Montana is one of the more affordable states for car insurance, with the average monthly bill totaling $94. Still, it never hurts to shop around, and by investing just a little time into comparing rates, you can insure yourself for a fraction of the average cost.
You should spend time comparing quotes for basic state-required coverage from the 10 biggest insurers in the Treasure State to find just how much the average Montanan could save on auto insurance.
The cost of basic coverage that meets state requirements is not close to the average premium cost, which indicates that most Montana drivers go beyond the minimum requirements and pay for additional coverage. Among the big insurers, there is quite a variation on the cost of a basic policy. State Farm and Geico virtually tied for most affordable annual premiums, averaging $611, with Farmers insurance costing the most at $1,054 — a big difference of $448 annually.
With anything as personalized as insurance quotes, it’s important to keep in mind that you and your neighbor will probably not have the same quote. Every citizen of Montana may find themselves offered a different quote based on a litany of variables, including age, ZIP code and credit score. Basically, the only surefire way to compare rates accurately is to personally check quotes from the competition yourself.
You can obtain all of the necessary quotes using handy online tools. Most insurers have quote tools on their websites. You answer questions and the tool provides a quote right away. On average they take around five minutes to complete. You may have to make phone calls to a few companies, which is slightly more time-consuming, but it could be worth the trouble if it saves you some cash.
Our Top 3 Picks for the Best Cheap Car Insurance in Montana
Each of these companies passed The Simple Dollar’s standards for financial reliability and customer service quality.
To begin with, each has exemplified financial stability through testing by A.M. Best, which rates companies’ financial strength. If you’ve had experience dealing with an insurance company after an accident, you know that caring customer service and an insurer that can pay claims are paramount.
Montana residents can insure themselves well below the already-low state average for premiums. Geico and State Farm both came in with quotes in the $600 range, and both are great options for any driver who is looking to save. Farmers’ quote was a little expensive, but remember, everyone’s quote experience will be different.
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Montana’s Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
The state-required basic level of coverage in Montana is $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for total bodily injury for all involved, and $20,000 for property damage, or a 25/50/10 plan. Unlike many other states, uninsured drivers insurance and medical payments coverage are not required for the state.
While it might be tempting to stick to the bare minimum insurance, you should explore quotes for more comprehensive coverage. Saving a few extra bucks a month is awesome, but not having to pay out of pocket after an accident is better.
If you skip coverage altogether, you’re putting yourself at risk. In Big Sky Country, it’s a misdemeanor to drive without the state-required insurance. Breaking car insurance laws can result in jail time, heavy fines, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and points on your driving record, all of which will send your future insurance premiums through the roof.
Filing a claim can be arduous, but it is important to have adequate coverage in the event of an accident. Even if you total your car, you’ll have the comfort of being protected.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that you will have to file a claim in your lifetime. Statistics show that the common driver averages an accident every 17.9 years. What’s even more frightening is that the average cost of a nonfatal but disabling car-accident injury is $93,800, not an easy pay-out-of-pocket number.
In most cases, upgrading from a 25/50/25 plan to a 50/100/50 plan isn’t as financially daunting as you might expect. For example, a quote for a 25/50/25 plan with State Farm was $606. To up the coverage to 50/100/50, the cost went to $732, only $126 extra annually, a drop in the bucket compared to shelling out of pocket in the event of an accident. It’s worth the peace of mind to have a level of coverage you can trust should the unexpected happen.
While it might be tempting to stick to the bare minimum insurance, you should diligently explore quotes for more comprehensive coverage. Although saving a few extra bucks a month is awesome, not having to pay out of pocket after an accident is even better. For example, the cost of paying $732 annually with State Farm rather than $606 is better than paying anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 in the event of an accident. The old adage of “better safe than sorry” has never been more true.
What if I’m not a full-time resident?
To buy auto insurance in the state of Montana, you must either be a resident of the state or prove that your vehicle is principally parked there. The only other exemption to the rule is anyone on military active duty.
Is Montana a no-fault state?
Montana is not a no-fault state; it is a tort state, which means that the person at fault is responsible for the financial damages of both parties.
Will I still need my Montana SR-22 insurance if I move to another state that doesn’t require it?
If you move to a state that doesn’t require SR-22 insurance, you are still obligated to fulfill the three-year time period on your Montana SR-22 insurance. You will be obligated to meet your requirement until that three-year mark is completed.
Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years
If you consider yourself a loyal customer, you probably expect to be rewarded in some way. Don’t let these fantasies fool you into believing that a car insurer will act in the same manner.
Loyalty is not the name of the game with auto insurance. Many companies use price optimization as a means to pit your loyalty against your wallet. Price optimization uses big data, calculated through complex algorithms, to quantify whether you are averse to price increases or if you will passively accept them and gradually keep paying more. If their algorithms tell them you aren’t likely to shop around for a better deal, they begin raising premiums just enough not to alarm you.
Your greatest weapon against the profit-maximizing techniques of big insurers is “the quote tool.” The more willing you are to search for the best price available, the better off you will be in the long run. Because even if you don’t find a load of savings (though you probably will), you’ll be showing your insurer that you are not willing to put up with price hikes for the sake of greater profits.
There are other reasons to shop around for a new policy, however. If you have consistently avoided citations, tickets and car accidents, you’ll be rewarded with a cheaper premium. If you’re safer on the road, you pose a smaller risk to other drivers and car insurance companies. Shop for a new policy if you have low credit, too. If you have been good about paying off your debts and making all your payments on time, insurers see you as financially responsible. You can get hundreds of dollars shaved off of your policy.
Lastly, moving out of the young drivers bracket is great for your policy. Young drivers are more prone to have accidents, which is why drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 pay the highest premiums. However, as you age, you pay less. So, if you’re moving into your late 20s, search for a new policy. Even jumping from your 30s to your early 40s can save you a good amount of money. You can also get a discount for being a good student.
With some perseverance and smart shopping, Montana drivers can insure themselves for well under the state average. You should take the time to shop your area and find the best rates you can, and never skimp on coverage. In the end, a few extra bucks a month likely will be worth your while.
Best Car Insurance in Montana
- State Farm