AutoInsurance.com
Published: April 18, 2022Last updated: August 15, 2022

Guide to Car Insurance in Idaho

Idaho laws require drivers to maintain insurance in order to drive vehicles.

Find The Right Insurance

Let our Perfect Policy Connectors do the work for you!

Auto Insurancephone-icon(855) 909-2474Request a free quote

According to the Idaho Transportation Department, there are some 27,000 motor vehicle accidents in the state each year. The risk to drivers and their property is real, which is why the 1.252 million drivers in the state need to have insurance to drive a vehicle legally.

Idaho’s insurance rates reflect the favorable cost of living that its residents enjoy as a whole. It is 48th in the U.S. in terms of the average cost of car insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Whereas the national average annual premium is $1,070, Idaho’s average is only $715 per year. We’ve put together this Idaho auto insurance and laws guide to answer any questions you may have about driving in the state.

Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in Idaho

CheckFYI

If you visit Idaho in a car from another state, the insurance carrier makes sure the coverage meets the minimum requirements; you don’t have to do anything to alter your coverage.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Minimum insurance coverage is not enough for many drivers. For those who are leasing their vehicles, leasing companies require at least $100,000 in bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 in bodily injury protection per accident. These requirements are contractual, and most leasing companies uphold them.

Also, drivers with many assets should consider higher coverage. Those with higher assets are more likely to have victims sue them. Higher coverage limits mitigate this risk. Someone with a lot to lose may want to have coverage limits as high as $250,000 bodily injury per person, $500,000 bodily injury per accident, and $500,000 in property damage per occurrence in order to receive better protection.

Those with newer cars may also want to have full coverage. Full coverage consists of comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and medical payments coverage. Adding these coverages will add to the total premium that you pay but also protect you, your passengers, and your car in various circumstances, particularly in accidents you cause.

Comprehensive coverage pays to repair your car in scenarios where you didn’t strike another object. Examples of comprehensive coverage claims include hail, theft, and a tree branch falling on your vehicle.

Collision coverage, on the other hand, covers the repairs to your car in an at-fault accident. Both of these coverages have deductibles that you can customize. Medical payments coverage pays for the medical bills of those injured in your car in an at-fault accident.

Drivers can select other coverages too. Rental car coverage allows a driver to get reimbursed for a rental car while their car is in the shop under a covered claim. Drivers can also select emergency roadside assistance, which will help them if their car breaks down on the side of the road. Assistance includes towing, battery jumping, and changing a flat tire.

The Average Rates of Car Insurance in Idaho

Idaho residents saw car insurance rates decrease in 2019, a rarity in the world of car insurance. The average annual cost of car insurance in 2018 was $722, but it dropped to $715 in 2019.2 The 2019 rate is 50 percent less than the national average, giving Idaho residents significant savings.

We perused car insurance rates online to get a sense of what Idaho residents really pay, since there are a lot of factors that affect car insurance rates. Residents may pay as little as $307 annually for minimum coverage, while those with full coverage could spend more than $1,045 each year.

Factors that affect car insurance rates include your location, age, the number of miles you drive each year, and your driving history, which includes tickets and accidents. Older drivers with clean driving records will have the cheapest car insurance, especially compared to teen drivers and drivers with a DUI. Also, if you get the minimum amount of insurance required in Idaho, you’ll pay less for liability insurance and beyond.

CheckTIP

Ask your insurance carrier if you get a discount for driving fewer miles. Many carriers consider less than 7,500 miles each year to be low annual mileage.

Insurance Companies in Idaho

These are some of your options for car insurance in Idaho:

  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • GEICO
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • Safe Auto
  • State Farm

Compare car insurance quotes to find the cheapest insurance carrier in your area. Make sure to compare quotes with the same coverage options to make sure they are valid comparisons. Also, take customer satisfaction ratings into account along with pricing.

How to Get the Lowest Rates in Idaho

There are some ways to save money on auto insurance rates. Here’s how to get the lowest rates in Idaho:

  1. Check on discounts. Ask the insurance agents what discounts you are eligible for. You can usually stack multiple discounts for the most savings.
  2. Raise your deductible. You can increase your financial responsibility in an accident by raising your deductible, which will lower your premium.
  3. Reduce coverage. While not ideal for those who need more protection, reducing or eliminating optional coverage will lower your premium as well.

Proof of Car Insurance in Idaho

If you are in a car accident or a police officer stops you while driving, you must provide proof of insurance. You may be fined $75 for not having insurance and have your license suspended, even after a first offense. Subsequent offenses yield fines of up to $1,000, with license suspension and possible jail time of six months.3

Idaho State Laws

We’ve compiled the most important Idaho driving laws that you need to know and follow.

Fault State

Idaho is an at-fault state, which means that the party responsible for the accident (or their insurer) will pay for the accident’s losses, including property damage and bodily injury. Since Idaho is a modified comparative state, financial responsibility falls to the party 50 percent or more at fault for the accident (unless both parties are equally responsible). In other words, the responsible party pays the bills.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Idaho requires drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage. In Idaho, it’s estimated that more than 13 percent of drivers break the law and drive without insurance. These uninsured drivers put insured motorists at risk of getting hit by someone not covered by insurance.

Idaho law mitigates this risk by requiring $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident. However, if you have multiple cars with uninsured motorist coverage, you can’t stack coverage, or get higher limits based on how many insured cars you own.

DUI Laws

There are strict DUI laws in Idaho. If you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.2 or more, you can be fined up to $2,000 and receive a 90-day license suspension for the first offense. The DUI will stay on your record for five years.

If you have a second offense, you might pay up to $5,000, get your license suspended, and spend up to five years in prison. The state requires ignition interlock devices with all convictions.4

Seat Belt Laws

State laws require passengers to wear seat belts in Idaho. Driving without a seat belt is a secondary offense, meaning a police officer can’t stop you exclusively for a seat belt violation; you’d need to be committing another violation for that.5

The seat belt violation penalty is $10 for any adult.6 For minors not properly restrained in car seats, the penalty is $79.

Distracted Driving Laws in Idaho

Like most states, Idaho has distracted driving laws that ban all drivers from using handheld devices, which includes texting while driving. Citations for a first offense are $75. Citations for a second offense within a three-year period are $150, and citations for a third offense are $300.7

Teen Driving Laws

Idaho has a graduated driver’s license program. Teens under the age of 17 must complete 30 hours of classroom instruction, six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, and six hours of in-car observation to pass the required driver’s education class.

In a period of no less than six months, they must practice for 50 hours in a supervised fashion with an adult licensed driver; 10 of these hours must be at night while they have their permit. To get a license, teens must pass both the written knowledge test and the road skills test.

Teens under the age of 16 can drive only during daylight hours unless accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age. Drivers under 17 cannot transport more than one passenger unless they’re related by blood, adoption, or marriage.

Statute of Limitations

Idaho has a different statute of limitations for claims, depending on whether the claim is for property damage or bodily injury. Claimants must file property damage claims within three years from the accident date and injury claims within two years. If they miss this deadline, their claims will be denied.

Cancellation and Non-Renewal Notification Laws

Insurance carriers can cancel your policy for specific reasons. While there are no restrictions for cancellations within the first 60 days of your policy’s effective date, after this period, carriers can cancel it only for fraud, failure to pay premiums, or license suspensions/revocations. Carriers can also choose to not renew your policy at the end of its term due to a high number of claims or bad driving record.

Even though an insurance carrier can cancel or decline to renew your policy, it has to give you enough time to get other insurance. If a carrier cancels your policy for nonpayment, it has to give you 10 days’ notice prior to the expiration date. All other midterm cancellations must include 20 days’ notice, while non-renewals require 30 days’ notice.

Self-Insurance

Idaho allows drivers with multiple vehicles and high net worth to meet their financial responsibility requirements by self-insuring. Here’s how:

  1. Print and complete the application for a certificate of self-insurance — https://www.co.nezperce.id.us/Portals/0/Assessor/3117_NPC.pdf.
  2. Compile an electronic list of your vehicles, including the year, make, model, license plate number, and VIN of each.
  3. Obtain a certified, accountant-signed statement that your net worth is at least $500,000. This serves as proof of your ability to pay for injury or damage.
  4. Make out a $70 payment to the state of Idaho.
  5. Complete and sign a W-9 form (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf).
  6. Mail your payment and documents to this address:
    • Idaho Department of Transportation
    • P.O. Box 7129
    • Boise, ID 83707

Car Inspection Requirements

Idaho requires emissions testing on all registered vehicles in the state. Testing centers may include mechanics shops and gas stations. You can find a station near you at https://idahovip.org/stations.html.

Tests cost $14 to $20, depending on the station. The testing center will give you an emissions certificate upon completion. The mechanic will then file this certificate with the Idaho Department of Transportation so that you can proceed with registration.

SR-22s

An SR-22 is a document that proves you have the minimum insurance for your vehicle. The Idaho Department of Transportation requires SR-22s in these circumstances:

  • If you failed to provide proof of insurance
  • If you received a DUI or refused to submit to a breathalyzer test
  • If you received an unsatisfied judgment or left the scene of an accident that resulted in death or injury

Defensive Driving

In Idaho, you can take a defensive driving course to reduce the points on your record. Defensive driving courses teach drivers how to avoid hazards and risks on the road, making them safer drivers. The state may remove up to three points from your record with the satisfactory completion of a defensive driving course.

Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds

There are no serious injury or monetary thresholds to sue for damages in Idaho. A victim of an accident can sue for any amount, regardless of their losses or injuries.

Accident Reporting Requirements

You must file a report with the police if you’re in an accident that results in any injuries or property damages exceeding $1,500, or death. If you don’t file a report immediately, you could face a fine and license suspension.

Price Discrimination

Idaho allows insurance companies to use credit scores and gender to determine insurance rates. Your credit score leads to an insurance score, which gives insurance carriers an idea of the probability of your filing a claim. People with lower credit scores tend to file more claims, so they must pay higher rates. Likewise, men pay more for auto insurance in Idaho because they are more likely to be in accidents than women.

When Is a Car Declared a Total Loss?

Idaho insurance carriers must use the total loss formula when determining if a car is a total loss after an accident. The total loss formula states that a carrier can total a car if the salvage value is less than the repair cost.

Contact Information

We’ve gathered all the contact information for you to register your car, renew your registration, or get a copy of your title in Idaho.

Idaho Department of Transportation (IDT)

At the IDT, you can perform tasks such as registering your car, getting your license, and getting a copy of your car title. You can contact your local IDT online, over the phone, or by mail. Here is the information for the main office:

  • Website: https://driveinsured.itd.idaho.gov/
  • Phone number: 208-334-8000
  • Street address:
    • 3311 W. State St.
    • Boise, ID 83707
  • Mailing address:
    • P.O. Box 7129
    • Boise, ID 83707

Here’s how to register your car in Idaho:

  1. Visit a local IDT office (https://itd.idaho.gov/dmv-maps/), or complete the online application at https://itd.idaho.gov/itddmv/.
  2. Have your driver’s license or identification card and your Social Security number available.
  3. Pay the fee. Fees vary by vehicle year, make, and model, ranging from $45 to $220 for most passenger vehicles.

Follow these steps if you need to renew a registration:

  1. Gather the following information:
    • Vehicle license plate number
    • Last six digits or characters of your car’s VIN
    • Credit/debit card number or PayPal account information
    • Your physical address in Idaho
  2. Visit a location with your renewal notice, or visit the online portal at https://itd.idaho.gov/itddmv/.
  3. Pay the fee. There is a $1.50 charge for e-checks, a 3 percent credit card processing fee, and a convenience fee of $1.50.

To get a copy of your title, you must mail the application or visit an IDT office in person. Here are the instructions if you choose the snail mail route:

  1. Obtain the application form at https://itd.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/3367.pdf and fill it out.
  2. Write a check payable to the state of Idaho for $14 (the rush fee is $26).
  3. Mail the completed application and check to this address:
    • Processing Center
    • P.O. Box 140019
    • Garden City, ID 83714

Idaho Insurance Commissioner Contact Information

  • Website: http://www.doi.idaho.gov/
  • Phone: (208) 334-4250
  • Mailing address:
    • 700 W. State St.
    • 3rd Floor
    • Boise, ID 83720-0043

Cost of Car Repairs in Idaho

Idaho car repair costs are 1 percent higher than the national average. On average, it costs $387 to fix a car, including $148 in labor costs. This is just $4 higher than the national average of $383.

Crime and Fatalities in Idaho

Idaho is below the national average for auto thefts and fatalities.

Motor Vehicle Theft

According to the FBI, Idaho had 97 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents in 2020. This statistic is 154 percent below the national average. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, these are the worst cities in Idaho for motor vehicle theft:

  • Pocatello — 186 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents
  • Lewiston — 160 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents
  • Idaho Falls — 130 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents
  • Boise — 112 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents
  • Coeur d’Alene — 100 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents

Motor Vehicle Fatalities

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tracked the number of traffic fatalities per 100 million miles driven in 2019. Idaho was 216 percent below the national average, with 224 motor vehicle deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

Recap

Idaho residents enjoy a favorable cost of living reflected in the average annual car insurance premium. Drivers can pay as little as $307 for a policy with minimum coverage. Those seeking full coverage can expect to pay $1,045 or more. Higher limits will give you more protection in an at-fault accident, covering more of the costs you will be responsible for.

FAQs

We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions for Idaho drivers.

Whose insurance covers a car being test-driven when for sale in Idaho?

The car insurance of the owner is the primary insurance covering a car being test-driven in Idaho. If the coverage is not enough, the driver’s insurance (if they have any) becomes secondary and kicks in.

Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Idaho?

Insurance follows the car in Idaho, in most cases. You register each car with at least the minimum insurance coverage. If you borrow or rent a car, your personal auto insurance will serve as a secondary policy to the car’s policy.

In the state of Idaho, how long do you have to transfer your insurance to insure a new car?

In Idaho, you have up to 30 days to transfer your insurance to a new car, but it’s best to switch as soon as possible to avoid gaps in insurance.

Can I register a car in Idaho with an out-of-state driver’s license?

The IDT allows you to register a car even with an out-of-state driver’s license. You will use your Social Security number, which the IDT uses on the title.

Citations

  1. TITLE 49 MOTOR VEHICLES. Idaho Legislature. (1998).
    https://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules/idstat/title49/t49ch12/sect49-1229/

  2. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2022).
    https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  3. Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State. Consumer Federation of America. (2014, Jan).
    https://consumerfed.org/pdfs/140310_penaltiesfordrivingwithoutautoinsurance_cfa.pdf

  4. IDAHO DUI LAWS & DRUNK DRIVING PENALTIES. Drinkdriving.org.
    https://www.dui-usa.drinkdriving.org/Idaho_dui_drunkdriving_laws.php

  5. Seat Belts. Governors Highway Safety Association.
    https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/seat%20belts

  6. Highway Safety. Idaho Transportation Department. (2021, Aug 31).
    https://itd.idaho.gov/safety/

  7. TITLE 49 MOTOR VEHICLES. Idaho Legislature. (1998).
    https://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules/idstat/title49/t49ch14/sect49-1401a/