Auto insurance requirements in Idaho
Idaho requires motorists to carry car insurance in order to drive legally. These laws are put in place to protect both you and other motorists. Have a look at the minimum insurance requirements for Idaho below:
Please note that your individual insurance requirements could change based on whether or not you own, lease, or finance your vehicles, as many companies require the addition of physical damage — or full — coverage in order to protect their investment.
Idaho proof of insurance laws
Proof of insurance has to be carried at all times when driving in Idaho. As of January 1, 2020, Idaho drivers are required to provide proof of insurance for two consecutive months or risk having their registration suspended. Vehicle owners who don’t have insurance coverage in place for two consecutive months will be warned. They will have 30 days to show proof of insurance — or get an exemption — before their vehicle registration is revoked.
Liability coverage in Idaho
Liability coverage is legally required in Idaho. It pays for injuries, lost wages, and property damage that you cause to another driver or their passengers in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident.
What are state-mandated car insurance limits?
Insurance limits refer to the minimum amount of coverage that you can carry and still be legally entitled to drive. From an insurance perspective, the limit is the most that they will pay for a claim.
Coverage limits are set by each state and are typically split into three categories: bodily injury coverage per person, bodily injury coverage per accident, and property damage per accident. You’ll often see this written out as 25/50/15, or what is known as split limits. Have a look at the breakdown of these terms below.
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person is the total dollar amount that can be paid by your insurer for the injuries of a single person that you injure in an accident.
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident refers to the maximum amount that a car insurance company will pay out for all injuries you cause in an at-fault accident.
- $15,000 property damage per accident is the maximum dollar amount that pays for damage that you cause in an accident.
Remember that the numbers above are just the minimum limits required in Idaho. Higher coverage amounts are highly encouraged and available from most auto insurers.
Do Idaho’s required minimums provide enough coverage?
Idaho’s required minimums are roughly on par with those of most other states. However, meeting the minimum level of coverage does not mean that you are properly covered. Minimums are simply a starting point, and can typically be raised for a modest increase in your rates.
When you break down the amount of liability coverage that Idaho requires, it quickly becomes clear how low these levels are. For example, if you cause injury to another driver or their passengers, your insurance would only cover a maximum of $25,000 in medical expenses for any one person and only $50,000 for all injuries. If you cause serious injury, these limits can be exhausted very quickly, leaving you exposed to risk.
Furthermore, the $15,000 property damage limit is barely half the cost of the average new car, meaning that you could be required to pay a large amount of the damages out of pocket. Most insurance experts agree that these limits should be raised as high as you can comfortably afford in order to provide enough coverage.
Idaho’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance
Idaho actively monitors insurance coverage of all registered vehicles. Owners without insurance coverage for two consecutive months will receive a warning and be given 30 days to provide proof of insurance or obtain an exemption before their registration is suspended.
To reinstate a suspended registration, owners will need to provide proof of insurance and pay a fee of $75. Furthermore, you could be required to maintain SR-22 insurance. Any subsequent violation (within five years) can be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months.
Optional car insurance coverage in Idaho
Idaho only requires liability coverage, but most insurance providers offer a number of other coverage types that can add further protection. Below you’ll find some of the more common coverage options for your vehicle.
- Comprehensive: Look into this coverage to protect your vehicle from non-collision perils such as theft, weather damage, and hitting an animal.
- Collision: Consider this coverage to protect your vehicle from damages caused by collisions with other drivers or objects (excluding animals).
- Loan/Lease Payoff: Those financing a vehicle that has been totaled could find this coverage very helpful. Commonly referred to as gap coverage, it covers the difference between your vehicle’s actual cash value and what you still owe on the loan.
- Medical Payments: Medical payments coverage (med pay) steps in to help with medical expenses accrued by you or those in your vehicle in an accident.
- Rental Car Reimbursement: This coverage steps in if your car is unable to be driven, helping to cover the costs of renting a vehicle until yours is fixed.
- Roadside Assistance: Offerings differ by company, but most plans cover breakdowns, towing, and tire fixes, among other things.
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury: This coverage protects you in the event that you are injured by a driver who doesn’t carry coverage and can’t afford to pay for your damages.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: Working along with the same principle as the coverage above, this coverage steps in to cover damage to your vehicle if the at-fault party cannot pay.
Why adhering to Idaho’s car insurance requirements is important
On top of being required by Idaho law, keeping your car insurance minimums set at a higher level appropriate level just makes good financial sense. They keep you from being on the hook for large sums of money and put your assets at risk. If you are worried about the cost this adds to your monthly premiums, perhaps it’s time to search for a new policy.
The Zebra can help you compare insurance quotes from a number of top companies to help you find the policy that fits your needs as well as your budget.