Articles Posted in Insurance Issues

When a New Hampshire driver suffers injuries or property damage in a car accident, they are entitled to seek damages from the party or parties they believe to be responsible for their injuries. One of the first steps to recovering losses is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This process may raise some challenges, especially when the other party is underinsured or uninsured. Under state law, New Hampshire drivers must obtain the appropriate amount of car insurance coverage. Having sufficient insurance coverage is particularly important in instances where the other party is either unknown or unable to compensate the injured driver fully.

There are generally nine types of coverage that are available to New Hampshire drivers. The types of coverage are, auto liability, bodily injury, property damage, uninsured or underinsured bodily injury, medical payments, collision, comprehensive, towing and labor, and rental reimbursement expenses. Motorists often do not realize that many New Hampshire drivers lack adequate insurance, and this can result in a financial burden to the injured driver and their passengers, even if they are not at fault for causing a collision.

New Hampshire does not require that motorists obtain liability auto car insurance. However, New Hampshire’s car insurance law mandates uninsured drivers to have adequate assets to pay damages if they cause an accident. Uninsured New Hampshire drivers may risk license suspension if they cause an accident with more than $1000 of damages and cannot pay compensation to the injured party.

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a New Hampshire motorcycle accident case discussing whether the plaintiff was entitled to underinsured motorist coverage. Ultimately, the court concluded that a clause in the insurance policy was not valid or enforceable. The provision required the plaintiff to obtain a certain amount of underlying insurance as a condition of the uninsured motorist benefits outlined in the plan. As a result of the court’s finding, it held that the insurance company could be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries under the policy.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was involved in a New Hampshire motorcycle accident when an SUV struck him. The plaintiff claimed that the other driver was at fault, and that while that driver had an insurance policy, the policy limits were insufficient to cover the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff maintained two insurance policies on the motorcycle, one with Allstate and one with the defendant. Thus, the plaintiff filed a claim with Allstate, under the underinsured motorist provision (UIM) of his policy. The limits of this policy were $25,000/$50,000.

The plaintiff, believing that his injuries exceeded the amount of compensation provided through the other two policies, filed a claim with the defendant insurance company seeking additional coverage under the UIM provision. However, the policy with the defendant insurance company contained an endorsement, requiring the plaintiff to obtain a certain amount of underlying insurance as a precondition to the UIM benefits outlined in the policy. Thus, the insurance company denied coverage. The plaintiff initiated this case to compel the insurance company to cover the claim.

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