The Big Sky State is made for adventures on the open road, or just around town. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, and again in the late 1990s, there were no particular speed limits in Montana. These days, however, you’ll need to watch your speedometer.
In order to drive around and enjoy the state’s majestic sights, buying car insurance in Montana is essential for protecting your vehicle—and yourself—in case of any mishaps on the road. As you shop for auto insurance, take into consideration Montana’s insurance laws, minimum coverage requirements, and average rates, making sure to compare quotes before selecting an insurance provider.
Here’s what you need to know before hitting the road in Montana.
What are Montana’s auto insurance laws?
Montana state law requires that every driver carries auto liability insurance. If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you could be fined up to $500 or spend up to 10 days in jail. A second offense brings another fine or more jail time, plus five points added onto your driving record (at 30 points, your license gets revoked). The third time? Yet another fine, and up to six months in jail.
And if you cause an accident while driving without coverage, the other driver can sue you for damages. If that happens, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars or, if someone is severely hurt, upwards of $100,000* yourself.
What are Montana’s minimum car insurance requirements?
In Montana, driving unprotected is illegal. Drivers must carry the following minimum car insurance coverage:
- Bodily injury liability coverage at $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability coverage worth $20,000, in case you hit someone else’s car or property.
Be aware that Montana Highway Patrol officers use a special web service to verify proof of vehicle liability coverage during traffic stops. So if you can’t find your insurance card, troopers will be able to confirm that you’re covered.
Keep in mind, these are just the minimum requirements in Montana, and you can always choose to increase your coverage amounts or include optional, additional coverage, which can help you pay for any medical bills out of your own pocket should you get into an accident.
What are average Montana car insurance rates?
Auto insurance rates vary based on several factors, like whether you live in the city or countryside, the type of vehicle you drive, the type of policy you choose, and your driving record. On average, car insurance in Montana costs around $115 per month or just under $1,400 per year. But your auto insurance quote will be customized for you.
Is there a new car insurance grace period in Montana?
No. You must have liability coverage before you drive your vehicle on the streets. And if you’re financing your car, keep in mind that your lender may require that you carry more coverage than the state minimum.
Does Montana have learner’s license programs?
There are two classes of learner’s permits in Montana: the Traffic Education Learner’s License (TELL) and the Learner’s License. Teens 14½ years or older are eligible to get a TELL permit if they are enrolled in a state-approved traffic education program, and are only allowed to drive when supervised by a licensed parent or guardian. Teens 15 years and older are eligible for a Learner’s License after completing a state-approved traffic education program. This kind of permit allows teen drivers to drive accompanied by a licensed parent, guardian, or a driver 18 years or older who is authorized by a parent/guardian. A Learner’s License is valid for one year and must be held for at least six months, and the teen driver must have 50 hours of supervised driving (which includes 10 hours of nighttime driving) before they are eligible for a First-Year Restricted License.
Montana driving statistics
Montana’s wide-open spaces and vast wilderness beckon. While the state is certainly less crowded than most, Montana still has plenty of fender benders and deadly crashes, which doubled in the last year.
The state also leads the country in drunk driving-related deaths, with 5,000 people in Montana losing their driving privileges due to impaired driving each year. In one study, 3.4 percent of Montana drivers reported that they had driven after drinking too much, compared to 1.9 percent of drivers nationally. Montana also has more than its share of distracted driving accidents, ranking eleventh in the country. So drivers in Montana—and frankly, everywhere—are better off checking their texts once they’re safe and parked.
Happily, the Montana Department of Transportation has joined forces with various agencies to roll out a Vision Zero program—aiming for zero deaths, zero serious injuries—to improve road safety.
AAA Car Insurance discounts for Montana residents
In Montana, you might qualify for some sweet discounts on auto insurance. Your AAA insurance agent can help you navigate options to find exceptional coverage while saving you money. (Did you know that Montana drivers who switch to AAA Auto Insurance save an average of $375.56 a year?**)
Check out some of the AAA Auto Insurance discounts available for drivers in Montana:
- 5% AAA Membership discount.
- Up to 5% Member loyalty discount.
- Up to 5% auto insurance loyalty discount.
- 7.5% discount when you insure multiple cars on your policy.
- Up to 10% discount when bundled with homeowners insurance.
- Up to 5% discount when bundled with life insurance.
- Up to 30% discount for SMARTtrek users (based on program results).
- 5% discount for defensive drivers.
- Teen and student drivers can save if they are a good student (GPA of 3.0 or higher), complete the AAA teenSMART program, or live far from college.
Chat with an insurance agent to learn how you can maximize your savings on auto insurance. And remember, speak to your agent any time you have a change in your life. Whether you move or get a new car, your agent is happy to crunch the numbers and save you money.
Find an agent who knows Montana auto insurance
Award-winning AAA insurance agents can help you find the right auto insurance for your needs. Find AAA in Montana.