Idaho Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]
Idaho requires 25/50/15 for bodily injury and property damage coverage. The average cost of auto insurance in ID is $56.66/month. Compare cheap Idaho auto insurance quotes online now!
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UPDATED: Mar 16, 2021
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|Idaho Statistics Summary||Details|
|Most Popular Vehicle||Ford F150|
|Driving Fatalities (Total)||244|
|Average Annual Premiums||Liability: $344.29
|Cheapest Provider||State Farm|
If you’re lucky enough to live in Idaho, you know it’s all about the gems in spite of the potato reputation (not that there’s anything wrong with potatoes, as long as they’re served with a side of fry sauce). And those gems are both literal and figurative, too.
The Gem State is home to more than 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones, but the gems also include incredible natural wonders like Lake Coeur D’Alene and Shoshone Falls. And that’s not to mention that Idaho can take you to Heaven’s Gate, Hells Canyon, and for a walk on the Craters of the Moon (National Monument, that is).
It’s a beautiful place to call home, and with many miles of open highway to drive. Across the prairies and through Rocky Mountain passes, Idaho’s roads meander through natural beauty and busy cities alike.
What all those roads have in common is the need for auto insurance.
Shopping for auto insurance is time-consuming. You check website after website, call agents, and try to make sense of coverage levels and laws while trying to make sure you’re getting the best coverage for your money. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a better way to compare rates and get coverage fast?
Leave the car insurance company research to us! Everything you need to know about Idaho auto insurance is right here.
We’ve gathered all the details and simplified the laws; this guide will take you through Idaho’s coverage laws, insurance options, company ratings, and much more. And it’s all right here in one place.
And we’ll also help you get the best deal on your auto insurance. Get started right now by entering your ZIP code above!
Idaho Auto Insurance Coverage and Rates
Auto insurance is required by law, and every driver on the road has to follow the minimum coverage for auto insurance in Idaho. Beyond the basics, there are a lot of optional coverage choices you can add to your policy, too.
What coverage do you need in Idaho to drive legally? What else can you add to your policy, and do you really need all that coverage? Auto insurance is confusing. You don’t want to be underinsured, but you don’t want to pay for coverage you don’t need, either.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know to buy auto insurance with confidence.
We have all the details on Idaho’s insurance laws, as well as information on optional coverage.
Idaho Minimum Coverage
As a fault state, Idaho law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. This coverage is in place to make sure you can pay for injuries or property damage caused in an accident for which you’re found to be at fault.
|Bodily Injury Liability Coverage||$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
|Property Damage Liability Coverage||$15,000 per accident|
|Uninsured Motorist Coverage (unless rejected in writing)||Amount must equal selected bodily injury liability coverage amount|
Although Idaho law does require every insurance policy to include Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Bodily Injury coverage, you have the right to reject this coverage in writing. If you don’t reject it, you have to carry limits equal to your bodily injury liability limits. UM/UIM property damage coverage is not part of this requirement.
Minimum coverage varies from state to state. Idaho falls in the middle when it comes to cost of minimum coverage.
Forms of Financial Responsibility
Insurance is the most common form of financial responsibility in Idaho, but the law does offer alternatives.
Self-insurance is an option if you own more than 25 vehicles, but there is also the option of posting a bond in lieu of insurance for people with only one or two cars.
The law allows an indemnity bond in the amount of $50,000 as an alternative to a liability policy, with $15,000 of that earmarked for property damage. You can cover up to five vehicles this way with a maximum of $120,000 in bonds.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to carry proof of financial responsibility with you at all times when driving!
Premiums as a Percentage of Income
How much of their disposable income do Idahoans spend on their auto insurance? The good news is that it’s less than the national average.
|Idaho Insurance and Disposable Income||2012||2013||2014|
|Disposable Income Amount (Average)||$31,589.00||$32,312.00||$33,600.00|
|Full Coverage Policy Cost (Average)||$639.19||$650.57||$673.13|
|Percent of Income Spent on Car Insurance||2.02%||2.01%||2.00%|
The percentage of income spent on auto insurance has been going down steadily – not by a lot, but steadily – over the past three years. How does Idaho compare to other states?
Oregonians to the west spent an average of 2.45 percent of their disposable income on auto insurance, while to the east Montana drivers spent 2.41 percent.
Idaho lands well below its neighbors and below the 2.40 percent national average.
Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates in ID (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)
Core coverage on an insurance policy includes the coverage required by law – liability – and the two most common optional coverages. Those are comprehensive and collision, and if you have a loan on your car you will have to carry both.
Let’s take a look at how the cost of this coverage in Idaho compares to the rest of the country.
|Coverage Type||Idaho Average (2015)||National Average (2015)|
Idaho’s average rates are lower than the national average in all categories, adding up to a total average premium several hundred dollars below the national average cost.
Idaho drivers can add extra liability to their auto insurance policies to provide additional financial protection. The two areas we’ll cover here are Medical Payments (Med Pay) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM).
As we discussed above, UM/UIM can be left of your policy if you sign a waiver. Carrying it can protect you against an accident with a motorist who is either uninsured or whose coverage isn’t sufficient to pay for all of the damages in an accident where they are at fault.
8.20 percent of Idaho drivers are uninsured. That places the state at number 40 overall in the nation, which is a good ranking.
Of course, that doesn’t account for how many drivers may be underinsured, meaning their coverage isn’t enough to pay for a serious accident, which is a common situation with drivers who select the legal minimum.
Medical payment coverage is extra coverage to pay for medical bills and funeral costs for you or any passengers in your vehicle, no matter who is at fault in the accident.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) keeps loss ratio data for both of these options. What is a loss ratio and why does it matter?
A loss ratio compares the amount of money taken in by insurance companies in premiums against what they pay out in claims.
We want to see loss ratios that are not too high. Over 100 percent means the company is losing money. On the other hand, we don’t want them to be too low, because that indicates they aren’t paying out enough in claims.
|Loss Ratio||Idaho (2015)||National (2015)|
|Medical Payments (MedPay)||79.94||75.72|
|Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage||59.20||75.11|
When it comes to Med Pay, Idaho insurers have a loss ratio a little above the national average, but not an amount of any concern for financial stability.
UM/UIM, on the other hand, shows a loss ratio well below the national average. That means Idaho insurers aren’t paying out what they should on that type of coverage.
Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Auto Insurance
- Modified Auto Insurance Coverage
- Classic Auto Insurance
- Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance
While several insurance companies offer a usage-based program in Idaho, where a discount can be earned for allowing your driving habits to be monitored, there are no real pay-per-mile options in the state yet. The few companies that do offer such a plan don’t yet offer it in Idaho.
Average Auto Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in ID
A lot of factors go into determining how much you pay for auto insurance in Idaho, and your age and gender are among them.
In younger age groups, the gender gap in auto insurance rates is more pronounced, with males paying more than females. With age, it all but disappears and in some cases even reverses.
Age is a big factor in younger demographics, but by age 25 it starts to level off. There isn’t near as big a gap between the other age groups as between 17 and 25 years old. That’s where experience plays a huge role in the cost of auto insurance.
|Company||Married 35-year old female Annual Rate||Married 35-year old male Annual Rate||Married 60-year old female Annual Rate||Married 60-year old male Annual Rate||Single 17-year old female Annual Rate||Single 17-year old male Annual Rate||Single 25-year old female Annual Rate||Single 25-year old male Annual Rate|
|American Family Mutual||$2,098.66||$2,098.66||$1,865.53||$1,865.53||$7,458.86||$9,709.85||$2,098.66||$2,634.55|
|Farmers Ins Co Of ID||$1,579.86||$1,568.87||$1,394.21||$1,475.19||$7,662.21||$7,928.27||$1,819.86||$1,917.77|
|Safeco Ins Co of IL||$1,441.66||$1,555.14||$1,167.08||$1,303.18||$4,638.27||$5,157.45||$1,530.65||$1,618.67|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$1,150.90||$1,150.90||$1,037.46||$1,037.46||$3,436.89||$4,333.19||$1,298.56||$1,498.32|
|Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co||$1,355.74||$1,376.87||$1,363.72||$1,357.36||$6,688.71||$10,577.29||$1,440.61||$1,650.04|
Idaho is one of the best states for cheap retiree auto insurance, which is why Idaho rates become significantly cheaper as drivers age.
Cheapest Rates By ZIP Code
Rates can vary a lot by ZIP code. While you might expect the most expensive ZIP codes in Idaho to be in big cities like Boise, the rates show they are actually areas in northern Idaho, around the base of the Panhandle.
The cheapest ZIP codes are actually in and around the Boise area.
Find your ZIP code above to see average rates.
Cheapest Rates By City
Idaho’s cheapest ZIP codes also match up to the cheapest cities, with Boise and nearby Meridian the top two cheapest.
Similarly, the most expensive ZIP codes match up to the most expensive cities, with Kamiah and Pierce topping the list.
|MOUNTAIN HOME A F B||$2,692.24|
|COEUR D ALENE||$2,765.50|
|LAVA HOT SPRINGS||$2,831.92|
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Best Idaho Auto Insurance Companies
There are a lot of auto insurance companies in Idaho, and the numbers above tell us their rates can be all over the map depending on who you are and where you live. But which Idaho auto insurance companies are the best overall?
You probably already know that not all insurance companies are created equal. Even rate differences aside, they don’t all deliver on the promises they make in return for your hard-earned money.
You want a policy from a auto insurance company you can trust, but it’s hard to dig through all the information out there. It would be easier to see it all boiled down to the basics.
We have gathered the facts on the biggest auto insurance companies in Idaho to show you where they all rank.
In this section, we look at the financial stability, consumer satisfaction ratings, and complaint ratios for Idaho’s biggest auto insurance companies, and then take a look at who has the cheapest rates.
The Largest Companies’ Financial Ratings
AM Best monitors the financial stability of insurance companies and gives them a letter grade. A company with a high grade is on a solid financial footing and unlikely to find itself struggling to pay claims.
All of the top companies in Idaho rank well with either an excellent (A) or superior (A+, A++) rating. That means you can depend on any of these companies to stay solvent, even if they face a catastrophe that results in big claim payouts.
|Providers (Listed by Size, Largest to Smallest)||A.M. Best Rating|
|State Farm Group||A++|
|Farm Bureau Group||A|
|Liberty Mutual Group||A|
|Farmers Insurance Group||A|
|Allstate Insurance Group||A+|
|American Family Insurance Group||A|
|Sentry Insurance Group||A+|
Companies With The Best Ratings
When it comes to customer satisfaction ratings, no name carries more clout than J.D. Power. Among the categories where this trusted consumer reporting company hands down accolades are insurance companies.
These are the top-rated insurance companies in the Northwest region for 2018.
Only two companies earned a 5/5 ranking from J.D. Power. One is USAA, which is only open to military members and their families. The other is PEMCO, which unfortunately serves only Washington and Oregon.
That leaves The Hartford and American Family as the two top-ranking insurers for Idaho, both with above-average four out of five ratings. State Farm also managed to land a rating that’s above the state average.
Companies With the Most Complaints in Idaho
The Idaho Department of Insurance gathers complaint information for auto insurance companies. Of the top 10 insurance companies in the state, only four had complaints on file for 2017.
State Farm had the most complaints with three. They’re also the biggest auto insurance company in Idaho, which makes their three complaints a fairly small number. That said, it’s still above average.
|Company Name||# of Complaints||Index||Market Share||Premium|
|State Farm||3||2.24||13.38 %||$126,962,470|
|Liberty Mutual||2||9.99||2.00 %||$19,000,251|
Cheapest Companies in Idaho
Here’s a look at how the top companies in Idaho stack up for rates.
|Company||Annual Average||Compared to State Average ($)||Compared to State Average (%)|
|American Family Mutual||$3,728.79||$865.97||23.22%|
|Farmers Ins Co Of ID||$3,168.28||$305.47||9.64%|
|Safeco Ins Co of IL||$2,301.51||-$561.30||-24.39%|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$1,867.96||-$994.85||-53.26%|
|Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co||$3,226.29||$363.48||11.27%|
State Farm has the lowest rate, followed closely by USAA. Several of the biggest companies have rates well above the state average.
Averages aren’t everything, of course, and your rates will vary based on specifics of your situation. We’ll take a look at a few of those factors next.
Commute Rates By Company
For most companies, the rate difference between a 10-mile and 25-mile commute is either non-existent or negligible. That may come as a surprise to quite a few people since it’s generally believed that commute has a big impact on rates.
|Group||10-mile commute, 6,000 mile annual average||25-mile commute, 12,000 mile annual average|
Commute times are not the only factor that affect your rates.
Coverage Level Rates By Company
If you think you can’t afford higher coverage, you’re not alone. A lot of people stick to a lower coverage level because of the cost. But is it really that much more to be better protected? Take a look.
|Group||Annual Rate with Low Coverage||Annual Rate with Medium Coverage||Annual Rate with High Coverage|
The rate differences really aren’t that drastic. At most companies, an Idaho driver can go from low to high coverage for just a few hundred dollars a year.
Credit History Rates By Company
Coverage level and commute distance may not have a huge impact on rates, but credit score does. Of all the factors we have looked at so far, this one makes the biggest difference.
The average credit score in Idaho is 681, according to Experian’s Hippo auto insurance review. That’s a little above the national average of 675.
|Group||Annual Rate with Poor Credit||Annual Rate with Fair Credit||Annual Rate with Good Credit|
Improving your credit is one of the best ways to get your auto insurance rates down; going from poor to good credit saves thousands at many companies.
Driving Record Rates By Company
The numbers below show how much impact driving record has on rates, using several common situations to compare.
The big takeaway here should be that no matter what’s on your record, shopping around can make a huge difference in your rates. Even with an accident or a DUI, State Farm’s rates are lower than many companies’ rates for a driver with a clean record.
|Group||Clean Record||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI||With 1 speeding violation|
If you’re not comparing rates, it could be costing you a lot of money.
Largest Auto Insurance Companies in Idaho
State Farm holds the largest part of the auto insurance market in Idaho, with a little over 15 percent.
Behind them are three companies very close together. Geico, Farm Bureau, and Liberty Mutual all hold a little over 10 percent of the market.
|Company Name||Direct Premiums Written||Market Share|
|State Farm Group||$142,722||15.04%|
|Farm Bureau Group||$98,873||10.42%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$96,435||10.16%|
|Farmers Insurance Group||$81,594||8.60%|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$79,124||8.34%|
|American Family Insurance Group||$27,659||2.91%|
|Sentry Insurance Group||$18,243||1.92%|
Number of Auto Insurance Companies in Idaho
There are 832 auto insurance providers licensed to do business in Idaho. The vast majority of those are foreign, which means they have their headquarters in a different state.
Ten insurance companies are incorporated within Idaho.
|Property & Casualty Insurance||Totals|
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Idaho State Laws
Laws help to ensure that everyone on the road is safe and responsible, but you have to know them to follow them!
Most people don’t know all of the laws or the specifics of them; it’s too confusing to read through statutes and make sense of all the complex language. It would be so much easier if the pertinent laws were simplified and presented in one neat package, right?
That’s what we’re here for. This section will provide you with just the need-to-know on Idaho’s state laws.
Read on to learn about insurance, vehicle licensing, and rules of the road that are currently in place in Idaho and affect you when you’re on the road.
Auto Insurance Laws
The Idaho Legislature governs laws that pertain to the insurance industry as well as to the requirements for auto insurance on Idaho roads. Title 41 encompasses all of the laws about insurance, while Title 49 contains all of the motor vehicle codes and statutes.
All insurance companies must file rates and forms with the state insurance department before they can be used, but prior approval isn’t required.
Idaho law allows the use of aftermarket or used parts in car windshield repairs. The insured has to be notified of the intent to use these parts in writing and has the right to refuse.
Should you choose to refuse the use of these parts, you can be required to pay the difference out of pocket.
Insurance companies in Idaho aren’t required to offer any sort of special windshield coverage, but many still do. Those that don’t – or if you don’t elect the coverage – will cover your windshield under comprehensive insurance. That means the usual comprehensive deductible will apply. Check out the Idaho Windshield Insurance.
High-risk insurance is coverage provided to drivers who don’t qualify for a policy under the rules of standard auto insurance companies. Most of the time this is due to the driver’s record and may include things like multiple tickets or accidents and serious violations.
You may also be considered a high-risk driver if you have really bad credit, or if you have an international driver’s license.
There are companies known as non-standard insurers that cater to high-risk drivers, but in some cases, a driver may find that no one on the open market will offer them insurance.
In that case, Idaho provides the Idaho Automobile Insurance Plan, which is part of the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans. This is an assigned risk plan, which means they’ll assign you to a specific insurance company, and that company is required to offer you coverage.
Plans like this allow the high-risk pool to spread around to various insurers, avoiding a lot of risk falling on one company.
High-risk insurance is expensive and is a last resort.
Drivers should only turn to the assigned risk pool when other options have been exhausted. The plan will get you covered and does place limitations on what you can be charged for coverage, but it will still be expensive. Clearing up your record as soon as possible is the best course of action to get back on a more affordable, standard policy.
High-risk drivers may also be asked to file an SR-22. This is a document that the insurance company files on your behalf, stating that you have the required coverage.
While a lot of companies advertise “SR-22 Insurance”, it’s not a specific type of policy. The coverage is the same, and almost any company can issue an SR-22 on any policy that meets the legal requirements.
Idaho doesn’t offer any specific programs for low-cost auto insurance.
Rates in the state already come in well below the national average. If you’re still struggling to make auto insurance affordable, your best bet is to shop around to find a better deal. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all of the available discounts, too!
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Idaho
Insurance fraud is a crime in Idaho, and what that entails is outline clearly in Title 41, Chapter 2 of the state code. Basically, any act intended to defraud an insurance company of money using false information is a crime and punishable by the law.
While many people think of fraud as a major action involving fake crashes or exaggerated injuries, a lot of fraud is much more subtle. Soft fraud, which involves things like misrepresenting information on your auto insurance application, costs the industry billions. That, in turn, drives up prices for consumers.
Idaho takes insurance fraud seriously. Any violation of the insurance fraud law is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $15,000 in fines plus restitution.
And yes, that includes what might be considered white lies, like not mentioning who drives your car and how often on your insurance application. So while insuring your teen driver is pricey and you may hope to get around that increase with a small lie, the penalties are harsh and definitely not worth the risk!
Idaho operates a fraud bureau through the Department of Insurance, which allows suspected fraud to be reported online.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations of claims determines how long you have to file a claim or lawsuit after an accident.
In Idaho, the limit is two years for injury and three years for property damage.
Vehicle Licensing Laws
This section will break down all the need-to-know laws on driver and vehicle licensing in Idaho.
Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
Driving without insurance is against the law in Idaho, and you’re required to present proof that you have coverage on request to a police officer. That proof can be on paper, or it can be in an electronic format on your phone or another mobile device.
Idaho does use an Online Insurance Verification System, or OIVS. Insurance companies report all policy information to the Transportation Department, including new policies and cancellations. This allows a police officer to verify whether or not you have insurance on the spot during a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident.
If by some chance you don’t have proof with you, or there is an error in the OIVS (this can happen if you just recently took out a policy and it hasn’t updated yet) Idaho allows you to present the proof that you were insured at the time of the stop (or accident) at any time prior to your court date to avoid conviction.
If you’re convicted penalties will apply.
For a first conviction, the law is pretty lenient. You’ll pay a $75 fee and your license will be suspended until you provide proof of insurance. There’s no jail time or reinstatement fee.
If you are caught driving uninsured a second time within five years, the penalties are stiffer. You will pay a fine of up to $1,000 and could spend up to six months in county jail. The same penalties apply to all subsequent offenses.
Drivers caught without insurance will also have to file an SR-22 to prove they have the required coverage.
Teen Driver Laws
Teen drivers in Idaho will go through the state’s Graduated Licensing Program (GDL), a multi-stage program that ends with a full license.
|Type of License||Age of Eligibility||Requirements||Restrictions|
|Driver Training Permit||14.5 years||Enroll in Driver Education||May only drive with instructor|
|Supervised Instruction Permit||14.5 years +instruction period (min. 30 days for public school program)||Pass course including:|
-30 hours classroom
-6 hours behind the wheel
-6 hours observation in car
|May only drive with a licensed driver over 21|
|Intermediate License||15 years||Hold permit for at least six months|
Complete 50 hours of practice, 10 of which were at night
Pass written and road tests
|May only drive during daylight hours unless accompanied by a driver over 21
Only one passenger under 21 (other than family) for first six months or until age 17
|Full License||16 years||None||Passenger restriction (only one under 21 except family) applies if license has not been held for at least six months|
Teens in Idaho can get licensed earlier than in most states, with the possibility of an unrestricted license by the age of 16 if all requirements are met.
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
Older drivers can choose between a four-year and an eight-year driver license up until the age of 63, at which point the four-year renewal cycle becomes mandatory.
After the age of 70, all drivers must renew in person and complete a vision screening as part of the renewal process.
Welcome to Idaho! You have 90 days to transfer your out-of-state license to an Idaho license.
You can take care of getting your new license at any Sheriff’s office location where driver licensing services are provided. Be prepared to pass a vision screening as well as a knowledge test on the rules of the road in Idaho. You’ll also be asked to surrender your out-of-state license.
If your license has been expired for more than 25 months or you hold a license from another country (except Germany and Korea) you will be asked to take a road test as well.
Along with your fees and old license, you will also need to bring proof of lawful presence in the United States and proof of residency in the state of Idaho.
License Renewal Procedures
For the general population, license renewal takes place every four or eight years, depending on the license you have chosen.
You can renew your license by mail every second renewal, up until age 70, but only if you have the four-year license. Proof of adequate vision is required at every renewal.
Negligent Operator Treatment System
Idaho has a points system to track and penalize drivers who repeatedly violate the law. Points are assigned to various violations and can accumulate.
When your points total reaches a point where license suspension is imminent, a courtesy warning letter will be sent out. Here’s a look at the points needed to warrant a suspension.
|Number Of Points||License Suspension|
|12-17 in 12 months||30 days|
|18-23 in 24 months||90 days|
|24+ in 36 months||6 months|
Certain violations can result in a suspension no matter your points total. These include:
- Fleeing a police officer
- Reckless driving
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death or before police arrive
- Motor vehicle use in a felony
- Failure to pay a judgment for damages in a previous accident
- Violation of license restrictions
When the suspension period is over, fees will need to be paid in order to reinstate driving privileges.
Rules of the Road
A lot of rules apply to drivers on the road. Here’s a breakdown of the most important ones to know.
Fault Vs. No-Fault
Fault law govern how insurance companies pay out after an accident
Idaho is a fault state.
If you are found to be at fault in an accident, your insurance company will pay out up to the limits of your liability coverage. After those limits, you can be held responsible for any remaining damages.
Since Idaho uses contributory negligence for lawsuits, which means that unless you are zero percent at fault in an accident, you may not be able to recover full damages. The amount you’re able to recover is reduced by the same percentage as the fault you are found to have in causing the accident.
So, if you have $100,000 in damages and you are found to be 20 percent at fault in the accident, you can recover only $80,000.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
Seat belt and car seat laws in Idaho are fairly intuitive. Everyone over the age of seven, regardless of where they are seated in the vehicle, must wear a seat belt in Idaho.
Those under the age of 7 will need to be secured in the proper car seat according to child safety seat laws in Idaho. The law doesn’t mandate what type of car seat must be used, nor is there any preference for rear or front seats, however, the Idaho Department of Transportation recommends:
- All children under 13 are in the back seat
- Rear-facing car seats up to age 2 or until the child outgrow the seat
- Use of top tether on forward-facing seats until the child reaches 40 lbs
- Booster seats until age 8 or at least 4’9″ in height
These recommendations are similar to those from the American Academy of Pediatrics, although the AAP recently updated its rear-facing recommendation to four years old or the height and weight limit of the car seat.
Idaho has no specific law on riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck, but the usual laws regarding children and safety seats always apply.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
Idaho laws required drivers to stay to the right if they are moving more slowly than the general speed of traffic.
Passing on the right is generally prohibited, except when the vehicle ahead is making a left turn or on a road with two lanes moving in the same direction. Drivers aren’t permitted to pass on the right if it requires going off the road to do so.
When passing a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights on, drivers are required to change lanes (if safe to do so) and also slow down to below the posted speed limit.
Idaho’s speed limits vary depending on the road. Always obey posted limits, which can change in construction zones.
Here are the speed limits for most freeways and highways.
|Type of Vehicle||Interstate (Rural)||Interstate (Urban)||Other Restricted Access Roads||Other Roads|
|Passenger Car||75 (80 where specified)||75 (80 where specified)||70||70|
Idaho’s Transportation Network Company Services Act outlines all of the laws that apply to services like Uber and Lyft, including those applying to their drivers.
If you drive for one of these companies, your personal insurance policy may not cover you, and in fact, the company could drop you entirely if they find out. That’s bad news since the law does require you to have insurance at all times!
There are three companies offering rideshare insurance in Idaho: Farmers, State Farm, and American Family. State Farm’s is the most comprehensive, while the other two leave you reliant on the rideshare company’s coverage during periods one and two. Those periods refer to times when you have been matched with a rider and are en-route, and when that rider is in your vehicle.
All three companies, however, will continue to insure you as a rideshare driver on a personal policy.
Automation on the Road
Idaho doesn’t currently have any laws regarding autonomous vehicles on the road.
There is a committee that was created in early 2018 working on how to handle autonomous vehicles in the state for the future.
These Idaho laws are in place to make sure drivers are in control of the vehicle and focused on the road at all times.
The blood alcohol limit (BAC) in Idaho is 0.08 percent. Anyone caught driving at this level can be charged with a DUI.
A BAC of 2.0 or over is considered a high BAC and comes with additional penalties, including a shorter look-back period of five years versus the usual 10.
Here’s a look at the DUI penalties in Idaho.
|Idaho's DUI Laws||Type of crime||License suspension/revocation||Imprisonment||Fine||Other|
|1st Offense||Misdemeanor||90-180 days||Up to 6 months||Up to $1,000|
|2nd Offense||Misdemeanor (felony if high BAC)||1 year||10 days to 1 year||Up to $2,000||IID Mandatory|
|3rd Offense or DUI with bodily harm/disfigurement||Felony||1-5 years||30 days to 5 years||Up to $5,000||IID Mandatory|
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
Despite bordering several states where marijuana is legal, Idaho currently has no specific marijuana-impaired driving laws.
That said, the use of any intoxicating substance before driving can result in an impaired driving charge in Idaho. That includes marijuana, regardless of whether it was used legally.
Distracted Driving Laws
Idaho has no statewide laws regarding the use of a cell phone to make a phone call while driving, but texting while driving is illegal everywhere.
Some cities and counties have enacted their own laws banning handheld cell phone use. These include:
- Idaho Falls
- Blaine County
Be sure you’re aware of local laws at all times!
Idaho Must-Know Facts
Idaho is generally viewed as a pretty safe place to live, but everyone knows there are dangers on the road. What should you really be worried about when it comes to vehicle and road safety? It’s hard to be sure what’s a real worry and what’s media sensationalism.
We’ve gathered some statistics to help clear things up.
Read on for the details on vehicle theft, crashes, and even traffic in Idaho.
Vehicle Theft in Idaho
Be careful with your truck! Ford and Chevy pickups top the list of most stolen vehicles in Idaho.
|Make and Model||Year||Number of Thefts|
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2004||108|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||1999||76|
|Dodge Pickup (Full Size)||2001||45|
|GMC Pickup (Full Size)||1992||32|
|Ford Pickup (Small Size)||1991||19|
|Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||1997||19|
Check out the FBI’s numbers on vehicle theft in each city, where Boise tops the list for most vehicles stolen.
Road Dangers in Idaho
There were 244 fatal crashes on Idaho’s roads in 2017. What factors were responsible for these fatalities? We’ll look at the statistics courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this next section.
Fatal Crashes By Weather and Light Conditions
The largest number of fatal crashes happened in daylight, and with no adverse weather conditions, which indicates other factors were likely at play.
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other / Unknown||Total|
Fatalities By County
Search the table below to see fatality rates by county.
|Bear Lake County||1|
|Nez Perce County||7|
|Twin Falls County||9|
Traffic Fatalities Rural Vs. Urban
More fatalities in Idaho happened in rural areas than in urban areas in 2017.
|Location||Number of Fatalities (2017)|
Fatalities By Person Type
Most crashes with fatalities involved vehicle passengers rather than non-occupants or motorcyclists.
|Occupants (Enclosed Vehicles)||200|
Fatalities By Crash Type
More than half of Idaho’s fatal crashes involved a roadway departure.
|Involving a Large Truck||46|
|Involving a Rollover||109|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||162|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||45|
Five-Year Trend for the Top Ten Counties
Fatality trends in most counties show a general increase over five years. Some counties show big changes year over year; Valley county went from zero to nine between 2016 and 2017, while Twin Falls County cut their number in half between those two years.
|County||Fatalities 2013||Fatalities 2014||Fatalities 2015||Fatalities 2016||Fatalities 2017|
|Twin Falls County||7||12||11||18||9|
Fatalities Involving Speeding By County
Take a look at which Idaho counties had the most speeding fatalities in 2017 below.
|County||2017 Speeding Fatalities|
|Bear Lake County||0|
|Nez Perce County||3|
|Twin Falls County||0|
Fatalities Involving DUI By County
Which counties have the most DUI fatalities in Idaho? Check the numbers for 2017 below.
|County||DUI Fatalities (2017)|
|Bear Lake County||1|
|Nez Perce County||1|
|Twin Falls County||3|
Teen Drinking and Driving
Idaho ranks 11th in the nation for DUI arrests among drivers 18 and under and has a higher than the average number of DUI deaths among drivers 21 and under.
|Teens & Drunk Driving||Info|
|Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Per 100K of the Population||1.4|
|Higher/Lower Than National Average (1.2)||Higher|
|DUI Arrests (Under 18 Years Old)||61|
|DUI Arrests (Under 18 Years Old) Total Per Million People||139.53|
EMS Response Time
It takes about twice as long for Emergency Medical Services to respond to a fatal crash in a rural area versus an urban area, which isn’t surprising.
|Location||Time of Crash to EMS Notification||EMS Notification to EMS Arrival|
|Rural Fatal Crashes||4.73||13.33|
|Urban Fatal Crashes||2.23||6.07|
How many cars do Idahoans own and how do they use them to get to work? Take a look at these stats on car ownership and commuting.
More people in Idaho own three or more cars than own two cars, with a total of 42.8 percent in the three, four, and five categories to 38.7 percent in the two-car category. The three, four, and five+ categories are all above the national average.
Still, the majority of people (a total of 55.7 percent) own either one or two cars, with numbers both below the national average.
The average commute time in Idaho is 19.7 minutes, which falls under the national average of 25.3 minutes.
Almost 80 percent of Idahoans get to work in their car alone.
Traffic Congestion in Idaho
Idaho isn’t known for huge, congested cities, but that doesn’t mean there’s no traffic.
Boise is Idaho’s largest city, and according to TomTom ranks at number 29 in the United States for traffic. Drivers can expect 20 percent more travel time on average due to congestion.
Morning peak traffic increases travel time by 22 percent, while the evening rush sees a greater increase of 34 percent.
Highways in Boise are faster, with a reduction in travel time of three percent, while non-highways add 27 percent.
Overall, Boise’s traffic adds 17 minutes of travel time per day and 67 hours per year.
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