Claire Smith Last Updated On: August 9, 2023

Car Insurance in Montana

If your home is where the mountain ranges are in the Treasure State, aka Montana, you’ll need good car insurance to take you from the Great Plains Badlands to Glacier Mountain Park to see Rising Wolf Mountain.

Even if you aren’t trekking the mountains, you’ll still need a good car insurance policy to protect you and your vehicle from whatever life throws at you.

So if you’re looking into your car insurance options in Montana, have a read and find the best policy for your unique needs.

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Table of Contents

Car Insurance Requirements in Montana

If you’re driving across Montana 64, you wouldn’t want to get pulled over and ticketed and penalized for not meeting the state’s car insurance minimums. Why? Like most other states, Montana legally requires all drivers to have car insurance, whether that means liability (minimums) or more robust coverage like comprehensive.

These are Montana’s car insurance minimums:

  • Liability minimum requirements (25/50/20)
    • $25,000 bodily injury per person, for a maximum payout of $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
    • $20,000 property damage coverage

However, affordable liability car insurance may entice drivers to save a couple of bucks a month on premiums. But is it worth having cheaper rates if you get into a mid-to-large-scale accident and have to pay out of pocket for damages? For example, if you’re involved in a multi-car accident, you only have $20,000 to pay for vehicular damage—not including fixing your car if you only have liability. Not to mention medical expenses, you only have $50,000 per accident, which won’t go very far. In this scenario, you’re at financial risk if you drive with only liability car insurance.

Car Insurance Choices in Montana

Every driver has different wants and needs; some want vehicle damage coverage, while others want all the bells and whistles with comprehensive hence why insurers offer various car insurance options.

These are the most common car insurance options in Montana:

  • Collision: State minimums or liability protects you from paying out of pocket for the other driver’s expenses (medical or property) if you cause an accident. However, liability doesn’t cover accident-related vehicular damage to your car. You should consider collision if you don’t want to pay out of pocket for car accident-related damages.
  • Comprehensive: If you don’t want to pay for damage to your car from theft, weather-related damages, vandalism, damages from hitting an animal, etc., consider getting comprehensive insurance.  
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Not every driver has insurance. Roughly 1-in-8 Americans drive without insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage will protect you from paying for damages to you or your vehicle—including hit in runs.
  • Medical Payments: If you’re in an accident and the at-fault driver’s insurance won’t cover all your medical expenses, this coverage will kick in to prevent you from paying out of pocket. Medical payments will also cover the cost of childminding, lost wages, or even funeral expenses.
  • Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance will help get your car back on the road if you’re locked out, the battery is dead, or your vehicle needs towing to a repair shop.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: If your car is in for repairs, meaning you can’t drive it, rental car reimbursement will pay for your rental car, so you’re not stuck without a vehicle.
  • Gap Or Loan/Lease Payoff Insurance: For Montana drivers leasing or financing a vehicle, you should consider getting Gap insurance. For instance, if your car is written off while you’re still paying it off, Gap insurance will pay off the remaining car loan balance, so you don’t have to.

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How Much is Car Insurance in Montana?

The good news for Montana drivers is car insurance is cheaper across the board, from liability to comprehensive coverage. The average cost for car insurance in Montana per year for full coverage is around $1,900, while liability in Montana is between $300-$400 annually. Both these averages come in less than the national average.

However, these rates depend on your personal profile, zip code, and car insurance policy. 

An interesting fact about Montana car insurance rates is they may be below the national average, but compared to neighboring states, like Wyoming or Idaho, they’re more expensive. There are two reasons why Montana residents pay more than their neighbors: one, Montana experiences more severe weather events, like flooding, and the last is the high ratio of car accident-related fatalities—for every 100,000 people, 19.6 will pass away in a Montana traffic fatality.

What Happens If Your Caught Driving Without Car Insurance?

If you’re driving to Glacier National Park for some sightseeing and get pulled over, you don’t want to get caught driving without car insurance in Montana. If it’s discovered by the officer that you don’t meet Montana state minimums, you can expect to get ticketed and penalized.

Oh, did we mention you also face jail time? Yup, in Montana it is considered a misdemeanour if you’re caught driving with inadequate car insurance, which means possible jail time depending on the nature of your offense.

Here’s what you can expect if you’re busted for driving without liability car insurance in Montana.

Penalty Type1st Offense2nd Offense3rd Offense4th+ Offense
ImprisonmentUp to 10 days in jail, or jail + fineUp to 10 days in jail + fineUp to 6 months in jail, or jail + fine
Registration SuspensionN/A90 Days18 DaysUntil proof of insurance is processed
Driver’s License SuspensionN/AN/AN/A
SR-22Carry SR-22 for 3 years
Insurance RatesA misdemeanour and car insurance lapse leads to a steep increase in insurance rates

Proof of Insurance and What to Do When Caught without Car Insurance

When a cop in Montana pulls you over, you can display proof of insurance via your insurance card, or the cop will look up your insurance information on the Montana Insurance Verification System (MTIVS). If it is discovered you do not have adequate coverage, you’ll face fines, jail time, or license suspensions.

Thus, you want to drive with at least liability coverage to avoid possible imprisonment.

If you want some leniency for driving without car insurance in Montana from the courts, you have two options:

  • If you had car insurance at the time of your citation, submit evidence to the court before your court date to have your conviction dismissed.
  • Get auto insurance and submit it before your court date to lessen your reinstatement fee and reduce your driving suspension period.

Finally, to legally drive after you’ve been convicted of driving without car insurance, you’ll need to obtain an SR-22 form. You can apply for an SR-22 after you’ve paid your fine, served your suspension time, paid a $100 license reinstatement fee, and obtained valid car insurance. An SR-22 is a certificate your insurance company files for you, so the Motor Vehicles Financial Responsibility Division can monitor your mandatory 3-year insurance compliance.

How Car Insurance Rates are Calculated in Montana

Every car insurance company and state uses different factors to calculate your premiums. If the Treasure State is your home base, this is how they determine your rates:
  • Age: Teenage drivers in Montana are as much as 3x more likely to get into a fatal car accident, so young drivers, 20 and under, will cost you an arm and a leg to insure.
  • Driving History (including violations): Good drivers get discounts, whereas your rates naturally increase if you have a driving infraction like a speeding ticket. 
  • Coverage Level: Your premiums are based on the level of coverage you want, meaning liability will cost you the least, while comprehensive and collision will cost you more.
  • Credit Score: In Montana, insurers use your credit score to set your rates; those with poor credit can expect to pay higher premiums.
  • Your Vehicle: What you drive also affects your rates. If you own a vehicle (year, make, model) that isn’t a sports car, luxury car, or commonly stolen car—as these cost more to repair or replace—you’ll pay less to insure your vehicle.

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How to Get Cheap Car Insurance in Montana

Everyone likes to feel like they got a deal, especially when it comes to car insurance. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your car insurance rates in Montana, we have a few solutions for you! Here’s how to get cheap auto insurance in Montana:
  • Bundling: One of the easiest ways to shrink your rates is by bundling your car, home, or other insurance products together.
  • Payment Discounts: It pays to ask prospective insurers what discounts you qualify for. For instance, if you can afford to pay your annual premium upfront, haven’t missed a payment in a year, or have automatic withdrawal, you’ll save on premiums. The final way to save is by using paperless billing.
  • Safety Equipment: While interviewing prospective insurance companies, you can save on insurance if you have qualifying safety equipment. For instance, anti-lock brakes, an anti-theft system, and side airbags may result in discounts. 
  • Defensive Driving: Most insurers also offer discounts if you take and pass a defensive driving class that your insurance company recognizes. This is an excellent choice for young drivers looking to reduce their high rates.
  • Safe Driver: A safe driver is defined as being accident and claims-free for 2-3 years—depending on the provider. If this sounds like you, you’ll get a safe driver discount.
  • Shop Around: The final way to save money on car insurance is by not settling on the first quote you find. Because each insurer uses different factors to calculate your premiums, this means your rates vary across providers. So, to get the best premiums, gather multiple quotes to determine the right car insurance fit for you!
Are you ready to start shopping around for car insurance quotes in Montana? If so, grab your free no-obligation quote from ConsumerCoverage now!

The Best Car Insurance Companies in Montana

Finding the right car insurance fit for your needs can be daunting. To help get you started, these are some of Montana’s top-rated car insurance providers.
  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • USAA

Final Thoughts on Getting Car Insurance in Montana

If you live among the winding roads and mountain views of the majestic state of Montana, you’ll want quality car insurance to protect you along the way. Although liability insurance is temptingly affordable, it isn’t in your best interest to have only liability as it protects other drivers, not you. The coverage limits are also so low that there is no guarantee you won’t be left paying out of pocket if you get into a mid-to-large scale accident. Not to mention, Montana encounters many severe weather events, which could damage your vehicle, so having collision coverage will protect you from paying for vehicular repairs.

Before you start shopping for car insurance quotes in Montana, browse your coverage options—you can check out coverage options here—to identify what your ideal car insurance policy looks like. Once you know what car insurance policy you want, it’s time to start shopping around for quotes! If you’re ready to start quote shopping, grab a free quote with ConsumerCoverage here!

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