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Published: March 21, 2022Last updated: October 25, 2022

Buying New Hampshire Car Insurance

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New Hampshire is one of two states in the U.S. that doesn’t require car insurance. If you prove you can meet the financial responsibility requirements — a total of $100,000 in liability — you can drive without insurance legally.

That said, most people don’t have $100,000 lying around to deposit in the form of money or securities. If that’s the case, you can prove your responsibility by getting car insurance, which costs a quarter less than the national average in the “Live Free or Die” state.

New Hampshire Doesn’t Require Car Insurance

New Hampshire is a state with no car insurance requirement. But while it doesn’t technically require car insurance, there are still financial responsibility requirements in New Hampshire. You have to prove you can meet these motor vehicle financial responsibility requirements:

You can either buy liability coverage from a typical auto insurance company or, if you have $100,000 in money or securities, deposit it and give the receipt to a state treasurer to prove your liability.

Light BulbNOTE

If you’re getting the $100,000 in securities, you can buy it through a savings bank or take it from a trust fund.2

Do You Need More Coverage?

Liability coverage isn’t enough to protect you financially if you cause a car accident or get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. We recommend full-coverage car insurance in order to cover your injuries and medical payments. Full-coverage insurance includes liability coverage, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and medical payments coverage.

Get as much coverage as you can afford to pay for in premiums, or at least $500,000 for injuries or damages. For collision and comprehensive coverage, the limit will be your car’s actual market value (AMV).

The Cost of Car Insurance in New Hampshire

The good news is that, even if you can’t self-insure with that handy $100,000, car insurance is cheap in New Hampshire. On average, New Hampshirites paid only $864.35 for car insurance in 2019, the last year the National Association of Insurance Commissioners published national data. That’s 24% less than the U.S. average!3

Of course, some groups pay more than others. For example, car insurance for teens costs up to $6,192.65 a year. But if you have a long and clean driving record, you could pay only $208 annually. Learn more about what affects the cost of insurance.

Available Providers

Even though the state doesn’t require it, many people choose to protect themselves financially by getting car insurance from one of these providers:

  • Allstate
  • Amica
  • Concord
  • GEICO
  • Hanover
  • Liberty Mutual
  • MetLife (Farmers)
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • Travelers
  • USAA
  • Vermont Mutual

Read how to get the cheapest car insurance in New Hampshire (even though the state doesn’t require drivers to carry auto insurance, be it for bodily injury liability, medical bills coverage, or any other insurance products). Prices vary by company, just as insurance requirements vary by state.

How to Get Low-Cost Car Insurance in New Hampshire

Car insurance in New Hampshire may already be a quarter cheaper than in the rest of the country, but that doesn’t mean you want to stop the savings there. To get the best price on auto insurance and lower your costs even more, you can raise your deductible, lower your limits, drop coverages you don’t need (like rental car coverage), get insurance discounts from your insurance agent, or bundle multiple vehicles under one policy or multiple policies under one provider.

Do I Need Proof of Insurance?

Since New Hampshire doesn’t require car insurance, you won’t need proof of insurance while driving. You can’t get in trouble for driving without insurance either.

CheckFYI

You can also register and buy a car without insurance in New Hampshire.

State Driving Laws

Although New Hampshire (the city of Keene in particular) is known for its libertarian values, it does have some state laws around driving.

At-Fault State

New Hampshire’s at-fault laws mean that a driver who causes an accident will need to pay for the other driver’s property damages and bodily injuries, be it through car insurance or that $100,000 deposit. The victim can sue the perpetrator and receive money for their damages, provided the victim is less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. To put this in legalese, New Hampshire has modified comparative negligence laws.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is one of the many coverages that New Hampshire doesn’t require. As such, insurance companies aren’t legally required to offer uninsured motorist coverage, though you could stack your limits if you have multiple cars. To stack coverage, multiply your uninsured motorist liability limits with your number of cars, and you’ll have your new limit.

Even though the state doesn’t require drivers to carry car insurance, most drivers have it anyway – 94% of licensed New Hampshirites, in fact. That rate is only 10 percent lower than the national average4. Perhaps it’s due to the low cost.

DUI Laws

If you get a DUI in New Hampshire, it’ll stay on your record for 10 years, with a six-month license suspension for your first offense (with no driving privileges at all).

You’ll also be required to install an ignition interlock for one to two years, depending on whether your blood alcohol concentration is 0.16 percent or higher. If that’s the case, your DUI will turn into a Class A misdemeanor and could carry a penalty of one to five years of jail time, a fine of $750 to $2,000, and the ignition interlock.

Seat Belt Laws

In the spirit of “Live Free or Die,” New Hampshire doesn’t require adults to wear seat belts in cars, no matter what seat they’re in. However, it does require drivers under 18 to wear seat belts, and this law is under primary enforcement, meaning police can stop you for this violation alone.

Distracted Driving Laws

No one in New Hampshire is allowed to use handheld electronic devices while driving, and this law is also under primary enforcement. If you’re caught, you could face a fine or (if you’re under 18) even a license suspension. These are the fines for texting and driving offenses specifically:

Offense number First Second Subsequent offenses within two years
Fine for texting and driving $100 $250 $500

You’ll receive two points on your driving record for every violation of the handheld ban. Learn more about the dangers of distracted driving.

Teen Driver Laws

Like other states, New Hampshire places more restrictions on teen drivers than any other group. Drivers under 18:

  • Can’t drive between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Can’t drive more than one passenger under the age of 25 unless they’re family or accompanied by a licensed and responsible driver age 25 or older during the first six months of being licensed.
  • Can’t have more passengers than the number of seat belts or safety restraints in the vehicle.

The DMV director can suspend or revoke the license of someone under 20 following a hearing or conviction on certain offenses that demonstrated a “repeated disregard for public safety.”

  • First offense: 20-day maximum suspension
  • Second offense: 45-day maximum suspension
  • Third and subsequent offenses: 90-day maximum suspension

Young drivers’ licenses can also be suspended for getting too many points on their driving record within a certain period.

Number of points Time period of points (in calendar years) Maximum license suspension for drivers under 18 (in months) Maximum license suspension for drivers under 21 (in months)
6 1 3 N/A
9 1 N/A 3
12 2 6 N/A
15 2 N/A 6
18 3 12 N/A
21 3 N/A 125

Here are the number of points you’ll get for each violation type.

Motor vehicle violations offense Number of demerit points
Allowing an improper person to drive a commercial vehicle 2
Failing to display or produce a license for an officer 2
Abandoning a vehicle 3
Failing to use due care 3
Speeding at a rate of 1-24 mph over posted limit 3
Driving without proof of financial responsibility 4
Failing to drive on the right-hand side of the road 4
Improper passing 4
Speeding at a rate of 25 mph or more over posted limit 4
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) 6
Aggravated DWI 6
Altering the vehicle title 6
Changing or removing the vehicle ID number 6
Neglecting proper conduct after an accident 6
Disobeying a police officer 6
Falsely reporting a theft 6
Lending a license to a minor for them to purchase alcohol 6
Tampering with the odometer 6
Violating prohibition 6
Road racing 6
Violating school bus rules 6
Taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent 6
Transporting drugs in a motor vehicle 6

Additionally, if you amass two or more speeding tickets within the first two years of your license, you’ll have to carry minimum coverage, with an SR-22 form to prove it, for three years.

Claims Statute of Limitations

You have three years following a car accident to file a property damage or personal injury claim. If you wait more than three years, your coverage becomes null and void, according to the state’s statute of limitations.

Cancellation and Non-Renewal Notification Laws

Insurance companies can cancel your policy if you don’t pay the premium, misrepresented yourself in your applications or claims, or have a revoked or suspended driver’s license. Companies have 60 days to alert you before your plan expires midterm, or 45 days if the cancellation is due to nonpayment.

However, New Hampshire doesn’t require companies to notify you if they choose to not renew your policy at the end of its term, so be aware of your policy’s expiration date. It may be legal not to have car insurance, but gaps in coverage will lead to higher prices when you reinstate your insurance.

Self-Insurance

Since New Hampshire doesn’t require car insurance, you can self-insure simply by having $100,000, depositing it as money or securities, and giving the receipt to the state’s treasurer.

Inspection Requirements

Within 10 days of registering your car, you have to get it inspected, followed by annual inspections within 10 days following your birth month. You can take your car to any authorized car dealership in the state or any state-licensed inspection station (which you can find at https://nhinspect.com/entire-state/). Fees range from $20 to $50 per vehicle.

SR-22s

New Hampshire requires an SR-22 (proof of minimum insurance) in some cases, like if you’ve been:

  • Convicted of a DWI.
  • Decertified as a habitual offender.
  • Made to appear at administrative hearings for demerit points.
  • Found at fault for an uninsured accident.
  • Found leaving the scene of an accident (also known as a hit-and-run).
  • Found conducting yourself poorly after an accident.
  • Convicted of a second offense of reckless operation.
  • Made to pay two or more speeding tickets within the first two years of having your license.

You’ll need to keep this form (and minimum coverage) for three years following your license reinstatement, your decertification hearing, or date of the accident.

Defensive Driving

If you have three or more points on your driving record, you can take a defensive driving course to remove them. See your options here: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/financial-responsibility/improvement.htm.

Thresholds for Civil Suits

New Hampshire doesn’t pose any specific monetary or serious injury thresholds that you must meet before filing a civil suit.

Accident Reporting Requirements

In New Hampshire, you must report any accident with an injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 within five days. If you don’t, you’ll receive a felony charge (if the accident involved death or injury) or a misdemeanor charge (if the accident involved property damage only).

Credit Scores and Gender Pricing Laws

New Hampshire allows car insurance providers to base prices off both credit scores and gender, so you could pay more if you have poor credit or are male.

Total Loss

Whether or not the accident was your fault, if your car’s repairs cost at least 75 percent more than its AMV, it’ll be declared a total loss. Instead of making the repairs, you’ll get reimbursed for your car’s AMV, as long as your claim was covered.

Important Contact Information

Here’s everything you need to know when registering your car for the first time and beyond in New Hampshire.

Registration

For either a new or renewed registration, you’ll start at your town or city clerk’s office and pay the town/city fees in addition to the $8 license plate fee. If it’s a registration renewal, bring your current registration, and after you pay the permit fees, you’ll be all set.

But for new registrations, you’ll then register your new car with the state, either by making an appointment online with your local DMV office or through the state’s dropbox service.

  • Online appointment: Fill out the form at this URL: https://wb-nhdmv.qmatic.cloud/qmaticwebbooking/index.html#/.
  • Dropbox service: Find a dropbox near you in the table below.
City Dropbox location
Concord 23 Hazen Drive
Dover 50 Boston Harbor Road
Epping 315 Calef Highway
Gorham 491 Main St. (Mountain Valley Plaza)
Keene 149 Emerald St., Suites A-1 and A-2
Manchester 377 S. Willow St.
Milford 4 Meadowbrook Drive
Nashua 110 Broad St.
Newport 20 N. Main St.
Salem 154 Main St.
Tamworth 1864 White Mountain Highway
Twin Mountain 549 Route 302 W.

In any case, you won’t need insurance to register your vehicle because, again, the state doesn’t require it.

DMV Contact Information

You can contact the DMV in one of three ways.

  • Mailing address:
    • NH Department of Safety
      Division of Motor Vehicles
      23 Hazen Drive
      Concord, NH 03305
  • Phone number: 603-227-4000
  • Email: NH.DMVHelp@dos.nh.gov

Duplicate Car Title

Lost a copy of your car title? You can get a copy in a few easy steps.

  1. Get the form. Print out the form at https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/forms/documents/tdmv18.pdf, or pick it up from your local DMV.
  2. Fill it out. Fill out all sections of the form.
  3. Get $24. Your duplicate car title fee will be $24.
  4. Send the form. Mail the form and the money to this address:
      NH Department of Safety
      DMV — Title
      23 Hazen Drive
      Concord, NH 03305

Getting the form notarized isn’t necessary, but unfortunately, there’s no online option for a duplicate car title.

New Hampshire Insurance Department

Find the contact information for the state’s insurance department below.

  • URL: https://www.nh.gov/insurance/
  • Phone number: 603-271-2261
  • Mailing address:
    • 21 S. Fruit St., Suite 14
      Concord, NH 03301-7317

The Cost of Car Repairs in New Hampshire

Car repairs in New Hampshire cost an average of $365.71, which is 5 percent less than the national average. The majority of the cost, an estimated $231.28, is for parts, while only $134.43 is for labor.6

Crime and Fatality Rates

Does your car insurance cover theft? What if someone hits your car and causes death? Auto theft and traffic fatalities are two factors you should consider when driving in New Hampshire.

Motor Vehicle Theft

Fortunately, New Hampshire has low rates of car theft – only 76 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in a year. That’s 22 percent lower than the national average, according to FBI data.7

The only area in New Hampshire with higher rates is the part of southern New Hampshire surrounding the Boston area, with 96 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants. But in the Manchester-Nashua area, the state’s most populated cities, rates are lower than the state average.

Metropolitan statistical area Number of motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 96
Manchester-Nashua, NH 698

Traffic Deaths

New Hampshire ranks 44th in the country when it comes to traffic fatality rates, with only 101 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. That’s 601 percent lower than the national average.9

Conclusion

That’s it for New Hampshire, but if you want to learn more, read our state driving statistics, or keep learning about auto insurance in New Hampshire with our auto insurance FAQs below.

Frequently Asked Questions

In a lightning round, we’re answering the questions we get the most about New Hampshire car insurance.

Is it mandatory to have car insurance in New Hampshire?

It is not mandatory to have car insurance in New Hampshire. Rather, you can deposit $100,000 of cash or securities and give the receipt to a state treasurer to prove you can meet the state’s motor vehicle financial responsibility requirements:

  • $25,000 of bodily injuries or deaths to one person
  • $50,000 of bodily injuries or deaths to two or more people
  • $25,000 of property damage per vehicle

Even though the state doesn’t require car insurance, 94 percent of licensed drivers in New Hampshire have it anyway, rather than making the $100,000 deposit.

Why doesn’t New Hampshire require car insurance?

New Hampshire doesn’t require car insurance because it allows you to show your financial responsibility in a different way — by depositing $100,000 worth of money or securities and giving the receipt to the state treasurer. In general, New Hampshire is known for its libertarian legislation, which explains the state slogan “Live Free or Die.” A libertarian viewpoint calls for the maximum amount of freedom, with little intervention from the state.

Is car insurance cheaper in New Hampshire or Massachusetts?

Car insurance is cheaper in New Hampshire than in Massachusetts. In 2019, the average annual cost of car insurance in New Hampshire was only $847.58 — 38 percent lower than the average in Massachusetts, which was $1,167.16, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. While auto insurance costs in New Hampshire are 25 percent lower than the national average, they’re 9 percent higher in Massachusetts.

Is New Hampshire a no-fault state for auto insurance?

No, New Hampshire is not a no-fault state for auto insurance. It’s an at-fault state, so the at-fault party in an accident would be responsible for the other party’s property damages and bodily injuries.

Citations

  1. ACCIDENTS AND FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. The General Court of New Hampshire. (1982). http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xxi/264/264-mrg.htm

  2. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. NAIC. (2022). https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  3. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar). https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UM%20NR%20032221.pdf

  4. Driver Licensing Requirements for Minors. New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles. (2022). https://www.dmv.nh.gov/drivers-licensenon-driver-ids/driver-licensing-requirements-minors

  5. State Repair Cost Rankings. CarMD. (2020). https://www.carmd.com/wp/vehicle-health-index-introduction/2020-carmd-state-index/

  6. Crime in the United States. FBI. (2019). https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/tables/table-4

  7. NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. NICB. (2021, Aug). https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/nicb-hot-spots-auto-thefts-significantly-across-country

  8. Fatality Facts 2019 State by state. IIHS. (2019). https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/state-by-state