Skip to main content

Should auto insurance be mandatory in NH?


New Hampshire is one of the few states in the nation that does not currently require motorists to carry auto insurance. 

HB 613, sponsored by Rep. Peter Leishman (D-Peterborough), would require proof of insurance in order to register a motor vehicle. 

Read more about mandatory car insurance in New Hampshire 

Exceptions to the current rule

It should be noted that there are certain circumstances in New Hampshire where the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can mandate individuals file proof of insurance.  If an individual is convicted of a DWI, leaves the scene of an accident, or causes over $1,000 in damage in an accident, the state may require proof of insurance going forward.   

A driver at fault can also have their license suspended until they pay restitution through the DMV.

What about other states?

Some other states allow drivers to post a bond instead of purchasing car insurance, but generally speaking, all other states require insurance.  Virginia has the lowest requirements after New Hampshire: drivers can opt not to carry auto insurance, but they have to pay $500 annually to the state.  

Pros and cons

Those against compulsory car insurance say that it discriminates against the poor who may not be able to afford auto insurance.  Other opponents note that New Hampshire already has remedies if a driver without insurance causes damage, including restitution, license suspension, and future proof of insurance. Lastly, many feel the government should impose fewer mandates on citizens, not more. 

Those in support of the auto insurance requirement say that without it, victims are likely to see little in the way of compensation following an auto accident, as personal financial responsibility laws are inadequate.  If a driver disputes he/she was at fault, the next step may be a very expensive lawsuit. 

Should New Hampshire make auto insurance mandatory for all drivers?

Discussion held on Citizens Count website and Facebook page January 22, 2019

255 citizens responded 141 citizens were opposed to mandatory auto insurance76 citizens were in favor of mandatory auto insurance 38 citizens commented on related questions or issues
What Participants Said

No: 141 people were opposed to making auto insurance mandatory for all drivers. 

  • “No. Do you want our insurance premiums to skyrocket? Because the fact that we aren't obligated to purchase it is the reason our companies keep the prices low, most people wouldn't buy it otherwise...” 
  • “We should never be forced to buy a product.” 
  • “Legislation shouldn't be crafted to benefit pharmaceutical or insurance companies.”

Yes: 76 people were in favor of making auto insurance mandatory for all drivers.

  • “Liability insurance should be mandatory.  People shouldn't have to spend their own time and money to fix damage caused by an uninsured motorist without the means to.  If someone can't afford the premiums for liability insurance, how are they going to pay thousands of dollars for car repairs and/or medical costs if they cause an accident?” 
  • “My daughter was killed by an uninsured motorist who fell asleep, crossed the center line and hit her head on. She was going to work at 6:30 am as was the driver who hit her. So, liability insurance should be mandatory.” 
  • “So YOU cause an accident but I am supposed to pay for it because you don't have or don't want to pay for insurance?”

Other: 38 people commented on related questions and issues instead.
These included:

  • Uncertain about impact on rates: “I'm not sure.  Would our rates go down?  That's the real question.” 
  • Consider the statistics: “What are the statistics on this, do we have a lot of issues with people driving without insurance and once you do have an accident [are you] required to get insurance?” 
  • Make sure those at fault pay: “If we keep it at not being mandatory then the punishment should be imprisonment until all restitution has been made…”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

See additional comments on this question from Facebook

Thank you to our sponsors and donors