Montana Auto Insurance

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Montana flagKnown by residents as “Big Sky Country”, Montana is a state that is popular with tourists that love to explore the great outdoors. With natural attractions like Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, and topography ranging from flat plains to the jagged Rocky Mountains, Montana truly is a playground for those that like to rough it. Let’s take a quick look at Montana auto insurance and how things work for those that live and drive in the state.

Montana Insurance Laws And Requirements

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As with the majority of states, Montana auto insurance operates under what is known as the “tort” system of law. In short, this means that when a driver causes an accident, they will be labeled the party who is “at fault”, and this driver and their insurance will pay out claims and be subject to lawsuits. There are both upsides and downsides to the tort system, but it works well enough that most drivers should feel confident with their insurance.Montana map

State law requires that drivers in Montana prove financial responsibility by purchasing a minimum amount of coverage in two different types of insurance. Bodily Injury Liability insurance covers the medical treatment, lost wages, hospital costs and funeral expenses for other parties that are injured in an accident where you are the person who caused it. For instance, if you cause a crash with another car and the driver suffers an injury that costs $5,000 to treat, your Bodily Injury Liability insurance will pay out this claim. Drivers must purchase BIL coverage of no less than $25,000 per person, per accident and $50,000 for all parties in a single accident.

Montana also requires its drivers to purchase Property Damage Liability insurance, which is essentially like the above Bodily Injury Liability except it covers automobile, property and other damage costs from an accident where you are at fault for causing it. Again, this insurance is not for any property that you own, but for others’ property that you’ve damaged as a result of the crash. State law requires drivers to have a minimum of $10,000 in Property Damage Liability coverage.

Montana Car Insurance Rates

Insurance rates in Montana are slightly lower than the national average, when comparing rates from different insurance companies that operate in the state. In June 2011, the median cost for car insurance in Montana was $1299 per year, which is a bit cheaper than the national average of $1440. Drivers who live in Montana’s major cities end up paying a bit more, thanks to the higher risk involved with insuring city drivers. Those in Missoula can count on paying an average of $1407 per year in auto insurance costs, and drivers who call Billings home will pay around $1650. A bit of research generally turns up discounts with at least one of the Montana auto insurance companies offering a policy that works to fill your needs.

Driving Statistics In Montana

One of the many reasons that drivers in Montana enjoy lower than average auto insurance rates is that auto crime is virtually non-existent in the state. In 2009, just 1,456 vehicles were reported stolen. This number reflects a drop of 25% from the 2005 peak, which saw 1,917 cars disappear off of Montana’s streets. It will be tough for Montana to continue to improve in this area, but the theft rate is trending downward and future years could see even fewer auto thefts in the state.

In regards to crashes and accidents, Montana’s drivers have been improving as the years pass. In 2009, Montana recorded 20,967 total crashes, with 202 of those resulting in fatalities. This is down a few percent from the previous year, which saw 21,969 crashes and 208 fatalities. As with most other states, factors such as alcohol and weather were major causes of accidents in the state, as was driver distraction. If drivers can continue to improve, it’s likely that Montana auto insurance will continue to decrease in cost.

As such a fantastic place for driving, the State of Montana does its part by having fair and reasonable auto insurance laws and insurance premium costs. As always, don’t forget to shop around and talk to friends to help discover discounts and other ways to decrease your auto insurance costs. Happy driving!

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