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How to get the best auto insurance in Montana
Car insurance can be expensive. But going without is not an option in most states. Montana has its own requirements for its drivers — some states require lots of coverage, while other states require only liability.
If you plan to get behind the wheel in Montana, you’ll need to carry at least liability insurance before you hit the open road. To save money on your car insurance, find a provider that offers the coverage you need for a price you can afford.
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Auto insurance providers for drivers in Montana
Average costs of car insurance in Montana
Drivers in Montana can usually expect to pay about $1,200 annually for their car insurance, which is closely in line with the national average.
However, you can still end up paying considerably less than this average amount if you find the right discounts and use our tips. Read on to learn ways to save on coverage, as well as what affects your insurance rates.
8 tips for getting cheap car insurance in Montana
- Drive a reliable, safe vehicle. Sports cars tend to be driven aggressively and they’re at higher risk for an accident than typical family sedans and normal passenger vehicles. Additionally, high performance vehicles are usually expensive, and almost always cost a lot to repair after an accident; if your daily driver is a track-ready Porsche, your insurer will charge accordingly.
- Check into local insurance companies. Even if they don’t offer all the perks of a national company, like a mobile app and 24/7 customer service, local agencies are sometimes more hungry for your business than Allstate or Geico would be. You could end up with a better value for your money
- Use car alarms and anti theft devices. If you live in a high crime area or park on the street at night, this could be especially important. Decreasing risk of theft or vandalism is a good way to help lower your insurance rates, because insurance providers like to see the chances of a claim go down.
- Stay current on your bills. By paying all your bills on time and keeping that credit score high, you stand a greater chance of getting the car insurance rates you want. Car insurance providers are likely to use credit score when calculating a driver’s insurance rate in 47 states including Montana — the excluded ones are California, Massachusetts and Hawaii.
- Consider bundling policies. By bringing all your business to one provider — typically you can bundle life insurance, car insurance and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance — you could save anything from 15-25%, depending on your policies and which provider you choose.
- Drop some extra coverage options. Driving a well-used or inexpensive vehicle — say, with a resale value under $5,000 — means you might not need collision or comprehensive coverage. This is because you might pay the car’s value in premiums within a year or two, meaning you could have just bought a similar new car with what you spent on insurance. Lowering your coverage amounts and eliminating extra policy features can usually give you a lower monthly payment.
- Raise your deductible. When your deductible goes up, your premiums tend to go down. But be careful using this method; if your deductible goes up too much, you might not be able to pay it after an accident. And if you can’t pay your deductible, your insurance provider won’t pay from their end either.
- Keep your record clean. Having fewer traffic tickets, violation points, and accidents on your record will help you get a lower rate. One thing that can help with this is taking defensive driver courses, which are offered in every state, to remove violation points from your driving record as well as earn you a discount from certain insurance providers.
Driving requirements in Montana
Every driver in Big Sky Country is required to carry minimum insurance coverage that includes at least:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person.
- $50,000 bodily injury liability total per accident.
- $10,000 property damage liability total per accident.
When shopping for car insurance in Montana, you’ll likely see this coverage written as 25/50/10
Many states require drivers to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Though Montana doesn’t require it, UM/UIM could protect you if you have an accident with someone who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages.
Optional coverage in Montana
Insurance companies offer additional coverage to better protect you on the road, including:
- Comprehensive. Helps with repairs that are the result of something other than an accident — like vandalism or fire.
- Collision. Pays for accident-related repairs to your car.
- Additional liability. Helps with damages due to an accident when you’re at fault.
- Rental coverage. Covers costs for a rental, if you need one after an accident.
- Medical expense payments. Covers costs associated with injuries from a car accident, regardless of fault. It could also cover funeral costs for passengers in your vehicle.
What’s the law if I don’t have insurance?
Make sure you carry proof of your insurance plan with you — including digital versions on any smart device. It’s a misdemeanor to drive without insurance.
Depending on your number of offenses, you could:
- Pay from $250 to $500 in fines.
- Serve up to six months in jail.
- Have your license suspended until you can produce proof of insurance.
- Be required to file for an SR-22.
Uninsured drivers in Montana
Experts at the Insurance Information Institute estimate that about 10% of all drivers in Montana are uninsured. This is slightly below the national average of 12.5%, but it’s still nothing to ignore — if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have car insurance, you could end up stuck with extra costs you shouldn’t have to pay.
For that reason, you may want to look into adding uninsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy. To learn more about this kind of coverage, and why you might want it, check out our guide to uninsured motorist insurance.
Car insurance for high-risk drivers in Montana
If you have trouble finding cheap car insurance or were rejected because you’re considered a high-risk driver, you can find coverage with Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans (WAAIP). WAAIP assigns you an affordable provider in its network of insurance companies to guarantee coverage for any driver.
Driving laws in Montana
While Montana has a lot of the same driving laws as other states around the country, there are a few you may want to keep in mind before you hit the road.
- There aren’t any state laws that ban talking on the phone or texting while driving. However, several cities and municipalities have their own distracted driving laws, so it may be best to play it safe.
- Most highways and interstates in Montana allow drivers to cruise at 80mph. But like in any state, you’ll want to keep an eye out for speed limit signs in case you’re entering a slower zone, which is common near towns and cities as well during construction phases or if road conditions are poor.
- Every driver and every passenger in a motor vehicle in Montana must wear a seat belt whenever the vehicle is moving. In some states passengers in the back seat don’t always need to buckle up, but Montana is more strict on the issue.
Blood alcohol content laws in Montana
Like every other state in the country, Montana has a BAC limit of 0.08% for normal drivers and 0.04% for commercial drivers or transporters. And like many states, Montana has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinkers who get behind the wheel; if you’re under 21 and you test any higher than 0.0% with a portable breath test, you can lose your license for up to a year on the first offense.
SR-22 insurance in Montana
You can file for SR-22 insurance in Montana. You might need this special type of coverage if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, if you’ve accumulated too many violation points on your driving record or if you were caught driving without the legal minimums for car insurance.
To learn more about SR-22 insurance and what it entails, visit our guide.
What happens after an accident in Montana?
With hope, you won’t experience any accident in Montana firsthand. But if you do, it’s best to stay calm and assess the situation before notifying your insurance company.
- Safety first. Confirm that all involved parties are safe. If anybody is injured, call the police immediately.
- Exchange information. Get the complete name, contact info and insurance policy details from other drivers. Note car types, colors, models and license plate numbers, as well as the exact location of the accident.
- Notify your insurance agent. Before you’ve left the scene, call your local agent. They can guide you through any bumps along the claims process.
- Document the scene. Take pictures, paying special attention to capturing multiple angles of the damage. Take down the names of police officers and any potential witnesses to better protect your claim.
To further protect yourself, avoid admitting fault to other drivers. Suggesting that you caused the accident could result in your provider refusing to pay your claim.
Who’s at fault after the accident?
Montana is an at-fault state — meaning the person at fault is responsible for all medical expenses of anyone injured in the accident. Insurance claims are typically paid out:
- If you’re injured in an accident you caused. Your health insurance or medical coverage through an auto policy may cover your expenses up to policy limits.
- If you’re injured in an accident caused by another driver. That driver’s liability coverage may help cover your medical bills.
How do I report an accident in Montana?
You must report all accidents that result in more than $1,000 in damages or cause death or injury. Submit an accident report in writing within 10 days of the accident to the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles.
Insurance protects you, your passengers and the drivers around you. If you plan to drive in Montana, be sure to carry the minimum liability required. To find the best coverage for the best prices, compare your options.
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