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When you want to own and operate a motor vehicle in the State of Montana, you have to first purchase the minimum required car insurance coverage. You need to abide by these regulations, or you can end up facing quite the serious penalties. Besides, you definitely don’t want to pay for road-accident related expenses (such as medical/property damage) out of your pocket. This is why you should take the time to learn as much as you can about Montana car insurance, and the laws that surround it.

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Average cost of car insurance in Montana

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) claim that the average person pays roughly $678.58 for car insurance in Montana each year.

They broke this figure down to:

$389.29 is the average annual liability insurance expenditure.

$256.63 is the average annual collision insurance expenditure.

$198.81 is the average annual comprehensive insurance expenditure.

Young Drivers in Montana

In our case study, we found that a young driver in MT can expect to pay an average of:

  • $731.6 for state minimum coverage1,
  • $3098.4 for basic full coverage2 and
  • $4772.8 for premium full coverage3.

Historically and statistically, inexperienced motorists have caused a great number of accidents on the road. This is why insurance companies charge young drivers with higher rates. However, several other factors influence premiums, including vehicle safety, completion of driver’s education, and driving record. In fact, getting good academic grades can actually help lower rates.

Female Drivers in Montana

The data we’ve gathered show that females can expect to pay the following yearly premium averages:

  • $341.6 for state minimum coverage,
  • $1438 for basic full coverage and
  • $2227.6 for premium full coverage.

Because women can have auto insurance at a low cost, many of them opt for more robust coverages. We found that an upgrade to premium full can only cost $77.70/month on average. 

Senior Drivers in Montana

Our study found that senior drivers can expect to pay an average of:

  • $348 for state minimum coverage,
  • $1326.4 for basic full coverage and
  • $2027.6 for premium full coverage.

Older adults who have a clean driving record and good history can expect reasonable premiums. Our methodology4 suggests that the more experience a driver has, the lower insurance costs they have. Of course, insurers still factor in the type of vehicle, specific location, and gender.

To learn more about car insurance, read this article, Car Insurance: The Facts.

Minimum car insurance requirements

As a Montana resident and car owner, you should have liability insurance. This helps cover expenses such as those related to injuries or property damage resulting from an accident that you have caused.

To remain in compliance with the state’s auto insurance laws, you should make certain that your policy meets the minimum requirements. These include a $25,000/person minimum for bodily injury, a $50,000/accident minimum for total bodily injury (for accidents wherein multiple people got hurt), and a $20,000 minimum for property damage.

As long as you maintain these mandated coverage minimums, you can avoid penalties and fines. However, you should also take a closer look at the other available optional coverage types, as these will provide a more rounded protection for you (as well as the other people on the road). You may want to include collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, medical payments coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and/or underinsured motorist coverage in your policy.

Violations and penalties 

Motorists caught driving without the proper car insurance coverage in the State of Montana fall under one of three classifications of violators: first offenders, subsequent offenders within a 5-year duration, and third offenders within a 5-year duration.

For your first violation, you will have to pay a fine ranging anywhere from $250 to $500. You may also have to face jail time of up to 10 days.

For a second violation occurring within 5 years from your first offense, the authorities would require you to pay a fine of $350. Like your previous penalty, you may again have to undergo imprisonment of up to 10 days. You would also have to wait for the lifting of your 90-day suspension of license plates and registration (upon which, you need to show proof of insurance) before you can drive legally again.

Those caught making the same violation for the third time within a 5-year period from their first two initial offenses have to pay a $500 fine. The law may also give them jail time of up to six months. A 180-day suspension of registration and license plates will also take effect.

Driving safety in Montana

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that only 76% of drivers and front-seat passengers use seatbelts. This is lower than the national average of 86%.

A 2015 study conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration showed that there were 224 driving casualties during that year. 34% (75 cases) were caused by alcohol impaired drivers.

The CDC rates MT’s vehicle occupant death at 16.4 per 100,000 residents.

Final thoughts

Having a well-rounded and balanced Montana car insurance policy will help you not only stay on the good side of the law; it will also protect you from legal liabilities that may otherwise cause you serious financial consequences.

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licensed drivers in Montana, 2014
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privately insured vehicles in Montana

Source: StatistaInsurance Information Institute

1State minimum coverage includes the minimum liability insurance limits required in your state but excludes the following:
  • No Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
  • No Towing Coverage
  • No Rental Car Coverage
  • No Full Glass Coverage
2Basic full coverage includes:
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Liability Per Person/$100,000 Per Accident
  • $25,000 Property Damage Liability
  • $50,000 Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Per Person/$100,000 Per Accident
  • $25,000 Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
  • $750 Deductible Collision And Comprehensive Coverage
  • $50 Towing Coverage
  • No Rental Reimbursement Coverage
  • No Full Glass Coverage
3Premium full coverage includes:
  • $250,000 Bodily Injury Liability Per Person / $500,000 Per Accident
  • $100,000 Property Damage Liability
  • $250,000 Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Per Person / $500,000 Per Accident
  • $100,000 Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
  • $250 Deductible Comprehensive Coverage And No Deductible Collision Coverage
  • $75 Towing Coverage
  • $30/day Rental Reimbursement, Max Of $900
  • Full Glass Coverage
4Methodology: To achieve accurate results we obtained estimates for 10 cities in the state: 5 of the largest cities and 5 randomly picked smaller cities. For each city, we collected premiums for 3 levels of coverage: state minimum coverage, basic full coverage and premium full coverage. We used 3 different driver profiles for the case studies. For the young driver profile we used a 20-year-old single male or female with 1 year driving experience. Second, the profile fit that of a 35-year-old married female with 12 years of driving experience. The last profile we used in our studies is a male senior driver who was 68-year-old with 45 years of driving experience. The vehicle we used for all three driver profiles was a 2012 Honda Accord EX.
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