You may think insurance companies are only trying to make extra money by convincing you to buy more than the minimum liability coverage. However, purchasing more than the minimum actually helps you more than it helps the insurance company! This is because if you cause an accident, your minimum liability coverage may not cover the damages to the other people involved.

Insurance companies offer several types of coverage that protect against risks for drivers on the road. Idaho requires a minimum amount of bodily injury liability and property liability coverage, but you have the option to purchase more coverage than the minimum. Read on to learn the benefits of getting more than minimum liability insurance and what to do if you’re injured in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have sufficient coverage.

Types of Insurance

In Idaho, you can purchase five types of auto insurance and umbrella coverage.


Liability pays other drivers when you cause an accident. It covers bodily injury and property damage and is required in most states, including Idaho.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) / Underinsured Motorist (UIM)

UM coverage pays you if an uninsured driver causes your accident. UIM coverage pays you if another driver causes your accident and your damages exceed that driver’s liability limits.

Medical Payments

Sometimes called MedPay, this supplement to your health insurance covers medical payments up to the coverage limits after an accident. This benefit extends to you, any passengers in your vehicle, and even pedestrians hit by your car. It can also cover your own injuries if you’re a pedestrian hit by a vehicle.


Collision coverage pays for damage to your car caused by a crash with another vehicle or with an object, such as a telephone pole or traffic sign.


Comprehensive coverage is usually purchased with a collision policy as full coverage. It pays for damage caused by things other than collisions, like vandalism, theft, and animal strikes.


An umbrella policy, or personal liability insurance, pays damages beyond what your auto or homeowner’s policy covers. It covers medical, property, and funeral expenses for other people and your legal costs if you get sued. It also covers a slander or libel lawsuit and tenant injuries if you are a landlord.

Insurance protects your financial health after an accident. Idaho only requires liability coverage, but obtaining additional insurance can protect you from being personally liable for both your and others’ medical and repair bills in the case of an accident.

Idaho Minimum Requirements

Idaho requires drivers to buy minimum liability protection. It also requires insurance companies in Idaho to offer uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage unless the driver opts out.

Bodily injury liability coverage must pay up to at least $25,000 for one injured person or $50,000 per accident. Property damage liability coverage must pay up to $15,000 per accident. These amounts reflect the minimum accepted by the state and the maximum the insurance company is obligated to pay. You can purchase an auto insurance policy with higher limits.

Insurance companies must offer UM and UIM policies unless the driver refuses that coverage. Limits on these policies usually match the bodily injury liability coverage, but may vary by company.

The Costly Consequences of Inadequate Insurance

When an accident happens, having the right insurance coverage can save you from a financial and legal nightmare in the aftermath. In the rush to tick the “insurance” box, many choose the minimum requirements or the cheapest option, unaware of the potentially devastating consequences of insufficient coverage.

Here are some of the consequences you may face if you are underinsured.

High Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Minimum coverage translates to minimum compensation. A serious accident with hefty medical bills or property damage can quickly drain your savings and leave you on the hook for any costs exceeding your policy limits.

Getting Sued

If you cause an accident and your liability coverage does not fully cover the other party’s injuries and losses, you may get sued personally by the victim. Without ample coverage limits, you risk owing a substantial amount of money.

Damaged Credit

If you cannot afford to pay off judgements or bills related to the accident, your credit score can be devastated. This can impact your ability to secure loans, rent an apartment, and even get certain jobs, compounding the financial burden.


In extreme cases, inadequate insurance can lead to bankruptcy and asset forfeiture. Losing your car, your home, or your business are real possibilities if you haven’t adequately protected yourself against unforeseen events.

Choosing the right coverage isn’t just about ticking a box. It’s a calculated investment in your financial future. Take the time to understand your needs, assess your risks, and choose insurance that offers adequate protection.

Choosing Appropriate Coverage

You choose your appropriate coverage types and amounts by examining your financial situation. Factors like owning valuable assets, having an auto loan, and your ability to pay for damages to your vehicle should influence your decision. You should also compare services from multiple companies and not just pick the cheapest rates.

If you own a lot of assets like a large savings account or property, you may want to buy the maximum liability coverage offered by the company, as well as an umbrella policy. If you are sued for damages in an accident, and your liability policy doesn’t cover the damages, the victim may go after these assets. An umbrella policy can protect your personal assets and help pay for the damages.

If you have a loan on your vehicle, the bank often requires certain types of coverage beyond the state requirements. Most banks require full coverage, including liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. Full coverage protects the bank’s investment in the case of damage or theft.

A medical payment policy is especially useful in urban areas where the risk of pedestrian injuries is high. This type of policy covers anyone in your car or pedestrians and cyclists you injure. It also covers your medical bills if you are injured as a pedestrian.

Even with adequate insurance protection, accidents happen. If you’re injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, hire an attorney before speaking with their insurance company. Your attorney from Great West Injury Law can handle all communications with the insurance company, so you have a chance at a fair settlement.

Get Your Free Case Review

If you suffered injuries from an accident in which the other driver lacked appropriate auto insurance, contact Great West Injury Law. Our experienced team of vehicle collision lawyers will investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine the best strategy for seeking damages to pay for your accident-related bills.

We offer aggressive representation to get you fair compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. We serve clients not only in Idaho, but in Colorado and Utah as well.

Contact the Idaho car accident lawyers at Great West Injury Law for a free case review today.

Originally published June 20, 2022.