What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident Without Insurance but Not At Fault in Idaho

Driving without insurance is a legal offense in Idaho—and if you’re in an accident while uninsured, you could lose your license or even go to jail.
Written by Jennifer Justice
Reviewed by Shannon Martin
You can face serious consequences if you live in Idaho and get into an accident without insurance. Idaho only lets you seek financial compensation if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. You’re also looking at legal consequences if you don’t have insurance coverage.
An accident is always stressful, but you can get into trouble if you don’t have an active
Idaho car insurance
policy. Read this handy guide about what to do if you are in a car accident while driving uninsured in Idaho. We will also cover what to do if someone without insurance hits you and additional coverage options that can help you avoid financial pitfalls in the future. 
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What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Idaho and not at fault

While you can be in legal trouble if you drive without insurance in Idaho, getting into an accident while uninsured creates its own set of problems. However, you can minimize these issues if you follow some basic steps.
Whatever you do, don’t leave the accident scene. Under
Idaho's car accident laws
, you can be charged with a hit-and-run regardless of your insurance status. Still, be aware that accidents can lead to legal charges:
  • Property damage is considered a misdemeanor and can lead to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine
  •  Injury or death can be charged as a felony, which would mean up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine
Stay in the immediate area, but move the vehicles out of the flow of traffic. You should check for injuries and call for help, especially if someone is injured. Idaho also requires drivers involved in the accident to provide the following:
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • The vehicle registration number
  • Your insurance information
  • Show your driver’s license
Document as much as possible about the accident, such as weather and road conditions, take photos of the vehicles involved, write down witness statements, and record other relevant details. Include any available information, even if you’re not sure it’s important, since it could make a difference when deciding how much fault each driver is at, which also affects financial compensation.
You’ll need to file a police report if anyone is injured or there is property damage over $1,500. It’s better to file a report since you might not know the damage's dollar amount until later. If you’re within city limits, contact the local police department, but you’ll need to file a report with the County Sheriff or the Idaho State police if you are outside city limits.
If you are less than 50% to blame for the accident, you’ll be able to file a claim for damages. Idaho adjusts what you can get based on how much you contributed to the accident; something called
modified comparative negligence
. For example, if each driver contributed to the accident equally at 50%, then neither driver would get compensation from the other person.
However, this changes once the percentage of blame shifts beyond a 50/50 split. For example, if you are 20% at fault and the other driver is 80% at fault, you could get up to 80% of the damages you seek. If this was $10,000, you could get up to 80% of that amount ($8,000) – since you had 20% of the blame in the accident, you would have to pay 20% of the cost.
Key Takeaway While getting into an accident is especially bad if you are uninsured, you can still protect yourself by taking the proper steps after an accident.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Idaho?

In Idaho, the insurance companies and the court decide who is at fault, including what percent of the blame is assigned to each driver – i.e., how much each person contributed to the accident.
If you don’t have insurance, you can only file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company and sue for damages if you are assigned less than 50% of the blame. This is why it’s crucial to document as much as possible after the accident and file a police report. The information provided will help determine who is at fault, which affects how much compensation you are eligible for.

Do you need to report a car accident in Idaho? 

If anyone is injured as a result of the accident or if there is property damage over $1,500, then you must file a police report. It’s generally better to file a report since you might discover the property damage was greater than expected or some injuries weren’t immediately apparent.
Even if there are no injuries or the damage is minor, like a scratch, you are still legally required to give your insurance information, name, address, and VIN information to the other person.

What if you’re at fault?

Well, you can expect significant consequences. Because Idaho is a
modified comparative negligence
state, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed 51% or more negligent for the accident. If you don’t have insurance, the not-at-fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages. 
If both drivers are assigned 50% of the fault, then neither of you can seek damages. But if it’s decided that you are 51% or more at fault in the accident, the other driver can get at least some compensation. For example, if the other driver is given 10% of the fault for speeding and you are 90% at fault for running a red light, the other driver can sue you for 90% of their expenses.

What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Idaho?

Okay, what if you have insurance and the other driver doesn’t? File a claim with your insurance company, as well as a police report, but this is when you might need to involve the courts. The
Idaho legal system has options
to help you get financial compensation from the other driver, including suspending their license and wage garnishment. However, by including additional protection on your car insurance policy, you might be able to avoid those legal hassles. 
Idaho doesn’t require
uninsured and underinsured driver coverage (UM/UIM)
as part of the state minimum, but considering that about 13% of the drivers don’t have any insurance, you should opt for at least some uninsured driver coverage. 
UM/UIM coverage pays for medical bills and related expenses for you and your passengers resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver with insufficient coverage.
Another optional yet helpful coverage is
medical payments (MedPay)
. If you selected this coverage, it will make the first payments toward the medical bills for you and your passengers. Once this coverage is exhausted, UM/UIM will kick in automatically if appropriate.   
If you are looking for ways to protect your car from uninsured drivers,
collision coverage
should also be a part of your policy. Collison coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle damaged from an accident up to your car’s
actual cash value (ACV)
minus the collision deductible.  
You might think you’re doing your pocketbook a favor by skimping on insurance, but even one accident could leave you in a serious financial hole if you don’t have the right coverage.
Key Takeaway Protect yourself ahead of time by adding uninsured driver coverage, bodily injury liability, medical payments, and collision coverage options to your insurance.
MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Idaho’s Texting and Driving Laws

Penalties for driving without insurance in Idaho

Beyond financial woes, you’ll have to deal with other penalties for driving without insurance in Idaho, such as:
  • First time – $75 fine
  • Second or more  – $1,000 fine each time; possible jail time up to 6 months
  • Any time – driver’s license suspension ($85 fee to reinstate); court and paperwork fees
Idaho can
suspend your driver’s license
until you show proof of insurance or your insurer files an
SR22 certificate
, which means your insurance premiums will increase as a high-risk driver.
If you have insurance coverage but didn’t have
proof of insurance
when you needed to provide it, you’ll need to prove that you have it for two months in a row. Your license will also be suspended until you provide that proof.
MORE: The penalties for using fake proof of insurance

Minimum required car insurance in Idaho

So what are the
Idaho car insurance requirements
? Your car insurance must have a minimum of 25/50/15 of liability insurance coverage, which includes:
You should consider additional coverage because of how many uninsured drivers there are in Idaho, and the fact that minimum coverage rarely covers the actual cost of an accident. Experts suggest you up your coverage to $100,000 for bodily injury per person, $300,000 maximum for all bodily injuries, and $100,000 for property damage liability. 
Besides higher coverage, you should look at adding
comprehensive coverage
to pay for repairs in case of a non-collision event, like fire, theft, vandalism, and wind or glass damage.

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

If you still need some motivation to get the bare minimum, keep in mind that your insurance cost will only increase
if you’re caught driving without insurance
. Since Idaho can require you to get SR22 insurance, you’ll have to pay a lot more because you’ll be considered a high-risk driver. Saving a few dollars in the short term can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars later.
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