New Hampshire is one of the few states in the nation that does not require drivers to have car insurance. Unfortunately, because of this, many people think it does not matter whether they carry car insurance, but is this true?
HPM insurance agents provide the truth behind the consequences of either not having NH car insurance or letting your NH car insurance cancel.
Consequences of Cancelling NH Car Insurance
Is Car Insurance Required in NH?
Like most things in insurance, it depends. If the question is, does the state of New Hampshire require you to have car insurance, the answer is not usually.
That said, the state would require you to purchase insurance with a specific filing attached, known as an SR22. NH would require this filing if you were involved in an uninsured accident or found guilty of a major moving violation (DUI, speeding over 25 mph, reckless driving, etc.) If you are required to maintain an SR22 and choose not to and still drive, the consequences are severe, with fines and penalties.
If you are not in this situation, then you are not typically required to carry car insurance by the state.
If I Let My New Hampshire Car Insurance Cancel, What Happens?
The impact of letting your car insurance cancel can vary from no impact to severe impact, depending on if you had a claim.
You Could Be Liable for Damages and Injuries During an Accident
Without insurance, you could be liable for damages or injuries that arise from an accident. But of course, whether you’re liable in a specific situation depends upon the accident's particulars. Still, you won’t have the protection of an auto policy to shield and defend you.
Of course, facing a liability claim that arises from an accident can be expensive. Legal costs alone can be substantial, and settlements can reach five-, six- or even seven-figure sums depending on the extent of the harm caused. So, if someone sustains lifelong injuries or dies in an accident, be prepared to cover an expensive lawsuit.
As agents, we sometimes hear that a person does not have much money, so there is nothing for the courts to take. Though that may seem to be the case, courts can attach current and future earnings, as well as retirement accounts and property.
You Need Insurance When Driving in Other States
Although you might not need auto coverage in New Hampshire, most other states still require drivers -- including out-of-state drivers -- to carry a policy. So depending on where you go, you could need an auto policy to drive in other places.
💡 This is why it is a good idea to carry a current insurance card with you, in case pulled over.
Most notable for New Hampshire residents, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont have minimum coverage requirements. As a result, you generally can’t drive on roads in these states without suitable coverage, and you might face substantial fines or other consequences if caught doing so.
Your Vehicle Might Be Seized If It’s Financed
If you have a loan against your vehicle, the lender may seize it when they find out it’s no longer adequately insured. Loan agreements commonly include minimum auto coverage requirements to protect the lender’s interest in the vehicle, and violating a loan in this way can justify the forfeiture of the car.
Don't think your lender will find out? If the lender was listed on the policy, they would likely get a letter notifying them of the policy cancellation.
Policies Will Likely Cost More in the Future
If you buy car insurance after letting your policy cancel, you’ll likely find that insurers will charge more for the same levels of protection.
Insurers can check whether a driver has had any gaps in coverage, and higher premiums are usually charged if there are any gaps. You might see higher premiums for three years after allowing your coverage to cancel.
Get Auto Coverage That’s Right for You
If you’re worried about a policy cancellation, contact the independent insurance agents at HPM Insurance. Because we’re an independent agency, our team can show you policy options from many different insurers so that you can find one that fits your situation. If your auto coverage has already been canceled and you need a new policy, we can help with that too.