From Billings to Bozeman, Missoula to Great Falls, Montana has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you the Snowbowl ski resorts, trout fishing in the Rockies, into the heart of Yellowstone and from Little Big Horn to downtown Helena . They’re used by over 700,000 licensed drivers, who each put in an average of 11,600 miles a year. Along the way, those drivers are involved in thousands of traffic accidents every year, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Big Sky Country, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Montana’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Montana state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. Under Montana’s tort system, you may also be liable for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Montana drivers is:
$25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$10,000 property damage liability
$10,000 property damage liability
$25,000/$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage
Montana insurers must offer you uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but you can reject it in writing. Montana does not require you to carry additional coverage such as personal liability insurance or Collision and Comprehensive. However, If you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Montana Auto Insurance
You are required by law to carry proof of Montana car insurance in your car and show it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties. A first offense can carry fines between $250 and $500 or up to 10 days in jail. You will automatically lose your driving privileges for 90 days for a second offense. Montana now uses the MTIVS web service to electronically verify proof of vehicle insurance during traffic stops.
Montana Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Montana also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Montana Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Montana Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Montana. The following laws have recently been enacted in Montana and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
Montana has established a new allowable threshold for THC in the blood for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana.
Courts can now consider past drunk-driving offenses when weighing punishment for a repeat DUI offender.
Law enforcement officers can now issue permits to salvage road kill for meat from certain species struck and killed by vehicles.