Over one million licensed drivers navigate Idaho’s roads daily. Although state law requires automobile insurance coverage or the equivalent, hundreds of drivers choose to negligently drive without insurance. If you get into a collision with an uninsured driver, obtaining compensation for your damages could be difficult. If you are the uninsured driver, you could face severe penalties as well as personal liability for damages. Understand Idaho’s basic insurance requirements to stay on the right side of the law.
Idaho Minimum Insurance Requirements
Car insurance or the equivalent in an indemnity bond is mandatory in Idaho. Drivers can find the law regarding proof of motor vehicle financial responsibility in Idaho Statute 49-1229. This law states that every owner of a registered motor vehicle must continuously provide insurance against bodily injury, death or property damage the use of the motor vehicle causes. Every driver operating a vehicle must carry at least the minimum required amounts of insurance in Idaho.
- $15,000 in property damage coverage
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
Statute 49-1229 makes car insurance mandatory unless the driver opts to post an indemnity bond instead. Should you choose to post an indemnity bond in lieu of purchasing liability insurance, the bond must guarantee you can pay for any losses resulting from your liability for a bodily injury, death or damage to personal property within 30 days. The bond must guarantee payment of at least $50,000 for any accident, including $15,000 in property damages for each vehicle (up to $120,000 per accident).
Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Idaho
The State of Idaho does not require drivers to carry other types of insurance beyond basic bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. However, if a driver wishes to have additional financial protection in the event of an accident, he or she could purchase collision, comprehensive, medical payment, and/or uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Although uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance is not a requirement in Idaho, you must waive it in writing by signing a form from your insurance company.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are in a crash with a driver that does not have car insurance. Underinsured motorist insurance provides benefits to cover the remainder of your damages if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance. If you get into a wreck with an uninsured or underinsured driver, call your insurance company to see if you carry UM/UIM insurance. If so, your insurer may cover your damages regardless of fault. If not, you may have to pay for your losses out of pocket or file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party outside of the insurance system.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Auto Insurance in Idaho
Idaho is a fault-based insurance state. The driver that caused the crash will be financially responsible for damages. Fault laws make it very important for all drivers to carry adequate car insurance in Idaho. Without proper vehicle insurance, someone who did not cause the car accident may have to pay out of pocket for medical bills and vehicle repairs. To try to prevent this injustice, Idaho lawmakers inflict strict penalties against those who fail to purchase auto insurance.
- A $75 fine for first-time offenders
- A misdemeanor charge for repeat offenders
- Fines of up to $1,000 for second and subsequent offenders within five years
- Imprisonment in the county jail of up to six months for repeat offenders
- Both imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000
Getting caught driving without insurance more than once in five years could lead to a permanent criminal record and time spent in jail. It could also make you personally responsible for covering the full amount of the victim’s damages, including medical bills, property repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Carry the correct amounts of auto insurance in Idaho for your own good and that of others. If you have been hit by an uninsured motorist in Idaho, contact the Meridian car accident lawyers at Feller & Wendt for a free case evaluation.