What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in Montana?
Car insurance is a legal requirement in Montana, so how much car insurance you need in Montana will be based on the minimum set by the state. Montana car insurance laws stipulate that all drivers should have car insurance that meets the following minimums.
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $20,000 for property damage
Montana only requires drivers to have liability insurance. However, drivers in the state can choose to add optional coverages such as Uninsured Motorist or Med pay to cover themselves fully in an accident.
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What Does This Minimum Coverage Mean?
Before you can legally drive a vehicle in Montana, you will need liability car insurance that offers the following protection.
- Bodily Injury coverage: A liability policy covers the driver if they cause injury or physical harm to a third party. Suppose you cause an accident and the other party suffers bodily harm. In that case, your insurance will pay for their medical expenses for bodily injury up to the limit set in your policy. In Montana, the bodily injury limit per person is a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $50,000 per accident. It is important to note that liability coverage for bodily injuries only covers the other person and not any injuries you may sustain yourself.
- Property Damage coverage: the second part of your liability insurance covers any damage to other people’s property that you may cause in an accident. In Montana, your liability insurance should have a minimum of $20,000 for property damage.
Other coverages such as Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM), Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and collision coverage are not required by Montana insurance laws. Still, drivers can choose to include them in their policies for increased coverage.
How Much Does the Minimum Car Insurance Cost in Montana?
Your insurer will use several rating factors to determine the cost of your policy in Montana. Factors such as your age, ZIP code, driving history, and credit score will determine the premiums you pay for your car insurance. You will also find that rates typically vary depending on the insurer.
If you are looking for the least expensive car insurance option in Montana, USAA has the lowest rate, costing $181yearly. However, you will only qualify for this policy if you are or have been in the military. The second cheapest option is State Farm, at $338 per year.
These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average Montana driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.
MoneyGeek used car insurance costs based on the 25/50/20 basic coverage limits required by Montana insurance laws. The base profile in this analysis is a male Montana resident who is 40 years old and has a clean driving record and credit score and drives a 2010 Toyota Camry.
MoneyGeek also ranked the best car insurance companies in Montana for those who want strong service and affordable rates.
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What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in Montana While Leasing a Car?
While Montana car insurance requirements require you to have 25/50/20 liability insurance, you will find that leasing companies in the state may have specific car insurance requirements that you must meet. Generally, leasing companies will require drivers to have a full coverage policy with 100/300/50 minimums. However, these minimum requirements are not the same across the board, so you will need to check your preferred leasing company for their specific insurance requirements.
Although the percentage of uninsured motorists in Montana is relatively low at 8.5%, it is still crucial for drivers to cover themselves against the risk of collisions with uninsured or underinsured motorists. If you do not have a full coverage policy, you will not be compensated if you suffer any injuries or damages in an accident with an uninsured driver. Therefore, MoneyGeek recommends a full coverage policy of at least 50/100/50 for drivers in Montana. A full-coverage policy will give you better protection in the event of an accident, even if the other driver is not insured.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Montana
It is illegal to drive a car in Montana without car insurance. Montana car insurance laws require all drivers in the state to have liability insurance. Driving without insurance in Montana is a misdemeanor that will attract the following penalties:
- Fines: For a first offense, driving without car insurance will attract a fine of no less than $250 and not more than $500. For a second offense, you will be fined a minimum of $350 fine. For a third or any subsequent offense, you will be required to pay a fine of $500.
- Jail time: In Montana, driving without a driving license can get you ten days in jail. For a second offense, you may get up to 10 days jail time in addition to the fine. For a third or subsequent conviction, you can get a jail term of up to 6 months in addition to a fine.
- Suspension of your driver’s license: If you are found with a second offense of driving without car insurance, your driver's license will be suspended for 90 days. The second offense will also get you 5 points on your record. If you get a total of 30 points against your driving record, your driver’s license will be revoked.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Insurance in Montana
If you would like to insure your car in Montana, you will find key information about car insurance in the state in the answers to frequently asked questions.
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- Dojmt.gov. "Insurance and Verification." Accessed July 14, 2021.
- Mt.gov. "Motor Vehicle Liability Policy Minimum Limits." Accessed July 14, 2021.
- Insurance Information Institute. "Insurance Factbook 2020." Accessed July 14, 2021.
- Insurance Information Institute. "Facts + Statistics: Uninsured motorists." Accessed July 11, 2021.
- Kelly Blue Book. "Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance by State." Accessed July 14, 2021.
- Valuepenguin. "Diminished Value Claims Explained." Accessed July 14, 2021.