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One of the easiest ways to reduce your monthly expenses is to find cheap auto insurance in Montana. But when you shop around, you’ll notice that insurance companies use very different formulas for calculating their premiums, so you need to find a provider who caters to your specific driver type. To speed up your search, our Geeks compared the cheapest auto insurance quotes from several leading carriers to find the most affordable rates in The Treasure State.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Montana
To find the lowest premiums in Montana, you’ll need to compare quotes from several different carriers. To speed up your search, take a look at the table below, which outlines the results of our provider comparison study:
|Drivers in the Military
|Low Annual Mileage
|Drivers with a DUI
Best Car Insurance Companies in Montana
We looked at policyholder reviews and complaint data to find the best insurance companies in Missouri. The table below breaks down the results of our study:
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Montana
All motorists in Montana are required to buy car insurance that covers $25,000 for bodily injury to one individual, $50,000 for bodily injuries in one collision, and $10,000 for damage to property.
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Montana
Technology is changing everything, from how we order our groceries to how we interact with each other. And now, keeping your electronic footprint up to date in Montana will help you stay out of trouble.
Montana’s Insurance Verification System database is one of the most advanced in the country. Authorities use the trove of information to keep tabs on the state’s drivers and are quick to detect anyone who is uninsured.
While our Geeks advise you always to have your insurance card at hand when you’re on the road, traffic officers place a much larger emphasis on electronic data.
Whether you’re caught driving without proof of mandatory coverage by an officer or by the Insurance Verification System, you will face hefty fines and possible prison time. Typically, you will be forced to fork over $250 to $500 in fines to the courts and may have to serve a 10-day prison sentence. Fortunately, in Montana, authorities will not suspend your registration for a first offense.
Montana is a forgiving state for first-time offenders, but serial lawbreakers will face far harsher penalties. If you are caught driving without insurance or turn up as uninsured during routine checks by the Insurance Verification System for a second time within five years after your first offense, you will be fined $350 and may have to serve up to 10 days behind bars.
Authorities may also choose to suspend your registration. However, the Department of Justice will reinstate your registration after three months once you have paid your fines and presented the courts with verified proof of insurance.
Third Offense And Beyond
This is all risk and no reward. Your third and subsequent transgression will result in $500 in fines, up to 180 days behind bars and a 90-day suspension of your vehicle’s registration.
If you have violated the state’s insurance laws four or more times within a five-year period, your driver’s license and registration will be suspended. The Department of Justice will require you to hand over your license, plates and registration receipt.
Your registration and license will only be reinstated once you have paid your fines and presented the Department with verified proof of coverage.
Montana Car Insurance FAQs
How Do I File A Car Insurance Claim In Montana?
Step 1: Call the Police
Your insurance claim isn’t worth much without the backing of a detailed police report. After a crash, your first step, after ensuring you, your passengers and the other drivers are safe, should be to call the police. Officers will take down statements not only from you but also from the other driver and any witnesses and will also secure the scene of the crash to collect evidence.
In Montana, you are required – by law – to report an accident in a municipality to the local police if anyone is injured, killed or if damage to property may exceed $500. If the crash takes place outside of a municipality, you will be required to contact the Montana Highway Patrol if anyone has been hurt, killed or if property damage totals $1,000 or more.
Step 2: Exchange Information with Other Drivers
Swap information – license plate numbers, insurance information, addresses, phone numbers, and names – with all drivers involved in the crash. Our Geeks advise taking down the phone numbers and names of anyone else who may have witnessed the crash, as well.
Step 3: Take Photos of the Scene
Using your phone, take pictures of the crash scene, making sure to document damage to all vehicles involved and potential road markings that may help bolster your case.
Step 4: Contact the Insurance Company
Touch base with your insurer to find out which documentation they will require to start processing your claim. Include any evidence you collected from the scene such as the names and numbers of witnesses to aid the company’s investigators in assessing the accident.
Step 5: Follow Up
Once your claim has been filed, don’t forget to follow up with your insurance company to track the progress of your claim.
What Terms Should I Know Before Buying Car Insurance in Montana?
When you’re shopping for insurance, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of confusing jargon and undecipherable acronyms. Below, our Geeks have created a glossary of important auto insurance terms to help you better understand policy offerings:
- Adjuster: An individual at an insurance company tasked with investigating and verifying auto insurance claims.
- Claim: A request to your provider for compensation for loss covered under specific policy features.
- Collision Coverage: An optional policy feature that covers any damage to your car resulting from a collision involving another vehicle or object.
- Comprehensive Coverage: A coverage addon that reimburses you for damage to your vehicle caused by so-called “acts of God”. Loss covered under this feature can include property damage caused by hail, vandalism, tornados, earthquakes, protests, theft, and more.
- Deductible: This amount represents how much you would have to pay to cover the costs of damages, such as repairs or medical bills, before your provider reimburses you for the remaining amount. Hence, a low deductible gives you an added layer of financial protection in an accident but results in a higher premium.
- Lapse: Cancellation of your policy due to missed payment(s).
- Policy Period: The exact period of time your vehicle will be covered by your policy before your benefits expire.
- Premium: The monetary amount you will have to pay to maintain your coverage. While you can elect to make payments on a monthly basis, many insurers offer discounts to drivers who pay the full amount upfront.
What Should I Pack in My Car Accident Emergency Kit?
The more you drive, the greater your risk of being involved in a crash. Make sure you are prepared and pack the following:
- A first aid kit with several extra-strength bandages;
- A folder containing your insurance information, medical information and vehicle registration; and
- A fully charged cell phone to make emergency calls.
What Traffic Laws Should All Drivers in Montana Know?
Developing safer driving habits will help you show insurers you deserve more affordable rates. But you’ll first need to prove you aren’t going to be a liability on the road. Your best bet: Familiarize yourself with Montana’s traffic laws.
Below, you can find a list of the most important rules and regulations:
Drunk Driving Laws
If you thought Montana’s insurance laws were severe, take a peek at their drinking and driving laws. Montana considers a driver over 21 to be impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent and a driver under 21 to be impaired with a BAC of .02 percent.
The state takes the issue extremely seriously; eliminating DUI/DWI offenses is one of their top priorities. Drunk driving led to 932 deaths in the state between 2003 and 2012, according to a CDC study, and 3.4 percent of people reported driving after drinking too much—much higher than the national average of 1.9 percent.
As a result, there has been a big crackdown in recent years. Below is a breakdown of DUI/DWI penalties in Montana:
There is no leniency for drivers caught driving under the influence in Montana. A first DUI or excessive BAC or marijuana reading will lead to between 24 hours and 6 months in jail, fines of between $600 and $1,000, and a six-month suspension. If you are convicted with minors in the car, the penalties are upped to a jail sentence of between 48 hours and one year and fines of between $600 and $2,000.
All new offenders must also complete the A – C – T Phases Program. The letters stand for assessment, course, and treatment. To successfully pass, you must receive a chemical dependency assessment from a licensed counselor, take a chemical dependency education course, and undergo whatever treatment is found to suit your situation.
Additionally, the judge may require you to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program. This entails an ignition interlock device (IID) being placed in your vehicles, which test your BAC every time you get behind the wheel. If you test too high, the vehicle will not start. As part of the program, you will be required to pay all costs related to the installation and maintenance of the device.
By this stage, Montana officials expect you to know better. Imprisonment for a second conviction will last between five days and a year, and the license suspension will last for a year. Fines, which don’t include court costs, range from $1,200 and $2,000. The jail minimum and fines are doubled if minors are present at the time of the violation.
Participation in both the Ignition Interlock Program and the A – C – T Program is mandatory, as is participation in the 24-7 Sobriety Program. The latter requires you to abstain from alcohol and drugs from the time you’re released from jail to the time you stand trial. A variety of tests ensure your compliance with the program.
You will spend between 30 days and a year in a cell if you are caught drinking and driving a third time. You will also be fined between $2,500 and $5,000, be forced to complete the Ignition Interlock Program, the A – C – T Phases Program, and the 24-7 Sobriety Program, and have your license suspended for a year. As before, the penalties will be doubled if you were transporting passengers under 16.
For all convictions, 10 points are added to your driving record. If you reach 30 points, you will be labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender and your license will be revoked. Note that a DUI/BAC conviction will be on your record for life. A fourth conviction is a felony.
Texting and Driving Laws
Unlike most other states, Montana has not yet enacted laws prohibiting cellphone use while driving. However, recent research has shown that texting behind the wheel significantly increases your risk of causing an accident. In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed and another 391,000 injured in collisions involving distracted drivers in America, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.
Our Geeks recommend investing a hands-free kit if you intend to communicate using your smartphone driving.
In Montana, drivers and passengers must buckle up at all times. The state does not have primary seatbelt laws, which means that you cannot be stopped and cited by law enforcement officers for failing to wear a seatbelt. However, if you are pulled over for any other traffic violation and authorities discover you are not strapped in, you could be fined up to $20.
Child Safety Seat Laws
Children under the age of 6 and weighing less than 60lbs must be seated in a federally-approved child safety restraint system. Violating the state’s child safety seat laws could result in fines of up to $100.
Need help finding the safest car seat for your kid? Click here to take a look at our list of the top-rated restraint systems.