Articles Posted in Insurance Issues

In New Hampshire, the state’s “live free or die” motto rings especially true when it comes to car insurance laws and requirements. Most states across the country require auto insurance for all drivers, but New Hampshire, uniquely, does not. The state does, however, have other requirements that operators of vehicles are responsible for. Because the state laws are so anomalous compared to other states across the country, it is crucial that every driver knows what the expectations are for them under New Hampshire laws.

Although New Hampshire does not require car insurance for drivers, it does require drivers to cover expenses relating to property damage and bodily injury if they are the at-fault party in a vehicle accident. The New Hampshire Department of Safety, despite a lack of a statewide mandate for auto insurance, strongly recommends owners and operators of automobiles obtain standard car insurance to best protect themselves in the event of an accident.

Even though auto insurance is not required in New Hampshire, having it is the best way to cover these cost requirements. New Hampshire drivers who do decide to purchase auto insurance are subject to certain coverage minimums. The policy must have at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $25,000 in property damage coverage, and at least $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for accidents involving multiple people. Policies are also required to include at least $1,000 in medical payments coverage so that if an accident occurs, you are able to pay a portion or all of your own medical bills.

New Hampshire law does not require residents to purchase vehicle liability insurance. However, if a person chooses to purchase coverage, they must include Uninsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). The Insurance Research Council reported that about 10% of New Hampshire drivers do not have vehicle insurance. In light of these numbers, drivers must understand their rights and remedies if they are involved in a New Hampshire car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Under New Hampshire Statute RSA 264:15, insurance policies cannot be issued without uninsured motorist coverage, equal to the amount of bodily injury coverage the policyholder purchased. New Hampshire requires policyholders to purchase at least $25,000 for single accidents involving death or injury and $50,00 for accidents resulting in death or injury to two or more individuals.

Unlike bodily injury claims, which are typically made against a third party and their insurance company, UIM claims are made against the policyholder’s insurance company. Coverage disputes are generally based on contract law and may require civil lawsuits. Many lawsuits involve disagreements about the number of medical bills, how the injury occurred, and the vehicles involved. In some cases, insurance companies will argue that the circumstances do not fall into the coverage parameters.

New Hampshire is unique in that it is one of the only states that does not require motorists to carry car insurance. In instances where a New Hampshire’s driver’s negligence results in property damage or bodily injury, the driver must pay for the other party’s damages. In some circumstances, the liable party refuses or cannot pay the costs; in those cases, the state will suspend the driver’s license until they can arrange a payment plan or obtain coverage. However, in some situations, the at-fault motorist may not pay, and New Hampshire drivers should retain an experienced car accident attorney to help them recover for their damages.

Although New Hampshire does not require motorists to obtain car insurance, they must still offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. They must allow drivers to purchase an amount that equals the driver’s liability coverage. This coverage generally covers the policyholder as a driver, pedestrian, or passenger in another vehicle. Additionally, it protects passengers and other authorized drivers. Some policies even apply to passengers that suffer injuries when the driver is an authorized driver in another vehicle. However, the insurance company’s main objective is their financial interest, and there are situations where they will deny coverage.

For instance, a state appellate court issued an opinion addressing issues that frequently arise in New Hampshire personal injury lawsuits and claims against insurance companies. In that case, a special needs child suffered abuse while he was a passenger on a school bus. He evoked his mother’s uninsured motorist provision to recover for the injuries he sustained because of the abuse. The insurance company refused to pay out damages and stated that the provision only applies to injuries that “arise out of the ownership, maintenance, or use” of an uninsured vehicle. The court ultimately found in favor of the insurance company and refused to cover the child’s injuries.

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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