Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in New Hampshire

Kevin Oliver

I found $1,495 in savings in 20 minutes.

New Hampshire is one of the few states in the country that doesn’t require its citizens to purchase auto insurance. (Live Free or Die, am I right?) For the typical responsible car owner however, insurance is nothing short of a no-brainer. And even though the state’s rates are relatively high compared the the national average, a little bit of attentive shopping could save you more money than you think.

I ventured out to find the best cheap car insurance in the state, while aiming to save some pocket change. When the quotes settled, that pocket change was actually a whopping $1,500. OK, it was $1495, but still. Although quotes will vary greatly depending on an untold amount of factors, the distance between competitors was staggering to me, ranging from Allstate’s relatively affordable $504 annual premium to Amica Mutual’s jaw-dropping $1,999.

Allstate was the best car insurance for me, but that doesn’t mean it will be the best for you, too.

Turns out, you and I are not the same person. There’s a litany of variables that impact your risk to insurers (and therefore your premium prices), including your age, zip code, and credit score. The only surefire way to compare companies accurately is to personally check quotes from the competition yourself; a not-so-exciting, but super useful way to spend a half hour of your time.

In my research, I was able to find five quotes using some pretty handy online tools. On average they took around five minutes to complete, a welcome sacrifice when potentially talking about hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. (And, imagine how much I’m saving over ten or twenty years — my $1500 annual savings quickly multiplies into the tens of thousands of dollars over my driving lifetime.) If you do have to make a call to get a quote, you may have to set aside 15 or 20 minutes to get all the essential information from the agent, but at least you’ll probably get to jam out to some quality “please hold, your call is very important to us” kind of music. Or, as I’m starting to see it: some serious money-saving tunes.

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Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in New Hampshire

I started my search by getting quotes from these five companies. I picked them because they all meet my criteria for excellent customer service and financial stability. Though I can’t name which one will be the cheapest for you, I can confirm that any of these companies has the customer service record that’ll make that claims process just a little bit less painful. I’d recommend anyone in New Hampshire start with these as well. (Auto insurance is regulated on the state level, so I’d recommend a different set of providers to residents of other states.)

Insurer My quote
Allstate $504
Liberty Mutual $780
Geico $720
State Farm $1,176
Amica Mutual $1,999

Each of these five companies has an at least an “average” rating from JD Power in the New England region for customer service satisfaction, as well as a favorable rating from A.M. Best. for financial viability. In my experience, attention to customer satisfaction is irreplaceable and I wouldn’t trade it for a slightly cheaper policy. If you do happen to do what I did and total your car on an open highway, you surely don’t want to be dealing with an obstinate insurance company.

Although looking purely cheap car insurance isn’t the way to go, Allstate is both cheap and has  a strong reputation that packs a punch behind those comparatively low rates. To my surprise, Amica Mutual, J.D. Power’s highest rated company, was over three times more expensive for the same level of basic coverage. While Amica may be the king of customer service, my recommendation would be to stick with a more affordable company and put your saved money into better coverage. After all, you (hopefully) won’t be dealing with your insurance company on a regular basis, but if you get into an accident with damages that are in closer to $50,000 or $100,000, stronger coverage will likely mean more to you than white glove customer service.

If you’re interested in getting a better idea of which company might be the all around cheapest, I suggest investigating this New Hampshire Premium Comparison Study. The New Hampshire Insurance Department compared the quotes that seven example drivers would get from a number of companies. The drivers included a single 23-year-old male who rents his home and drives a 2008 Ford F-150 Supercab to a married couple in their forties who drive a Camry and a van and have a newly licensed 16-year-old son. Every quote is based a person’s risk profile, so even with seven examples, there’s no way to align it exactly to your unique risk, but you might be able to get a quick sense and narrow your search even further.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Car insurance companies don’t calculate premiums on your level of risk alone; they also consider how much money you’re comfortable paying — a practice called price optimization, or “profit maximization” according to Bob Hunter, the director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America.

It might seem like your insurance company values your loyalty, and I can definitely say I’ve felt that way when I see my company’s “loyalty discount” on my policy, but they’re likely not rewarding you at all. According to a study by Earnix, 45 percent of large insurance companies analyze a range of your personal data (like credit scores, web shopping habits, and social media activity) with an algorithm that decides how likely you are to look for better deals. In other words, the company says “thanks for sticking around, here’s some gradual premium rate increases buried under some ‘good driver’ discounts.” The smart customer says, “No, thank you.”

Shopping around for new quotes every one or two years is an excellent way to keep insurers more on their toes and less on their analytics. While price optimization is a touchy and controversial subject, no company wants to lose your as their customer and they’ll see that you’re more likely to leave. Frequently keeping an eye out for a better policy is the best way to keep your insurer honest, and keep your rates competitive.

New Hampshire’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

You don’t have to have any coverage in New Hampshire, but I’d still recommend a policy. Without getting too bogged down in the technical ins and outs of insurance policies, liability coverage, which covers pay for bodily injury and property damage caused by the driver, is only necessary in New Hampshire under special circumstances. New Hampshire’s auto insurance guide has some excellent information to expound upon when insurance becomes necessary.

If you do buy insurance, the most basic level of coverage required in the purchase of insurance in New Hampshire; $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for total bodily injury for all involved, and $25,000 for property damage, or a 25/50/25 plan. (The quotes I got were all for coverage at this level.) When you purchase auto insurance, you are required to purchase at least $1,000 of medical payments coverage, too, as well as uninsured motorist coverage.

The Best Car Insurance Isn’t Just Cheap Car Insurance

I know both the trials of filing a claim and the importance of paying for adequate coverage. In 2015, I totaled my car and walked away with a couple of scratches, one heck of a story, and fortunately, a feeling of comfort in my coverage.

Unfortunately, it’s likely that you will have to file a claim in your lifetime as well. Statistics show that the common driver averages an accident every 17.9 years. What’s even more frightening is that the average cost of an injury inducing, but nonfatal accident is a stupefying $74,900, and even if you have that much in your account, I’m guessing you’d rather not pay that out of pocket. I know I have bigger plans for my savings accounts.

In most cases, upgrading to a 50/100/50 plan isn’t as daunting of a leap as you might expect. For example, my quote for a 25/50/25 plan with GEICO was $720. To up my coverage to 50/100/50 the cost went up to $810, only $90 extra annually, a drop in the bucket compared to shelling out another $25,000 or $50,000 out of pocket in the event of an accident. For me, it’s absolutely worth it to get coverage that is more likely to cover the total cost of an accident. It’s happened to me before and I was so glad my coverage was strong enough to protect my personal bank accounts.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

In a state as free as New Hampshire, you have the option most American citizens don’t have: refusing automobile insurance. While it’s your right to drive without insurance in this great state, I’ll refer back to the statistics above to make the case for insurance, and I’ll use Allstate’s quote to compare. The cost of paying $504 annually with Allstate is a drop in the bucket compared to paying anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 in the event of an accident. In fact, it’d take 99 years for a $504 policy to hit $50,000 in premium payments. So, even if you live to be 115 years old, I’d still bet on the insurance policy as the better financial move. The old adage of “better safe than sorry” has never been more true.

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Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

There are tons of factors that affect your insurance premiums, for better or for worse. However, that means there are quite a few ways to knock that premium down a few dollars. Here are a few easy ways:

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance


Why are New Hampshire’s rates so affordable?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
New Hampshire $868
Manchester $1,020
Derry $918
Dover $908
Nashua $887
Concord $778
Source Quadrant

It’s honestly hard to say exactly why New Hampshire’s rates are so far below the national average. For instance, Texas doesn’t require drivers to purchase auto insurance either, but it’s average annual rate is over $500 more than New Hampshire’s average. One possible factor could be that auto repair costs in New Hampshire are very low — at $292, we have the 5th lowest average repair cost in the nation. If it costs less to fix your car, it’ll costs less to insure you, and that means more money in your pocket.

What if I’m not a full-time resident?

To purchase insurance in the state of New Hampshire, you must either be a resident of the state or prove that your vehicle is principally parked here.

Is it legal for the company to charge me more than they quoted?

Yes, the quote you get from an agent or an online form is just an estimate of the cost of your policy. It’s not until you get the actual policy and sign on the dotted line that you’re locked into a rate for the duration of your contract. That’s one good reason to make sure you’re completely honest with the agent on the phone — if you’re not upfront about your driving record, your quote won’t reflect the actual price you’ll be expected to pay. And what’s the point of shopping around if you’re just going to be comparing inaccurate quote against inaccurate quote? I’d rather know what I’m actually going to have to pony up and make an informed decision from there.

The Bottom Line

Even though insurance isn’t required in New Hampshire, it’s a smart financial move. I highly recommend you take the time to compare rates in your area, even if it’s for minimum coverage. I truly believe it will be worth your while. Remember: I was able to save nearly $1,500 by comparing quotes from five different companies. Now, let’s see how much you can save.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

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