The car insurance laws in place in Montana require drivers to maintain certain amounts of liability insurance on most vehicles driven in the state. The only vehicles exempt from the requirement are motorcycles and any other vehicle with less than three wheels. Vehicles with four wheels o more are required by state law to have at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $10,000 in property damage coverage. Since Montana is a tort state, where fault must is placed on one driver or another in an accident, the required liability coverage is intended to help an at fault driver cover of another driver’s injuries or property damage if they are found to be at fault in the accident. Many Montana motorists opt to purchase more coverage than the state requires so that they reduce the risk of being financially liable for the costs of any accident that exceed the minimum coverage amounts. If Montana drivers do not want to purchase a car insurance policy that meets state requirements there are other options available that will allow them to comply with the state’s financial liability law. If a vehicle owner has over 25 vehicles registered in their name they will be able to obtain a self insurance certificate, releasing them of the states requirements. Because self insurance requires someone to own 25 or more vehicles it is typically only an option for the extremely wealthy or companies such as car dealerships that have dozens of vehicles on hand. Montana motorists that do not own 25 or more vehicles but still want to avoid buying an auto insurance policy always have the option of purchasing a surety or making a cash deposit with the state treasurer equal to the amount of required liability insurance.

Unlike some states, which dictate how car insurance companies calculate the rates of their customers and require certain surcharges for certain driving infractions, the state of Montana allows insurance companies to calculate insurance premiums based on their own criteria and formulas. Even with this freedom most car insurance companies in Montana still take into account a few common factors when calculating premiums. One of the most common factors that car insurance companies use to determine a driver’s insurance premium is age. Older drivers tend to be viewed more favorably by insurance companies because they have more experience driving and represent less of a risk than younger drivers just starting out. Insurance companies will also take into account a driver’s record when calculating premiums, a Montana driver with a clean driving record will likely get a substantial discount while a driver with a tarnished driving history will end up paying more in premiums in comparison. Additionally, Montana car insurance companies also typically take into account the make, model and value of the car being insured as well as the part of the state where the vehicle is kept. The lower the value of the vehicle the lower insurance premiums tend to be and the more crime an area has the more vehicles registered in those areas tend to cost when purchasing insurance policies.

Montana is one of the many states in the country that consider driving without car insurance to be a misdemeanor. This means that a driver could potentially end up serving time in jail if they are caught driving without insurance. Generally, the first time that a Montana motorist is caught driving without insurance they will be fined between $250 and $500 though the law does allow for the punishment for such an offense with up to 10 days in jail. The first offense will also result in five points being added to the driver’s license, accumulating 30 points will result in mandatory revocation of the license. Drivers that are caught without insurance a second time will be punished with a minimum fine of at least $350 and could also be required to spend 10 days in jail. A second offense will also result in an automatic 90 day suspension of the driver’s license, regardless of the point total on their license. A third or subsequent offense will carry a mandatory fine of no less than $500, suspension of the driver’s license and restricted registration for a period of 180 days. In the near future the state of Montana hope to implement an online coverage verification system that will help government officials keep track of the car insurance status of vehicles registered within the state as well as discover uninsured vehicles in a much more efficient manner. Once it is launched insurance companies will be required to instantly update any changes to a vehicle’s insurance status, this includes reporting policy lapses, cancelations, renewals and even purchases. Systems such as this are in use in many states and have proven quite effective at reducing the rate of uninsured drivers.