized for driving without insurance immediately after the accident, but if they do not reimburse your damages, they will be in violation of the Financial Responsibility Law and face the appropriate repercussions.
Luckily, if you are carrying insurance in New Hampshire and an uninsured driver hits you, the
uninsured/underinsured motorist coveragethat drivers must carry according to New Hampshire’s legal minimum limits for car insurance can help cover the costs of your damages.
Penalties for driving without insurance in New Hampshire
In exchange for choosing not to purchase car insurance, New Hampshire’s traffic law requires uninsured drivers to demonstrate financial responsibility. That means you’re expected to prove you have sufficient funds to cover damages if you cause a collision that hurts someone or results in property damage. One way people do this is by depositing funds or securities with the state treasurer.
If you do not compensate the other party for damages when you’re determined to be at fault for an accident, you’ll face legal consequences—like temporarily losing your driving and vehicle registration privileges, and having to file for
SR-22 coverageand maintain it for three years. You also put yourself at risk of being sued if you don’t pay the injured party.
Seeing as the most straightforward way to demonstrate financial responsibility to the state still costs money, most drivers find it easier to simply purchase car insurance. The act of purchasing car insurance is another way to show financial responsibility as a registered driver in New Hampshire.
Minimum required car insurance in New Hampshire
If you choose to be insured, you must have a minimum amount of
liability coverage. This type of insurance primarily covers damages sustained by the other party if you’re at fault in an accident, but it can also be a huge help if you get hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Let’s see what a minimum liability policy in New Hampshire covers:
About 10% of drivers in New Hampshire are uninsured, so even if you’re only carrying liability coverage and are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver who isn’t able to compensate you fully for your injuries, the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for bodily injury and MedPay can assist with these accident-related costs.
Drivers who are financing a newer vehicle may want to look into getting full coverage rather than liability insurance. Full coverage offers a lot more protection because it typically includes
comprehensive coverage. Collision insurance will reimburse you for vehicle damage even if the accident was your fault, while comprehensive coverage comes to your aid if your car is damaged from severe weather, vandalism, or even
Driving illegally can increase premiums
If you’ve had your license and registration suspended in New Hampshire for breaking the Financial Responsibility Law, your decision to drive without car insurance when you couldn’t afford to do so will negatively affect your driving record.
On average, drivers who have been required by law to file for SR-22 insurance in New Hampshire see a 19% increase in coverage rates for a period of three to five years.
That’s because drivers who’ve had to file for SR-22 insurance are classified as high-risk drivers. Insurers aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to offer coverage to individuals who have a history of disregarding traffic law—so you should expect your annual premium to be more expensive if you’ve been convicted of driving illegally. That being said, the best shot you have at lowering your car insurance rate as soon as possible is to maintain a
clean driving recordand shop around for the lowest-priced coverage.
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