New Hampshire is one of the few states in the country that doesn’t require its residents to purchase car insurance. For the typical responsible car owner, however, insurance is nothing short of a no-brainer. Even though the state’s rates are relatively high compared with the national average, a little bit of shopping could save you more money than you think. Quotes will vary depending on any number of factors; the variation among competitors can be staggering, with prices ranging from a relatively affordable $900 annually to north of $2,000.
Remember that the best car insurance for one person won’t necessarily be the best for you. After all, no two people are the same nor are their circumstances. 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. In total, you may spend half an hour on this process, but you’ll come away with valuable information and possibly significant savings.
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Our Top 4 Picks for the Best Cheap Car Insurance in New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
You don’t have to have any coverage in New Hampshire but getting a policy is still highly recommended. Without getting too bogged down in the details of insurance policies, liability coverage, which covers 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.
If you do buy insurance, the most basic level of coverage required in the purchase of insurance in New Hampshire is $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. When you purchase car insurance, you are required to purchase at least $1,000 of medical payments coverage, too, as well as uninsured motorist coverage.
Even though insurance isn’t required in New Hampshire, it’s a smart financial move. It’s highly recommended to take the time to compare rates in your area, even if it’s for minimum coverage. It truly can be worth your while.
How do you begin comparing car insurance quotes?
You can begin your research with the aid of some handy online tools. You’ll be able to find quotes for most car insurance companies online, and the process can take as little as five minutes to complete. 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 details from the agent, but you’ll come away from that conversation with some money-saving information.
What criteria should you look for when choosing insurance companies for price comparison?
Some criteria to consider include excellent customer service and financial stability. Look for companies that have a solid rating from J.D. Power in the New England region for customer service satisfaction as well as a favorable rating from A.M. Best for financial viability. In the end, it will come down to personal preference. Some people will consider customer satisfaction to be a more important factor than a slightly cheaper policy. A good customer service record will make your claims process less painful in the event you total your car, for example. The last thing you would want to be dealing with is an obstinate insurance company.
If you’d rather stick with the cheapest insurance, where should you start?
If you’re interested in getting a better idea of which company might be the cheapest, you should take a look at the 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 and a married couple in their 40s who drive a Camry and a van and have a newly licensed 16-year-old son. Every quote is based on a person’s risk profile, so even with seven examples, there’s no way to align it exactly to your unique circumstances, but you might be able to get a quick sense and narrow your search even further.
If you decide to go with a more affordable company, you can 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 the $50,000 to $100,000 range, stronger coverage will likely mean more to you than white glove customer service.
Is it legal for the company to charge you more than it 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 an inaccurate quote against an inaccurate quote? Most people would prefer to know what they’re actually going to have to pay and then make an informed decision from there.
Why are New Hampshire’s rates so affordable?
It’s 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 car insurance either, but its average annual rate is more than $500 higher than New Hampshire’s average. One possible factor could be that car repair costs in New Hampshire are low — at $365, the state has the eighth-lowest average repair cost in the nation. If it costs less to fix your car, it’ll cost less to insure you, and that means more money in your pocket.
What if you’re 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.
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Is New Hampshire a no-fault state?
New Hampshire is a “fault” state as opposed to a “no-fault” state. This distinction affects how you will file a claim for compensation in the event of an accident. In a “no-fault” state, you must file a claim with your insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. In a “fault” state, you will have three options: file a claim with your own insurance, file a claim with the other driver’s insurance, or sue the other driver in court for damages.
What is SR-22 car insurance?
An SR-22 is a certificate of proof of liability insurance, which must be submitted to the state by an insurance company licensed to do business in New Hampshire.” This document proves that you have an insurance policy in place and is required for those with a bad driving record.
Is going with cheap car insurance the best option?
Unfortunately, it’s likely that you will have to file a claim in your lifetime. Statistics show that the common driver averages an accident every 17.9 years. What’s even more frightening is that the average cost of a disabling but nonfatal accident is a staggering $93,800, and even if you have that much in savings, most people would prefer not to pay that out of pocket.
In most cases, upgrading to a 50/100/50 plan isn’t as daunting of a leap as you might expect. Take, for example, a $972 quote for a 25/50/25 plan. To up the coverage to 50/100/50, the cost would go up to $72 extra annually, a drop in the bucket compared with shelling out another $25,000 or $50,000 out of pocket for an accident. It may be well worth getting that extra coverage to cover the total cost of an accident and protect your personal bank account in the process.
Should you really skip coverage?
In a state as free as New Hampshire, you have the option most American citizens don’t have: refusing car insurance. While it’s your right to drive without insurance in the Granite State, consider if this is truly a gamble you wish to make. For example, the cost of paying $500 annually for an insurance policy is way less expensive than paying $50,000 to $80,000 for a car accident. It would take approximately 99 years for a $500 policy to hit $50,000 in premium payments. So, even if you live to be 115 years old, betting on the insurance policy is still the better financial move. The old adage of “better safe than sorry” has never been truer.
It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years Even If You’re Generally Happy With Your Insurance
Car insurance companies don’t calculate premiums based on your level of risk alone; they also consider how likely you are to shop around for good rates and how much you’re comfortable paying. The practice of basing prices on factors not related to risk is called price optimization or profit maximization.
It might seem like your insurance company values your loyalty, especially when you see a company’s “loyalty discount” on your policy. But it’s 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 (credit score, online 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 rewards you for staying with them by burying some gradual premium rate increases 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 you as a customer. Frequently keeping an eye out for a better policy is the best way to keep your insurer honest and your rates competitive.
Some discounts to be on the lookout for as you are shopping around include several types of “good driver” discounts. You may qualify for an accident-free discount if you go a certain number of years without being involved in any car accidents. You could also qualify for a violation-free discount if there are no major violations on your record for a certain number of years.
If you are a young driver, you may qualify for a student discount if you are under the age of 25 and can show proof of good grades.
There are even options if you are a driver with bad credit. It’s especially important to shop around in this case as no insurance company will offer the same prices on the same policy. You can also consider a company that specializes in high-risk drivers. These specialty insurance companies will generally offer a better rate for low-credit drivers than can be found elsewhere.
Best Car Insurance in New Hampshire
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm