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!(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 47th 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 $1,047, Idaho’s average is only $724 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.
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.
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 annual cost of car insurance in 2020 in Idaho was 724, 31 percent less than the national average.2 That’s about $60 a month!
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.
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.
These are some of your options for car insurance in Idaho:
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.
There are some ways to save money on auto insurance rates. Here’s how to get the lowest rates 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
We’ve compiled the most important Idaho driving laws that you need to know and follow.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Idaho allows drivers with multiple vehicles and high net worth to meet their financial responsibility requirements by self-insuring. Here’s how:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Here’s how to register your car in Idaho:
Follow these steps if you need to renew a registration:
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:
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.
Idaho is below the national average for auto thefts and fatalities.
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:
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.
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.
We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions for Idaho drivers.
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.
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 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.
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.
TITLE 49 MOTOR VEHICLES. Idaho Legislature. (1998).
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).
Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State. Consumer Federation of America. (2014, Jan).
IDAHO DUI LAWS & DRUNK DRIVING PENALTIES. Drinkdriving.org.
Seat Belts. Governors Highway Safety Association.
Highway Safety. Idaho Transportation Department. (2021, Aug 31).
TITLE 49 MOTOR VEHICLES. Idaho Legislature. (1998).