In the first nine months of 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 28,000 car accident fatalities throughout the entire United States. While Montana only sees a fraction of those auto accident fatalities (213 in all of 2020), high-risk driving behaviors still cause major problems for the state’s driving population. Once a driver has been; caught committing a traffic violation, their insurance providers will assess their risk accordingly and penalize them with a higher premium. Finding affordable car insurance coverage for high-risk drivers in Montana can be a challenge, but there are steps that drivers can take to reduce their premium following a traffic infraction.
At Bankrate, we defined a high-risk driver as someone with a baseline clean record and either one speeding ticket, one DUI conviction, one at-fault accident or a lapse in coverage. All information contained in the article below uses this definition to determine rates.
Rates for high-risk car insurance in montana
Insurance providers must assess the risk of each policyholder in order to determine their rates. To do this, they typically review the past five years of your driving history. Depending on the specific traffic violation committed, your insurance provider will increase your rates accordingly. Not all carriers increase rates by the same amount for the same infraction, so it is important for high-risk drivers to shop around after receiving a violation on their record.
Rates after a speeding ticket
Drivers caught speeding in Montana will receive three points on their record. If a driver accumulates 15 points within 36 months, they will have their license suspended for six months. An accumulation of 30 or more points within 36 months will get your license revoked for three years. Not only that, but these high-risk drivers will also see a rate increase from their provider. The table below illustrates what some of the most popular car insurance providers in Montana charge policyholders after receiving a speeding ticket:
|Car insurance company||Montana average annual premium for full coverage before a speeding ticket||Montana average annual premium for full coverage after a speeding ticket||% increase|
Rates after an accident
In Montana, you are legally obligated to report any accident in which you are involved. Failure to report an accident or fleeing the scene of an accident will result in four points being added to your driving record. Causing an accident is a serious offense, and is one that insurance carriers do not take lightly — especially since they’ll be the ones stuck paying out for any damage you caused. As such, it is no surprise that rate increases for at-fault accidents are much more severe than for speeding:
|Car insurance company||Montana average annual premium for full coverage before an accident||Montana average annual premium for full coverage after an accident||% increase|
Rates after a DUI
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol was the leading cause of car accidents in Montana in 2020. Just one DUI conviction will earn you 10 points on your record. In addition, you will spend at least 24 hours and up to six months in jail and receive a fine between $600 and $1,000 for your first offense. You may also have your license suspended for six months, and may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
In Montana, drivers with a DUI conviction must also carry an SR-22 certification that verifies they hold the state-required minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. Failure to hold SR-22 insurance will result in fines, jail time and license revocation. Insurance carriers dole out harsh penalties for receiving a DUI conviction, with high-risk drivers in Montana expected to pay between 25% and 120% more for coverage:
|Car insurance company||Montana average annual premium for full coverage before a DUI||Montana average annual premium for full coverage after a DUI||% increase|
Rates for teen drivers
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teen drivers aged 16 – 19 are at the highest risk for being involved in a car accident when compared to every other age group. Due to their inexperience, teens are far more likely to engage in high-risk driving behaviors such as distracted driving, speeding, following too closely and more. For this reason, insurance carriers charge teen drivers more for coverage. As time goes on, these rates will decrease (as long as the driver in question maintains a clear record). Montana parents adding a 16-year-old driver to their auto insurance policy can expect to pay the following rates:
|Car insurance company||Average annual premium for full coverage|
*16-year-old on their parent’s policy
Who is a high-risk driver?
For the purposes of this article, Bankrate defines a high-risk driver as one who has a baseline clean driving record and at least one of the following violations:
- DUI Conviction
- Speeding Ticket
- At-fault Accident
- Lapse in Coverage
This definition, however, is not the standard definition used by insurance carriers. According to the traditional definition, a high-risk driver is simply one that has an increased likelihood of filing a claim with their insurance provider compared to the average driver. That means you could be considered a high-risk driver by your carrier if you:
- Have been caught driving without a license
- Drive recklessly
- Have a poor driving record overall
- Are a new driver
- Own a high-risk vehicle, such as a sports car, exotic car, collectible car or supercar
- Are aged 70 or older
Find out if you are considered a high-risk driver and discover what options you may have to get in good standing with your provider by reaching out to your insurance agent.
How to lower your rate if you are a high-risk driver
While high-risk drivers in Montana will pay more for coverage than the average driver, there are still things that they can do to reduce their rates after a traffic violation. These include:
- Shop around: Not every insurance carrier charges the same rate increase for the same violation, so it is worth shopping around to ensure your provider offers the lowest rates for your specific driving record.
- Drivers’ education: Many insurance providers offer policyholders the option of taking a qualifying drivers’ education or defensive driving course so they can receive a special discount on their premium.
- Available discounts: In addition to defensive driving programs, you can ask your insurance agent what other available discounts you may qualify for, such as good student, multi-policy and paperless billing discounts.
- Time and patience: Insurance carriers typically only review the past five years of your driving record, so after this period, you should be able to take advantage of more affordable rates (as long as you have committed to safer driving habits and receive no further violations).
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company for high-risk drivers?
The best car insurance company for high-risk drivers really depends on the specific infraction committed and how much the insurance provider increases your premium according to that violation. Not all insurance carriers charge the same rates for the same infraction, so it is worth shopping around to secure the lowest rates.
What is the cheapest car insurance provider in Montana?
According to Bankrate, the cheapest car insurance provider in Montana is USAA. However, this is not always the case if you are a high-risk driver. For example, if you receive a DUI conviction, you will end up paying $1,844 annually for insurance with USAA versus the $1,399 you would pay for the same driving record with State Farm. This is why it is critical for high-risk drivers to shop around following their violation.
How much car insurance do Montana drivers need?
The state-required minimum car insurance that Montana drivers need is as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 property damage per accident
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually. These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.
Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.