Bucolic Idaho, one of the country’s biggest potato growers, producing nearly one-third of all potatoes grown in the U.S., is also known for being one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the nation. So while it’s an important agricultural state, its largest industry is actually science and technology.
Idaho’s capital city, Boise, is home to Micron Technology. Sun Microsystems, which has been absorbed by Oracle, employs large numbers of people, as well as Hewlett-Packard, which manufactures its inkjet printers there.
Idahoans enjoy some of the nation’s lowest auto insurance premiums, paying well less than the national annual average auto insurance premiums.
Idaho’s mandatory auto insurance requirements
Idaho auto insurance laws require motorists to carry two types of auto insurance: liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist. It is illegal to drive in Idaho without both coverages. Idaho residents have the right to refuse uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but must do this in writing.
Here are the mandatory liability minimums you must carry to drive on Idaho roads:
- $25,000 – bodily injury, one person
- $50,000 – bodily injury, multiple victims, per accident
- $15,000 – property damage
It’s important to note that while the above limits meet the state of Idaho’s auto insurance required liability minimums, in many cases, carrying only the minimum coverages may put you at risk.
Say for example that you are seriously injured in an auto accident. With skyrocketing medical costs, should your medical expenses sustained from an accident exceed the limit for which you have coverage, your insurance company will pay only up to the covered amount. The rest of the expenses will come out of your pocket.
It is wise to discuss with your Idaho auto insurance agent the proper coverage you should carry to ensure that you have the full protection you need.
Uninsured (UM)/Underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage
According to Idaho auto insurance laws, it is mandatory that any policy purchased or renewed after January 1, 2009 must include UM and UIM auto insurance coverage. Idahoans can refuse this insurance, but must do so in writing.
UM auto insurance protects you if you are in a car crash and found not to be at fault. This coverage protects you in the situation of an uninsured motorist or one who flees the site of the accident.
UIM protects you in the event of an underinsured driver who does not carry the required legal amount of liability insurance.
The above coverages pay for injuries sustained as a result of an accident. As UM/UIM coverages typically do not pay for any damages to your vehicle, be sure to discuss this with your Idaho auto insurance agent or company to ensure you are adequately protected.
Inquire with your agent about how to cover yourself and any members of your household for property damages. Your agent may be able to add property damage coverage to UM/UIM in your policy.
Tips for reducing the cost of your Idaho auto insurance policy
While residents in the Gem State enjoy lower auto insurance premiums on average than much of the country, in a challenging economy it still pays to be a savvy shopper when it comes to buying car insurance.
You can save on your Idaho auto insurance if you just do a bit of homework. If you’re shopping for auto insurance for the first time, or you’re coming up on your renewal, it never hurts to talk to a number of insurers. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. For example, if one auto insurance company quotes you a lower rate than another company, make sure that the deductibles are exactly the same, so that you are comparing exact coverages to the same exact coverages.
When inquiring about auto insurance rates from various insurers, ask if they offer any or all of the following:
- Discount for being a good driver, with no accidents. Accidents, DWI/DUI convictions and prior claims directly affect the cost of your premiums
- Discount for insuring multiple vehicles
- Discount for carrying multiple policies (auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance) with the same company.
- Discount for paying annually as opposed to monthly or quarterly. Some companies offer a 5% discount for paying annually
Other discounts that may be available:
- If you have a student in the household that makes excellent grades, inquire about a good student discount
- If you have a newer car with anti-theft devices installed
- If drivers are of the age of 50 or older, inquire about a discount for completing an approved drivers training
- If you have been with an agency or auto insurance company for an extended period of time, ask if they offer a continuous coverage discount
Average annual cost of auto insurance
In 2011, Idahoans pay an average annual auto insurance premium of $1325, which is significantly lower than the national annual average, which is $1561.
Idaho Department of Insurance