UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020
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Idaho drivers are lucky enough to pay some of the lowest car insurance rates in the country; they ranked as the third lowest on average for 2018. Of course, rates are only a part of the picture, and a low rate does not mean much if customer service is not up to par. Our top picks for car insurance in Idaho offer great rates with an excellent reputation.
Basics of Auto Insurance in Idaho
Idaho’s car insurance laws require that each driver carry a minimum of $25,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury per person and $50,000 per incident. The law also requires at least $15,000 in coverage for property damage. While the state’s bodily injury requirements are about on par with most other states, the property damage limit is on the low side.
The law also requires that drivers carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage at limits matching the liability limits unless they choose to waive this coverage in writing.
Idaho drivers can also choose to meet the legal requirement with a bond of $50,000, at least $15,000 of which must go towards covering property damage liability.
There is no further coverage required by law, although anyone with a loan or lease on their vehicle will need to take out an insurance policy that meets the requirements set out by the lender. This generally means carrying comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, and may also set limits on deductibles or require liability limits above the state minimum. It is important to check with the lender or leaseholder prior to taking out an insurance policy so make sure you know what coverage you need.
Specifics of Idaho Auto Insurance
There is nothing unusual or specific in Idaho state law when it comes to car insurance; the state has one of the more basic financial responsibility laws.
Idaho does operate as a fault or tort state, which means that you can sue or be sued for damages after an accident, including pain and suffering. The state enjoys a relatively low rate of litigation, which is part of the reason for the low insurance costs, but that does not mean base coverage is enough.
One of the best ways to avoid litigation and keep rates low is to carry limits that are above the legal minimum. This will ensure that you have enough coverage to pay for damages in the event of an accident where you are at fault and won’t face a lawsuit to recover any costs that are above the limits.
We selected our top choices for Idaho car insurance coverage by looking at both rates and company reputation. As we have already noted, the lowest price does not always mean the best value – good customer service and in particular solid claims handling are a big part of that picture.
All of the companies on our list rank well for customer satisfaction, both in general and for claims satisfaction. We checked trusted consumer reporting services and looked over customer complaints and reviews ourselves to determine which companies are providing the best in service to their customers.
We also looked for companies that combine their good reputation with low rates; while our choices may not be the least expensive option, they offer a good value for the dollar. That also means they offer good products – policies that offer the options drivers are seeking – without a lot of nickel-and-diming to get extra benefits.
All of our choices are available to the general population in the state of Idaho. That means we chose companies with no specific eligibility requirements. USAA is a reputable company with good rates, and we do recommend them to those who qualify, but because of the limitations on who can obtain coverage, we have not listed them among our top picks.
Our Top Recommendations
These three car insurance companies provide Idaho drivers with great value – excellent products, good prices, and a strong reputation for taking care of customers.
American Family insurance ranked in the top three for the region in J.D. Power’s 2018 car insurance satisfaction survey, with an overall satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5. That is better than the company performs in some other states, which may be due to the difference in agents or to other factors.
Rates from American Family are consistently competitive, and that is across the board even for drivers with poor credit. They also offer a good bundling discount for those that insure a home. That adds up to a good value overall.
State Farm is the biggest car insurance company in the nation, and they also hold rank as one of the best choices in Idaho. Although they earned only three out of five overall from J.D, Power, the survey gave them a full five out of five on the specific category of claims. They also earned an above average rating on the national claims satisfaction survey for 2018.
It comes as a surprise to many drivers, but State Farm also offers very competitive rates. In Idaho, they rank among the lowest-priced auto insurance companies, and they are known for a solid auto/home discount too.
Like State Farm, Liberty Mutual earned a full five out of five for claims satisfaction in the regional J.D. Power survey. They also have a good reputation across the country for customer satisfaction.
Although they are not the least expensive, they do a have a really nice list of discounts available that can help to bring rates down to a more competitive level – and most drivers are likely to qualify for several of those discounts. Like the other two, Liberty Mutual also has a nice auto/home bundling discount.
Shopping for Car Insurance in Idaho
With a largely rural and more widespread population than some other states, online shopping is a great choice for Idaho drivers. Comparing rates online is a good place to start your insurance shopping, even if you prefer to work with an agent. With rate comparisons in hand, you can either purchase insurance online or get in touch with an agent for your top picks to get more information and make the final decision.
When shopping it is always a good idea to quote with liability limits that are higher than the legal minimum. In most cases, it does not cost much more to increase liability limits, and it will make a big difference if you are involved in an at-fault accident.
Before you start quoting, be sure to decide on the coverage limits and deductibles you want to carry, and then request every quote with those same limits. This ensures that you are comparing rates fairly – some companies automatically quote only the minimum in order to make their rates appear lower. Others have their own standard limits and deductibles at which they will price their policy if the insurance shopper does not specify the coverage they prefer.
The Bottom Line
It is not hard to get a great insurance rate in Idaho thanks to overall lower rates than nearly any other state in the union. Shopping around is still the best tool, however, to make sure you’re getting the coverage you really need at the right price and buying it from a company that will be there for you in a claim.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.