Auto Insurance for Risky Drivers in Montana

The Zebra
June 27, 2019

If you have caused a crash, filed a claim, or received a citation for a major violation, you might be a candidate for high-risk auto insurance. Auto insurance for risky drivers is usually expensive, but the degree of extra cost you receive may depend on your insurance company, your driving history, and the state in which you drive.

What goes into car insurance prices for bad drivers in Montana:
  1. At-fault accidents
  2. Speeding
  3. Distracted driving
  4. Racing
  5. Reckless driving
  6. Montana driving laws

 

Auto insurance after an at-fault accident in Montana

If you're deemed at-fault for an auto collision, you can expect your auto insurance rates to go up. In Montana, the average insurance premium following an at-fault accident is $2,093, compared to the national average of $2,012. A major accident such as an at-fault crash can stay on your insurance record for as long as three years!

MONTANA CAR INSURANCE PREMIUMS AFTER AN AT-FAULT COLLISION
LocationWith At-Fault Accident — Annual RateNo At-Fault Accident — Annual RateYearly Rate Increase
Montana$2,093$1,615$478
National Average$2,012$1,397$615

The best car insurance company after an at-fault accident in Montana is USAA. USAA’s usual price increase after an incident is $1,220, leading to a rate 58 percent less expensive than the average among all companies. If you've been at-fault in a collision in Montana, avoid Mid-Century and Allstate, which sit at the pricier end of the spectrum.

CAR INSURANCE RATES FOLLOWING AN AT-FAULT ACCIDENT IN MONTANA — CHEAP COMPANIES
InsurerAnnual Rate With an At-Fault Accident
USAA$873
State Farm$1,159
National Farmers Union Property$1,909
Mid-Century$2,218
Allstate$2,228

 

Does getting a speeding ticket in Montana result in higher car insurance rates?

One of the violations that earns drivers the "high-risk" tag is speeding. In Montana, you can expect to see your costs grow by $340 per year after a speeding ticket, to an average annual rate of $1,954.

MONTANA CAR INSURANCE PRICES FOLLOWING A SPEEDING TICKET
StateWith a Speeding Ticket — Annual RateNo Speeding Ticket — Annual RateYearly Rate Increase
Montana$1,954$1,615$340
National Average$1,727$1,397$330

 

The foolproof way to get cheap auto insurance after getting a ticket for speeding is to shop around and weigh your options. The cheapest auto insurance after a speeding ticket in Montana is available via USAA. USAA’s average premium after a violation is $1,092 less than the state typical. If you are cited for speeding in Montana, Mid-Century might not be the most affordable option.

CAR INSURANCE PRICES AFTER SPEEDING IN MONTANA — AFFORDABLE CARRIERS
CompanyAnnual Premium After a Speeding Citation
USAA$862
State Farm$1,091
National Farmers Union Property$1,684
Allstate$1,794
Mid-Century$2,044

 

How does a ticket for distracted driving impact car insurance rates in Montana?

A distracted driving citation means you should expect your car insurance rates to rise. In Montana, auto insurance rates typically increase by $243 per year. That's a 15% increase from the average annual premium in Montana, and 41% more than the U.S. average cost of car insurance after a distracted driving citation.

MONTANA CAR INSURANCE RATES WITH A DISTRACTED DRIVING TICKET
LocationWith Distracted Driving — Annual RateNo Distracted Driving — Annual RateAnnual Rate Increase
Montana$1,858$1,615$243
National Average$1,570$1,397$173

The easiest way to get affordable car insurance following a distracted driving infraction is to compare policies from different carriers. The cheapest auto insurance car insurance company after being cited for distracted driving in Montana is USAA, with a typical rate of just $862 per year, 54% less than the average distracted driving insurance premium among top insurers.

AUTO INSURANCE RATES AFTER DISTRACTED DRIVING IN MONTANA — AFFORDABLE PROVIDERS
InsurerAnnual Rate With Distracted Driving
USAA$862
State Farm$1,024
SAFECO$1,097
National Farmers Union Property$1,684
Allstate$1,794

 

How does a citation for racing impact Montana car insurance rates?

Racing is treated as an extraordinarily serious offense. Car insurance carriers often penalize racing citations severely — in fact, Montana car insurance premiums go up by an average of $640 per year following a ticket for racing. That represents a 40% increase from the average annual car insurance premium in Montana!

LocationWith a Racing Citation — Annual RateNo Racing Citation — Annual RateYearly Rate Increase
Montana$2,255$1,615$640
National Average$2,397$1,397$1,000

If you have been cited for racing, do your homework and seek out the most affordable rates. In Montana, start your search by checking out SAFECO, offering rates 61 percent cheaper than the state average after a racing violation.

 

CAR INSURANCE RATES AFTER A TICKET FOR RACING IN MONTANA — AFFORDABLE COMPANIES
Insurance CompanyAnnual Rate With Racing
SAFECO$887
State Farm$1,091
USAA$1,285
Allstate$2,176
National Farmers Union Property$2,315

 

How does a citation for reckless driving impact Montana car insurance rates?

Among the most serious driving violations, reckless driving is a certain way to pay more for auto insurance. Insurance companies increase rates by $682 per year after a ticket for reckless driving. That's 42% greater than the average car insurance rate in Montana, and 41% less than the national average price increase for a reckless driving ticket.

MONTANA AUTO INSURANCE PRICES WITH A RECKLESS DRIVING CITATION
LocationWith Reckless Driving — Annual RateNo Reckless Driving — Annual RateYearly Rate Increase
Montana$2,297$1,615$682
U.S. Average$2,395$1,397$998

If you have a reckless driving offense on your record, shop around to find the most affordable price. In Montana, the most affordable insurer after a reckless driving offense is SAFECO.

AUTO INSURANCE PRICES AFTER RECKLESS DRIVING IN MONTANA — CHEAP COMPANIES
InsurerAnnual Rate With Reckless Driving
SAFECO$887
USAA$910
State Farm$1,091
Allstate$2,176
National Farmers Union Property$2,315

If you are seeking auto insurance as a high-risk driver, your best option is to do plenty of research and compare policies from trusted insurers.

 

Montana Driving Laws

Driving laws in Montana are put into place to keep the roads safe. If you live in Montana or find yourself regularly driving in the state, it pays to know the rules of the road. This can help keep you safe and on the right side of the law.

Speeding in Montana

When Are You Speeding in Montana?

Montana is a state with many open highways and vast expanses. It can take hours to travel from one town to another. As such, the state’s speed limits tend to be higher than average, especially on highways in rural areas. While limits can be adopted by local authorities, below you’ll find the basic guidelines proposed by Montana:

  • 80 mph on interstate highways (outside of urban areas)
  • 65 mph on interstate highways (in urban areas)
  • 70 mph (daytime limit on all other highways)
  • 65 mph (nighttime limit on all other highways)
  • 25 mph in urban areas

Motorists are allowed to exceed the speed limit by 10 miles per house in order to safely pass another vehicle on the interstate. 

Penalties for Speeding in Montana

If you are caught breaking Montana speeding laws, you are guilty of a misdemeanor and can expect the following penalties: 

  • First conviction: a fine between $10 and $100
  • Second conviction (within one year of first): a fine between $25 and $200
  • Three or more (within one year of first): a fine between $50 and $500


Reckless Driving in Montana

What is Reckless Driving in Montana?

The state of Montana has two separate distinctions for this type of driving behavior, reckless and careless. There are subtle differences between the two, though both are illegal and carry their own penalties. 

  • Reckless driving is defined as operating a vehicle with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This also applies in cases where drivers endanger highway workers as well.
  • Careless driving is defined as driving in a way that unreasonably endangers “the life, limb, property, or other rights of a person entitled to the use of the highway.” 

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Montana

Reckless driving carries the following penalties:

  • First conviction: Up to 90 days imprisonment and/or a fine between $25 and $300 
  • Second conviction: Imprisonment between 10 days and six months and or a fine between $50 and $500

If reckless driving results in death or serious injury to another person, the penalties increase dramatically and include the following:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Imprisonment for up to one year

Careless driving penalties include the following:

  • First conviction: a fine between $10 and $100
  • Second conviction (within one year of first): a fine between $25 and $200
  • Third or more (within one year of first): a fine between $50 and $500

If careless driving results in the serious injury or death of another person, the punishment increases to the following:

  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Up to six months incarceration 


Distracted Driving in Montana

What is Distracted Driving in Montana?

Distracted driving encompasses any behavior that may take your mind off the task of driving. Montana is a notoriously gorgeous state and it can be easy to find yourself gazing out the windows of your car. However, if your eyes are glued to a beautiful mountain vista, that means they aren’t on the road. 

Unfortunately, Montana is one of the few remaining states that has not banned texting while driving, a form of distracted driving that is dangerous and, at times, deadly. Montana currently has no laws on the issue, allowing anyone--including minors--to legally write and send messages from their mobile phones while behind the wheel. 

Penalties for Distracted Driving in Montana

Because Montana has no laws that ban texting and driving, there is no clear penalty for potentially dangerous driving behaviors, though police may charge drivers with reckless driving, especially if their behavior causes an accident. 

 

Racing in Montana

What is Racing in Montana?

The law is quite clear when it comes to racing in Montana. The state says that no driver is allowed to engage in “any motor vehicle speed contest or exhibition of speed on a public highway or street” unless they have permission from the proper authorities. 

Penalties for Racing in Montana

If you are found guilty of breaking Montana racing laws, you will be guilty of a misdemeanor and can expect the following penalties to apply:

  • A fine between $50 and $500
  • Up to six months in jail


At-fault Accidents in Montana

What is an At-fault Accident in Montana?

Liability minimums are set at the following limits: 

  • $25,000 coverage of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident
  • $50,000 total coverage of bodily injury to or death of two or more people in a single accident
  • $20,000 covering destruction of property of others in any one accident

Penalties for At-fault Accidents in Montana

Provided that you carry the proper insurance coverage, the penalties that you are likely to face for an at-fault accident include rising insurance premiums. If you carry only the minimum liability limits, however, and the resulting damages exceed those limits, you could very well find yourself personally responsible for covering the excess damages. 

If you are found to be driving without proper insurance coverage, you can expect the penalties to be quite steep. 

First offense: 

  • A fine between $250 and $500
  • Up to 10 days imprisonment

Second offense: 

  • $350 fine 
  • Up to 10 days imprisonment
  • 90 revocation of license
  • Five points added to your driving record

Third offense:

  • $500 fine
  • Imprisonment for up to six months

It’s important to note that, while the above fines can be quite steep, if you cause an accident and do not carry insurance, you will be personally liable for any and all damages. This can make the fines listed seem downright cheap by comparison.

 

DUI in Montana


What is a DUI in Montana?

Montana’s DUI laws are very robust. They go to great pains to ensure that the laws are clear and the penalties stiff. The basic definition of a DUI in Montana is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

Montana considers a driver to be under the influence if their operation of the vehicle is impaired by any (or multiple) of the following:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Illicit drugs
  • Marijuana (even medical users) 
  • Any other drug

While the official blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .08%, if there is evidence that you are impaired by drugs or alcohol, you can be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is below that limit.

A driver is guilty of an aggravated DUI in the following circumstances:

  • Commission of multiple DUIs
  • Have a BAC greater than .16%
  • Refusal to take a breathalyzer 
  • Driving with a suspended/revoked license

 

Penalties for a DUI in Montana

Penalties for driving under the influence in Montana are justly stiff. Along with the following criminal penalties, you will also see you insurance rates rise. If convicted of a DUI, you can expect ten points to be added to your record for each offense, as well as the following penalties:

First conviction:

  • 24 hours to six months in jail
  • A fine between $600 to $1,000
  • Six-month suspension of license
  • Possibility of an ignition interlock device*
  • Mandatory chemical dependency course (A-C-T Phases)

Second conviction:

  • Seven days to one year in jail
  • A fine between $2,400 to $4,000
  • One year suspension of license
  • Ignition interlock device for at least 45 days
  • Mandatory 24-7 sobriety program

Third conviction:

  • 30 days to one year in jail
  • A fine of between $5,000 to $10,000
  • One year suspension of license
  • Ignition interlock device for at least 90 days
  • Mandatory 24-7 sobriety program

* In place of the ignition interlock, a judge could order vehicles owned by the offender to be seized.


Sources and references:

  • https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2019/01/31/montana-kills-minor-texting-law/2736323002/
  • https://leg.mt.gov/
  • https://dojmt.gov/driving/insurance-and-verification/
  • https://www.mdt.mt.gov/visionzero/docs/dui_penalties.pdf