If you are in an auto accident and you are at fault, you could be held liable (legally responsible) for bodily injury or property damage resulting from that accident. If a lawsuit is brought by the injured party, a court could order that your assets be used to pay for the resulting damages that are awarded. Even for an accident where you were not at fault or were only partially at fault, the costs of defending yourself against a legal action could be very high.
What if you are involved in an auto accident where the other party is at fault, but they have no money, no insurance, or inadequate insurance and you are injured?
Even regarding an accident where you are not at fault you could incur substantial medical and other costs. In New Hampshire, Auto Insurance Policies provide coverage that would respond to such situations. And don’t forget the damage to your own auto as well. You will need to repair your auto in the event of an accident or other type of property damage loss. This will be paid by you unless you have the proper coverage available under Auto Insurance.
New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Laws do not require you to carry Auto Insurance, but you must be able to demonstrate that you are able to provide sufficient funds to meet New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Requirements in the event of an “at-fault” accident. If you are unable to meet these requirements your driving privileges in New Hampshire may be suspended. For more information on financial responsibility requirements you can refer to New Hampshire Statute RSA 264 or contact the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles at 603-271-3101 or www.nh.gov/safety/dmv.
What Coverage Should I Buy?
Liability Coverage pays for damages to others for which you are legally liable. If you buy Auto Insurance in New Hampshire, the minimum limits available for Liability Coverage are 25/50/25, or $25,000 per person for bodily injury, up to $50,000 if 2 or more persons are hurt, and up to $25,000 for property damage.
Liability Coverage does not pay to repair damage to your own auto. This type of insurance is called Collision (damage due to contact with another auto or object) and Comprehensive (damage incurred due to reasons other than a collision) Coverage.
Per New Hampshire Statutes, NH RSA 264:16, if you buy Auto Insurance for personal use, you must also buy Medical Payments Coverage. Medical Payments Coverage pays for medical expenses incurred as a result of an automobile accident (regardless of fault). By law, you must buy at least $1,000 of Medical Payments Coverage.
New Hampshire has no mandatory insurance law. The Division of Motor Vehicles strongly recommends and urges all owners of motor vehicles to carry standard liability and property damage insurance.
The Division of Motor Vehicles may require that persons have insurance (SR-22). If you fall under an insurance filing requirement, the Division of Motor Vehicles will notify you of this in writing.
A Driver Record Report will reflect whether or not an individual is required to file proof of insurance. This information is displayed either as:
"No proof of financial responsibility is required."
"Proof of financial responsibility is required."
When Proof of Insurance (SR-22) is Required
Below is a list of some examples of why an SR-22 may be required. Please be advised that this list does not contain all the reasons an SR-22 may be required:
- Individuals convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are mandated to file proof of insurance for a minimum of three (3) years from date of conviction for a first offense and longer for subsequent offenses.
- If someone is being decertified as an habitual offender, before license/operating privileges can be restored, that person must file proof of insurance for a minimum of three (3) years from the date of his/her habitual offender decertification hearing.
- Individuals who appear at administrative hearings for certain offenses, such as Demerit Points, may be mandated to file insurance as a condition of retaining a license, or if the license is suspended, as a condition of restoration.
- Individuals found at fault for an uninsured accident are mandated to file proof of insurance for a minimum of three (3) years from the date of the accident. Please note the filing period will be extended following defaulting a payment agreement or if a judgment is obtained.
Certain Convictions that require filing proof of insurance (SR-22):
- DWI - (1st, 2nd, Subsequent, and Aggravated).
- Underage DWI - (1st, 2nd, Subsequent, Aggravated).
- Leaving Scene of Accident.
- Conduct After Accident.
- Subsequent (2nd) offense Reckless Operation.
Relief of Filing Proof of Insurance/SR-22
In order to learn if you can be relieved of filing proof of insurance, you should contact the Bureau of Financial Responsibility and request that your record be reviewed. Your record will then be reviewed and a determination will be made as to whether the filing period has been met or must be extended.
If, as the result of the review process, it is determined that any of the subsequent activities/conditions outlined in Saf-C 207.12 exist, the filing period shall be extended.
If eligible, you will receive a formal Notice of Relief of Filing from the Division of Motor Vehicles. Regarding notice to your insurance provider, as indicated in Saf-C 207.12, once you have been relieved of filing proof of insurance, you will be provided a formal Notice of Relief of Filing. Your insurance provider/company will also be forwarded notice of the relief of filing via the mail; however, once you have received your formal Notice of Relief of Filing, we encourage you to contact your insurance provider/agent directly.
If you are placed under such a filing requirement, your license/operating and/or registration privileges cannot be restored or retained until this requirement is met.
If you are required to file proof of insurance with the Division of Motor Vehicles, you must contact an insurance representative/carrier to assist you in this process. The insurance company chosen must be licensed to do business in New Hampshire. The only document accepted is the uniform SR-22 certificate. This is not a form supplied by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Rather, it is a standard form utilized throughout the insurance industry.
The DMV only recognizes the specific policy type listed on an SR-22 Certificate of Insurance. Those policy types are "Owner" and "Operator" SR-22. An "Owner SR-22" allows the person filing to own and register a vehicle as well as operate a motor vehicle. An "Operator SR-22" only allows the person filing to operate a motor vehicle. Please be advised that these terms may not be the same terms as an insurance company may use.