New Hampshire does not require liability auto insurance. However, the state does have a "financial responsibility" law, which requires uninsured motorists to have enough assets to pay for damages caused in an accident if they opt not to have car insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council, 1% of motorists in the Granite State are uninsured.
If an uninsured motorist causes an accident with over $1,000 in damage or personal injury and does not have the ability to pay compensation for injuries and damages sustained in that accident, the state of New Hampshire may suspend the motorist's driver license and registration until such compensation has been paid.
If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist and you have proper auto insurance, then you are entitled to make a claim under the un-insurance portion of your auto policy. Our team at the Injury Law Center® can help you navigate the process.
For help with making an uninsured motorist claim, contact our New Hampshire car accident lawyer at The Injury Law Center®: (603) 883-4100.Understanding UM / UIM Claims
Per New Hampshire Statute RSA 264:15, no auto insurance policy can be issued in the state without uninsured motorist coverage, which must be at least equal to the amount of bodily injury coverage purchased on the policy. The minimum bodily injury coverage in New Hampshire is 25/50 which means $25,000 for any single accident resulting in injury or death to one person or $50,000 for any accident resulting in death or injury to two or more people.
Therefore, if you purchase the minimum auto insurance policy, you will have $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage, also known as UM. What this means is that if you are hit by an uninsured motorist, you can make a claim against your own insurance policy for up to your policy limits (in this case $25,000). You are still entitled to receive MedPay on your own policy as well (for more on MedPay click here) and if you purchased collision insurance as well then your policy will also take care of any property damage to your vehicle. In addition, you can make a claim against the uninsured motorist coverage part of your policy in the event that you are hit by a hit and run driver.How Does UIM Work?
UIM or underinsurance coverage is different. You can purchase underinsurance coverage through your policy. Underinsurance coverage works like this. You are in an accident with an insured driver. They have a $25,000 bodily injury policy. You have over $25,000 in damages. You make a claim against the other driver and receive the $25,000 available on their policy but you still have outstanding damages.
Because you have auto insurance you can make a claim on your own policy on the grounds that the other driver had insufficient insurance based upon your damages. However, the amount you can recover is offset by the amount available to you through the at-fault driver's bodily injury policy. This means that if someone with the minimum policy of $25,000 hits you and you also only have a minimum policy of $25,000 which grants you $25,000 of coverage, there is no available coverage for which you can make a claim. If you had $100,000 in UM/UIM insurance and someone with a $25,000 policy hit you, you would have $75,000 of available coverage on your policy with which you could make a claim for your outstanding damages. This coverage is usually only available when you have exhausted the primary policy (that of the person who hit you).How Does a UM / UIM Claim Differ From a Bodily Injury Claim?
A bodily injury claim is often made against the third party and their insurer (i.e. the person who hit you and their insurance company). If settlement is unable to be reached, these claims may wind up in civil court.
A UM / UIM claim is made against your own policy and is therefore a contract claim. You purchased this insurance, paid the premiums, and in return, your insurance company agrees to pay in the event of an underinsured or uninsured motorist hits you.
Often, disputes may arise regarding the amount of medical bills or the mechanism of injury, or other factors in the case. Cases of this nature that are unable to be settled often go to arbitration. Arbitration differs from a trial, as there is no jury and the case is heard in front of an arbitrator or arbitrators who then render a decision. That is why it is crucial that you have legal counsel through this time.
For guidance with filing an uninsured motorist claim, turn to the New Hampshire car accident attorney at the firm—reach us at (603) 883-4100.