Montana Car Insurance Requirements
If you live in Montana you have the same legal requirement as residents in other states of proving financial responsibility in order to register and drive your car. But you have an advantage in that your state allows several different options for doing so. Those options are:
- obtaining a surety bond from a licensed bonding company approved by the state of Montana
- obtaining a real estate bond from at least two bondholders with real estate holdings in Montana
- depositing $55,000 cash with the state or county treasurer
- obtaining a car insurance policy providing a minimum amount of liability protection
There is fifth option of self insuring if you have at least 25 vehicles registered in your name. This option is almost never used except among car dealers or businesses with large fleets.
Proof of Insurance Options
Regardless of the financial responsibility option you choose, you’re required to carry documentation in your vehicle. In terms of car insurance, your carrier is required to notify the state when you purchase a new policy. They will also send you an insurance ID card that serves as the proof of insurance to carry in your vehicle.
If you’ve chosen one of the other options you’ll need some other sort of proof. A copy of a bond certificate is sufficient for both bond options. For the cash deposit and self insurance options you should receive a letter from the state indicating you have met the requirements for those options. That letter is sufficient proof of coverage.
Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
Failure to maintain financial responsibility is a serious offense in Montana regardless of the option chosen to use. If you’re pulled over by the police without proper proof in your car you’ll most likely be ticketed. If it turns out that you have no insurance in force, and you haven’t exercised one of the other options, you’ll be penalized severely.
A first offense can result in a $500 fine and/or a 10-day jail sentence. A second offense adds an additional $350 fine, the possibility of 10 days in jail, and a 90-day mandatory license suspension. For a third offense and beyond the penalties are even more severe.
Montana drivers have access to cheap insurance policies through local agents, online insurance portals like this one, and directly from car insurance companies themselves. With so many options it doesn’t make sense to take the risk of being caught without proper car insurance coverage. Rather than taking the risk, do some shopping and find coverage that meets your needs while being affordable at the same time.