Last updated on April 26th, 2018
Idaho is one of many states that have a financial responsibility law regarding car insurance. This law dictates that the owner of every vehicle must prove that they have the ability to be financially responsible should they be involved in an accident that is their fault. In most cases the easiest way for Idaho residents to satisfy the financial responsibility law is to purchase car insurance that meets state requirements. All vehicles that are registered in the state of Idaho are required by state law to carry a certain amount of liability coverage in order to satisfy the financial responsibility law. The state has set these amounts at a minimum of $25,000 per person in bodily injury coverage, $50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage in addition to $15,000 in property damage coverage. These three forms of liability coverage are meant to protect a driver if they are involved in n accident for which they are liable. Instead of having to pay for property damage and medical bills out of pocket the driver can allow their insurance company to take on the financial burden. However, if the cost of an accident in Idaho exceeds the amount of insurance that a driver has they are still financially responsible and could potentially be taken to court and ordered to pay the difference between the total damages and what the insurance company is willing to cover. If a driver does not wish to maintain liability insurance on their vehicle in order to satisfy the requirements of the financial responsibility law they always have the option to post an indemnity body with the Idaho Department of Insurance. This bond must be in the amount of $50,000, which is the minimum bodily injury coverage required by state law. When a driver registers a vehicle in Idaho they must also sign a statement certifying that the vehicle being registered meets the requirements set forth in Idaho’s financial responsibility law. In rare cases, a vehicle owner that owns more than 25 vehicles and has a net worth over $500,000 can choose to self insure the vehicle based on their accumulated wealth.
In most states uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is considered to be optional and may be purchased by the driver on their own prerogative but the state of Idaho requires that the purchase of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage be mandatory when any sort of auto insurance policy is issued. Both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage must meet the minimum coverage levels established for individual liability coverage by the state. Additionally, while most non-highway vehicles do not have to be insured in most states Idaho requires that any non-highway vehicle must meet state insurance requirements any time it travels on a public road; this includes dirt roads and any road on federal or state land. If a dirt bike is pulled over on a dirt road the driver will legally face the same penalties as the driver of an SUV or truck that is pulled over on the highway if they do not have the required proof of insurance for their vehicle.
In addition to meeting the minimum coverage requirements drivers in Idaho must also obey a few other state laws that deal with auto insurance. All drivers for instance are required to carry proof of insurance at all times while in the vehicle. Law enforcement officer in Idaho may request to see a driver’s proof of insurance at any time during a traffic stop or after an accident. This proof of car insurance requirement can be satisfied with an up to date insurance card issued by the insurance company or even the policy itself. If the driver opted to purchase an indemnity bond instead of liability insurance they are required to carry proof of the bond provide by the broker or DMV. In Idaho car insurance companies are also required to report any lapses in coverage to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Driver’s that are not able to provide proof of insurance will receive a fine of $75 for the first infraction and will be required to provide proof of insurance for one year. Subsequent infractions by Idaho residents will be treated as a misdemeanor in the eyes of the law and the offending driver could be punished with a fine up to $1,000 or even six months in jail. Idaho drivers that are caught without car insurance more than once in a five year period are also required to show proof of insurance for three years in advance in addition to any required fines. A license suspension can, and in many cases is, added to the penalties incurred by most drivers that are found to be driving without insurance. Driving without insurance will also result in a negative mark on the driver’s driving record which will increase the amount that they have to pay in insurance premiums when purchasing a car insurance policy in Idaho.