In Montana, drivers must show "financial responsibility" in order to register and operate a motor vehicle in the state. One of the most common ways to establish financial responsibility is to purchase a car insurance policy. Whichever way you choose to demonstrate financial responsibility for a potential car accident in Montana (and we'll discuss other methods of doing so in the sections below), these are the minimum levels of responsibility you must establish:
In Montana, car insurance companies must offer UIM coverage to consumers who are buying a car insurance policy. Drivers may reject this offer, but they must do so in writing. UIM coverage will increase your premium, but it may save you money (and stress) if you are ever in an accident with an at-fault driver who has insufficient coverage. To learn more about UIM coverage, check out our articles Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
Instead of buying car insurance, Montana drivers can also satisfy the "financial responsibility" requirement through self-insurance or surety bonds. However, these methods do not function the same as insurance. For more information on these alternative methods, check out the official website of the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles.
Driving without insurance in Montana is considered a misdemeanor. A first-time offender could be punished with a fine between $250 and $500, or up to 10 days in jail. A second-time offender will incur a minimum fine of $350 or 10 days in jail. Additionally, Montana has a point system for monitoring drivers with traffic violations. Each time you drive without insurance, it will cost you five points. Reach 30 points, and the state may revoke your driver's license.
For more information about the financial responsibility rules in Montana, check out Montana Auto Insurance Laws and Regulations.