At HPM Insurance of New Hampshire, it is our job to help guide our clients through the complexities of insurance. Over the years we have answered thousands of questions, but here is a list of the top 5 most frequently asked questions.
1. Can anyone drive my car and be covered by my NH car insurance policy?
Anyone with a valid US license can borrow your car with your permission and be covered if he or she does not live with you or is not a regular operator of the vehicle. If they do live with you and/or drive the car regularly, then the insurance company would be looking that the driver be listed and rated on the policy or show proof that they are insured with another insurance company.
For example, if your brother is visiting from out-of-state and needs to run out for a quick errand with your car, there would be coverage should he be involved in an accident. However, if your brother lives with you and does not have his own insurance, then he would need to be listed as a driver and hence rated on the auto policy. Insurance companies want to ensure that they are rating a risk properly; however the premium may not change if you add an adult driver with a clean driving history.
One thing to note is that the insurance on the car is primary. If someone borrows your car and is involved in an accident, then it is your insurance that will respond first, not the drivers.
2. I have had a claim and the company adjuster missed something on the repair estimate. What do I do?
It is very common for a repair shop to find additional damage that was overlooked at the time of the original estimate because not all damage can be seen without taking apart the vehicle. If this happens the shop must contact the adjuster immediately. The shop and adjuster may be able to work it out over the phone, or it may require a second inspection by the company. It is very important to keep the insurance adjuster in the loop as to what is going on, especially if you renting a car while y our vehicle is being repaired.
3. I don't want to add my son to my car insurance because it will cost too much and I never let him touch my car. Can my insurance company add him to the policy without my permission?
According the NH Insurance Department - Yes. The auto policy defines a "family member" as a person who is related to the named insured or spouse by blood, marriage or adoption and who resides in the named insured's household. This definition also includes a ward or foster child or children that are away at college. This means that if someone in your home fits this definition and does not have their own insurance policy; your insurance company can add them to yours.
4. Does my NH car insurance cover me if I go to Canada?
Almost all NH auto policies limit coverage to the United States, its territories or possessions, Puerto Rico and Canada. If you are planning on going to Mexico or rent a vehicle in a foreign country, you must buy a separate insurance policy.
5. Do I need to buy the insurance when I rent a car?
This is a very popular question, so the HPM Insurance blog has covered this topic in detail in other blogs depending on if you are renting a car or a truck. For information on renting a car, please see Does My NH Car Insurance Cover My Car Rental and if renting a truck or van, Will My NH Car Insurance Cover the Moving Truck or Van I Rent?
The contract to a car insurance policy is long and complex. Before you make any assumptions about what or who is covered or not, turn to an insurance professional, like HPM Insurance, and let them take some of the mystery out.