Driving without insurance in Montana

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Driving without insurance in Montana is a misdemeanor because Montana law requires that drivers in the Treasure State carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. And although minimum coverage in Montana costs $342 per year on average according to Quadrant Information Services, that cost is still cheaper than the fine an uninsured Montana driver might pay.

Minimum insurance required in Montana

The minimum amount of liability as required by Montana state law is a 25/50/20 policy. Written out, this means each driver must have, at minimum, the following coverage amounts:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury or death
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury or death
  • $20,000 per accident for property damage

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages must be offered but can be declined in writing.

Bonds or a $55,000 deposit of cash or securities can also satisfy the financial responsibility law.

If you are pulled over in Montana, state law allows officers to demand proof of insurance. This is in addition, of course, to your license and registration.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Montana

The penalties for driving uninsured in Montana are severe from the very beginning. For most drivers, the penalties alone are enough incentive to purchase insurance.

First offense

Drivers must pay a fine between $250-$500. If you are unable to pay that amount, you may choose to serve up to 10 days in jail instead.

Second offense

Drivers must pay a minimum fine of $350, or choose up to 10 days in jail. Regardless of which you choose, you will also receive 5 points on your driving record. Accumulate 30 points and your license will be revoked.

Third offense

A minimum fine of $500 and/or up to 6 months in jail. Registration revoked for 180 days.

Fees from Montana’s online insurance verification system

Montana allows its officers to use an online insurance verification system. This system can be used to immediately verify whether or not a driver is insured. It is particularly useful after accidents, routine traffic stops or when a driver has misplaced their insurance information.

As of right now, Montana is not sending out fines to drivers who are uninsured even though it has the ability to do so. Currently, drivers must already be pulled over for another offense for an officer to write a citation for driving without insurance.

Getting into an accident without insurance

In Montana driving without insurance is serious business. If you get into an accident while uninsured, however, it is even worse.

The first thing to happen in a Montana driving without insurance accident is that you will be given a ticket for no insurance. All of the fines and fees discussed above will happen regardless of who is at-fault in the accident.

The most important thing to know about driving without insurance in Montana is that Montana is a tort state. This means that if you are at-fault in an accident, you must pay for any damages your driving causes. Lost wages, medical costs, property damage and funeral costs could all fall to you.

As you can see, Montana’s penalties are simply incentives for purchasing insurance. The real threat to uninsured drivers is the life changing financial burden that could result from causing a severe accident.

Frequently asked questions

What if you provide false insurance information?

No one wants to be accused of driving without insurance, which is why some drivers think it is better to lie when questioned by a police officer. However, providing false documentation to a police officer can lead to criminal charges and even jail time.

How much is car insurance in Montana?

The average cost of car insurance in Montana is around $1,737 a year for full coverage (or $145 a month). For minimum coverage, the average annual premium in Montana is $342. The U.S. average for car insurance is $1,674, which makes Montana around $63 more expensive.

Which car insurance companies are the best for Montana drivers?

Looking at customer satisfaction scores, financial strength, coverage and discount options, we determined the best insurance companies for Montana drivers to be:

  • Allstate
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • USAA

However, we recommend each driver get a quote from each to find the lowest premium. Every insurance company calculates premiums in a different way— meaning it is very possible to save money by simply shopping around.

How can drivers lower their premiums?

The penalty for driving without insurance in Montana is too high. You may be able to lower your insurance premium to a more affordable amount by following these steps:

  1. Shop around: Insurance companies do not charge the same amount. They may be similar, but they are rarely the same. By simply rate shopping, you may find a cheaper provider without doing anything else on this list.
  2. Compare discounts: Look around and you will notice that many insurance companies offer the same discounts. However, the amount you will save with each company can vary by a large amount. Speak with an insurance agent to figure out just how much you will save with their company’s discounts.
  3. Increase your deductible: A high deductible will lower your monthly payment, but it will also lower the amount you receive after an accident. Most companies have multiple deductible options, so choose the one that matches your budget and needs best.
  4. Drive an older car: New cars can cost more to insure because they cost more to repair and replace. Driving an older car could save you in car insurance. To save the most, however, choose an older car that has a great crash rating and one that can be paired up with discounts such as daytime running lights or dual airbags.
  5. Increase your credit score: Insurance companies operating in Montana are allowed to use credit scores to calculate premiums. The reason for this is that numerous studies have found a correlation between low credit scores and higher claims. Therefore, if you increase your credit score your premium should decrease.
Written by
Lauren Ward
Insurance Contributor
Lauren Ward has nearly 10 years of experience in writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and Reviews.com. She covers auto, homeowners, and life insurance, as well other topics in the personal finance industry.
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