Idaho, the nation’s 43rd state, earns its nickname, “The Gem State”, by being one of two places in the world where the Star Garnet can be mined. Another reason for this name is the fact that nearly every variety of gemstone has been located in this state. Although not always considered cowboy country, this state boasts some of the largest ranches and most exciting rodeos in the country. The Frank-Church River of No Return Wilderness Area boasts 2.3 million acres of protected land, creating the perfect drive through untamed countryside and vast scenic views. Freeing up drivers’ time to enjoy this state, CheapCarInsurance.net has compiled this list of the best car insurance information every driver should know.
According to NAIC.org, Idaho’s car insurance premiums as a percentage of income hit an all-time low in 2007. Although increased since then, both average premiums and average premiums as a percentage of income fall well below the national average in Idaho. Here is a breakdown of car insurance costs by county in Idaho:
Costs by County:
Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in Idaho
Requirements for car insurance in Idaho are found on Idaho’s Department of Insurance website. Idaho law states that liability coverage is mandatory for all vehicles that are registered and operated in the state.
Liability Coverage minimums:
$25,000 coverage for an accident involving a single-individual bodily injury or death.
$50,000 coverage for an accident involving multiple-individual bodily injuries or deaths.
$15,000 for property damage coverage.
Citations, fees and suspension of driving privileges can result from a failure to properly insure one’s vehicle.
New Driver Licensing Requirements
Applicants may obtain an Idaho license upon turning 15; however, all applicants under the age of 17 must complete Idaho’s graduated drivers license program to obtain a regular drivers license. The Idaho Driver’s Manual outlines the program and the restrictions in detail. Below are the general facts regarding graduated license and regular license information in Idaho.
Applicants under the age of 17 must complete an approved driver training program which includes 30 hours in the classroom, 6 hours of in-car observation in a driver-training car and 6 hours of supervised driving. Successful completion of this program allows the applicant to enter the supervised instruction period. During this phase, the applicant:
Must pass the vision and knowledge
Must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older at all times
Must complete 50 hours of driving time with 10 of these hours including nighttime driving
Must ensure all occupants wear safety belts at all times
Completing and abiding by the above parameters, the applicant may apply for a regular Class D license. If under 18, the applicant must have a parent or guardian sign the application and provide proof of school enrollment or graduation.
Vision Exam. All applicants must be at least 15 years old to take the vision, written and skills tests. The vision test measures the applicant’s visual acuity, and an acuity of 20/40 in at least one eye, with or without corrective lenses, is needed to pass.
Written Test. New drivers and applicants whose license has been expired for 25 or more months are required to take this test. The test evaluates the applicant’s knowledge of traffic laws, signals, markings and equipment. A portion of the test also assesses the applicant’s ability to identify traffic signs by shape, color or symbol. 34 of the 40 questions must be answered correctly to pass, and the questions are derived from information found in the Idaho Driver’s Manual.
Road Skills Test. Skills evaluated in this test can also be located in the Idaho Driver’s Manual. The test is required for new drivers, drivers who are proceeding through the graduated license program and drivers whose license has been expired for 25 or more months. The test consists of a pre-drive checklist and the driving test. The vehicle used must be properly registered, licensed and maintained.
The pre-check tests requires the applicant to demonstrate knowledge regarding the following:
All exterior lights
Windshield and wipers
Rear view mirrors
The road skills portion of the test evaluates the applicant’s skills in the following areas:
Street parking and backing
Parking lot driving
Business and residential driving
Freeway or highway driving
Four right turns and four left turns
Driving through a curve
Failure of the written or skills tests requires an applicant to wait 3 days prior to re-taking the tests. The testing fees are required upon all re-tests.
Fees. The Idaho Transportation Department lists the following fees:
Knowledge test, $3
Road skills test, $24
Instruction permit, $15
Regular drivers license:
1 year (age 17), $15
3 years (under 18), $25
3 years (age 18 – 21), $25
1 year (age20), $15
4 years (age 21 and over), $30
8 years (age 21 – 62), $55
DUI and DWI Laws
BAC limit: .08 The State of Idaho Legislature outlines the penalties for DUI convictions. Idaho also requires stricter penalties for DUI convictions with BAC of .2 or higher.
First Offense – misdemeanor:
Maximum 6 months imprisonment
Maximum $1,000 fine
License suspension from 90 to 180 days
Second Offense within 10 Years – misdemeanor:
Minimum 10 days and maximum 1 year imprisonment
Maximum $2,000 fine
Minimum license suspension of 1 year from the date of release from imprisonment
Mandatory Ignition Interlock System
Third Offense within 10 Years – felony:
Minimum 30 days and maximum 5 years imprisonment
Maximum $5,000 fine
Minimum 1 year and maximum 5 year license suspension from the date of release from imprisonment