Car Insurance Coverage in Montana

The Treasure State average automobile insurance premiums for a liability only policy is less than half the national average. The average cost of full coverage vehicle insurance is also below the US average but drivers have to pay 6 times more than the basic coverage for it. At 8.5% uninsured motorists ratio is about 1/3 lower than the national average as well. Although Big Sky Country is one of the largest states, it is thinly populated with many mountain ranges and the largest grizzly bear population.

Driving in Montana can be dangerous in the snow as highways often shut down during snowstorms. You need good snow tires and full coverage car insurance to protect your vehicle against damages in accidents caused by icy roads with Collision coverage. Also, Comprehensive coverage can help you when you hit an animal while admiring the mountain scenery here as the state ranks second in the country for vehicle-animal collisions. You will need to shop around to make sure you get the best rates and make the premiums less burdensome for your budget.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Montana

Pictures of Montana

Here are the minimum liability coverage requirements in MT;

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

You can use a digital Insurance ID card displayed on your mobile devices to prove you have liability coverage in MT as the state accepts electronic proof.

Increasing liability limits well above minimum requirements is highly advised. You should also consider including Collision, Comprehensive and Uninsured Motorists coverage in your policy, especially if you have a valuable vehicle. One of the key characteristics of this state is that car insurance quotes are really widely spread among companies. You should always check prices from several providers to save money.

Vehicle Insurance Costs in Montana

Minimum state required liability only coverage costs $310 on average in MT, which is less than half the national average. However, the average full coverage car insurance is relatively expensive at $1,889, although it is still cheaper than the US average.

There are several factors in MT that may push the premiums up, especially for full coverage auto insurance policies. The main one appears to be the accident rates. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Montana has the highest vehicle accident fatality rate in the country with 22.6 deaths per 100,000 people – twice the national average. This is a well-known phenomenon that wide countryside roads with fewer cars can lead to accidents with fatalities because of the speed. Motorists get too comfortable with quiet roads and step on the gas, especially if they are familiar with their surroundings. There may be many more accidents in the cities but they are usually nothing more than a fender bender.

Probably one of the other reasons for relatively higher full coverage vehicle insurance rates is the lack of fierce competition. MT is one of the least populated in the US with just over 1 million residents spread out in the vast countryside. It isn’t densely populated with a handful of small cities and only one of them with a population over $100,000. This makes it harder for companies to run aggressive campaigns or establish a widespread agency base. Competition in the market is one of the main reasons for affordable prices and lack of it removes the key reason for them to cut rates.

The Most Affordable Auto Insurers in Montana

Here are the most competitive companies in MT and they remain to be the cheapest in most cities and towns. One interesting finding is that costs in the largest cities of Billings, Missoula and Great Falls are lower than the state average. This seems to support lack of competition as a reason for high premiums because larger cities may have a fiercer competition due to the number of insurance agencies present.

  1. State Farm
  2. Progressive
  3. Geico

The price difference between the least expensive (State Farm) and third cheapest (Geico) is already significant for both full coverage and liability-only policies. And this gap can open up to nearly twice the difference between the cheapest and most expensive carriers. That is why you should make sure you shop around for car insurance in Montana by getting multiple quotes to compare all your options and get low rates, which allow you to afford the coverage you want.

Notable Montana Auto Insurance and Driving Facts

  1. Montana holds the distinction of having the highest rate of vehicle registrations per capita, based on 2020 Census Bureau data. The state boasts 184 vehicles registered for every 100 individuals, the highest rate in the nation. So, families with more than one vehicle may consider arranging multi-car insurance policies to save money.
  2. Forbes analysis revealed that Montana holds the highest rate of drunk driving among states. In 2020, almost half (45%) of Montana’s traffic fatalities resulted from drunk driving, marking the highest rate. Additionally, Montana ranked 10th in terms of DUI arrests per 100,000 licensed drivers.
  3. In Montana, having a DUI conviction on your record leads to an average car insurance cost increase of 55%. Interestingly, this marks one of the lowest premium increases across the country.
  4. Considering the issues with drunk drivers, it is not surprising that Montanans are one of the top ten worst drivers in the nation.
  5. Vehicle insurers must offer minimum Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. But this coverage can be rejected.

Motorists should watch their speed especially on rural roads and bad weather to avoid accidents. Otherwise, they may face significant insurance premium increases after an at-fault accident.