Best Montana Car Insurance Companies 2020

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

6 min read
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Setting out on the open roads of Big Sky Country offers a wealth of cultural and natural adventures. In Virginia City, you can step back in time to learn how early settlers lived or explore the magnificent flora and fauna of Glacier National Park. But before you hit the road, you need to purchase car insurance.

In 2017, Montana had more than 1.8 million registered vehicles, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, 182 people died in traffic accidents in Montana in 2018, including 154 fatalities in rural areas. Alcohol impairment accounted for 43% of Montana’s 2018 fatalities, compared to the nationwide average of 29%. Buying car insurance helps protect your valuable assets and you must have minimal amounts of coverage to comply with state law.

When shopping for Montana car insurance:

  • Shop around for the best rates.
  • Make sure the company you choose holds a license in Montana.
  • Ask agents about discounts to reduce your rate.

Best car insurance companies in Montana

The best car insurance companies in Montana are:

  • American Family Insurance came in third in the J.D. Power study. We give American Family a thumbs up for its discount programs, particularly those offered to young drivers. Teen drivers who enroll in American Family’s Teen Safe Driver Program can earn up to a 10% discount for safe driving, plus additional savings for making good grades and doing volunteer work.
  • Pemco Insurance earned J.D. Power’s top rank with five-star ratings in all categories. We like Pemco’s auto repair process, which helps you locate a service provider who handles the paperwork for you. For folks who carry comprehensive insurance, Pemco offers a glass repair program with no deductible for windshields that do not require replacement.
  • State Farm earned fourth place in the J.D. Power’s ranking with a four-star rating for customer interaction. State Farm continues to operate local agencies, which offers you a dedicated person to contact when you need to file a claim or purchase additional insurance. With the handy State Farm mobile app, you can access your policy information, contact your agent and request roadside assistance.
  • The Hartford ranked number two in the J.D. Power study, with five-star ratings in billing process, claims handling and policy information. We like The Harford because it offers auto and home insurance, along with business products, including small business insurance, employee benefits plans and general liability insurance.
  • USAA also earned five-star ratings in all categories, but it does not qualify for J.D. Power’s ranking because it only offers products to military members and their family members. USAA is one-stop-shopping for financial products, which we consider a winning hand for military people. USAA’s portfolio includes home and renters insurance, along with checking and savings accounts, home mortgages, investment accounts and retirement plans.

Annual rates are an important factor, but when you shop for Montana car insurance, also consider each company’s financial strength and its customer service history. AM Best is a great source for finding a financially stable insurance provider, while the Better Business Bureau is the best source for information about how well a company performs for its customers.

Also look for sources that provide in-depth research into the insurance industry. Marketing research company J.D. Power produces a yearly study of car insurance companies. Using a five-star rating system, J.D. Power ranks insurers based on their performance in several categories, including billing process, claims handling, customer interaction, policy information, policy offerings, price and overall satisfaction.

J.D. Power Overall Satisfaction Rating AM Best Rating BBB Rating
Pemco Insurance 5 out of 5 B++ (Good) A+
USAA 5 out of 5 A++ (Superior) F
The Hartford 4 out of 5 A- A+
American Family 4 out of 5 A (Excellent) A
State Farm 3 out of 5 A++ (Superior) A+

Finding the right cheap car insurance in Montana for you

Car insurance companies apply certain criteria when determining your rate. The cheapest car insurance Montana has for you will depend on factors such as your age, the type of car you drive, your driving record and your credit rating. That’s why it pays to shop around when searching for the cheapest car insurance in Montana.

Cheapest Montana car insurance for people with bad credit: Farmers and USAA

Most states, including Montana, allow insurance companies to set rates based on your credit rating. In fact, your credit score is one of the most impactful factors in determining your rate. People with poor credit can pay as much as 50% more for car insurance.

Among our top picks, Farmers and USAA offer the lowest rates for Montana drivers with bad credit. According to a nationwide study conducted by The Zebra, an organization that researches insurance markets, Farmers policyholders with bad credit pay an average annual car insurance premium of around $2,900, while USAA customers pay just under $2,850.

Cheapest Montana car insurance for high-risk drivers: State Farm

Among our top insurance companies, State Farm comes out on top for high-risk drivers in Montana. Traffic violations such as speeding, at-fault accidents, driving under the influence and open containers can dramatically increase your insurance rates. Nationwide, State Farm high-risk policyholders pay an average annual premium of around $1,300.

Cheapest Montana car insurance for teen drivers: Geico

Parents pay exorbitant insurance rates to cover their teenage drivers. Among our favorite Montana car insurance companies, none offer attractive rates for teen drivers. For example, Nationwide, State Farm charges teen drivers an average annual rate of nearly $6,000. Geico offers the best rates for young drivers, around $1,975 per year on average.

Average cost of car insurance in Montana

Montanans pay an average annual car insurance rate of $1,615, more than 13% higher than the national average. But the state average does not paint a complete picture. Rates will vary depending on individual factors.

Age plays a major role in determining your insurance rate. In Montana, middle-aged drivers typically get the best rates.

Age Average annual premium
16 $7,249
17 $6,141
18 $5,655
19 $3,290
20s $2,038
30s $1,601
40s $1,558
50s $1,449
60s $1,449
70s $1,692

In some states, rates can vary slightly depending on your gender and marital status, but not in Montana. However, racking up driving offenses can greatly impact your insurance rate. Here’s what we found when researching a variety of Montana traffic violations.

Traffic offense Average annual premium
DWI/DUI $2,305
Reckless driving $2,123
At-fault accident ($1,000-$2,000 in damages) $2,183
Open container $2,017
Speeding (16-20 MPH over limit) $1,953

Except for teenage drivers, people with poor credit pay the highest Montana car insurance rates, oftentimes even higher than high-risk drivers.

Credit rating Average annual premium
Very poor (300-579) $3,273
Fair (580-669) $2,531
Good (670-739) $2,062
Very good (740-799) $1,701
Exceptional (800-850) $1,367

Car insurance discounts in Montana

Most insurance companies offer discounts to help you decrease your rate.

State Farm offers numerous discounts for policyholders who maintain a good driving record, including:

  • Accident-free discounts for drivers who avoid having an accident for at least three years.
  • Good driving discounts for policyholders who avoid traffic violations and accidents for at least three years.

Pemco features an array of education-related discounts, including:

  • Good student discounts for drivers ages 16 to 24.
  • Alumni discounts for graduates of the University of Washington.

The Hartford policyholders enjoy several discounts for owning fuel efficient and safety-equipped vehicles, including:

  • Air bag discounts for vehicles equipped with one or more air bags.
  • Anti-theft device discounts for cars equipped with alarm systems.
  • Vehicle fuel type discounts for electric and hybrid automobiles.

State minimum insurance requirements in Montana

All states require car owners to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance. Liability insurance only pays for the bodily injury or property damage of other drivers and their passengers when you are at fault for an accident. In Montana, you must purchase at least:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage to pay for medical or death expenses of one person in a single accident.
  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage to pay the medical or death expenses of more than one person in a single accident.
  • $20,000 in property damage insurance to pay for property damaged in a single accident.

If you finance your car, your lender will likely require you to purchase comprehensive and collision insurance.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest car insurance in Montana?

Insurance companies set rates based on several factors, including your age, driving record and credit history. To find the cheapest car insurance in Montana, shop around for the best combination of value and coverage and always ask agents about discount programs.

What information is needed to get car insurance in Montana?

When you shop for Montana car insurance, an agent will need to know the type of car you want to insure, your age, your annual mileage and information about your driving record. Agents may also ask for your Social Security number to run a credit check.

Does Montana require car owners to purchase insurance?

Yes. To comply with state law, you must purchase at least minimum amounts of bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. If you finance your vehicle, your lender may also require you to carry comprehensive and collision insurance.

Is car insurance cheap in Montana?

Not really. Montana auto insurance rates are about 13% higher than the national average.

How can I lower my car insurance rate?

Most insurance companies offer discounts for taking driving courses, purchasing multiple policies, driving cars equipped with safety features and much more. When shopping for car insurance, ask agents about discount programs for which you might qualify.