All vehicle owners in Billings are required by Montana state law to carry car insurance. From fender-benders on 27th Street to multi-car collisions on Interstate 90, a good auto insurance policy can prevent you from facing large financial losses as a result.
Finding the best and most affordable car insurance is easy when you work with a local independent agent. These agents are available to help you obtain and compare customized car insurance quotes from some of the best car insurance companies in Montana. Contact an insurance agent near you to get started.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Billings, MT?
The average cost of car insurance in Montana is much higher than the national average. Shopping around for the best rate has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars a year.
- National average annual car insurance cost: $1,311
- Montana average annual car insurance cost: $2,476
This average rate can only give you a general idea of what you might actually be expected to pay. Car insurance costs will vary from one driver to the next because they are based on the following factors.
- The make, model, and year of the vehicle(s) you are insuring
- Your age, occupation, and driving history
- Details about the other licensed drivers in your household
- Whether you own or rent your home
- The amount of liability coverage you are purchasing
- The coverage options you are including in your policy
In most cases, you can earn rate reductions if you bundle your car insurance with other policies like home insurance or renters insurance. Comparison shopping enables you to purchase the coverage you need at the most affordable price.
What Are the Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Montana?
In Montana, all car insurance policies must include liability insurance. This is designed to cover other people’s property damage and medical bills if you are at fault for a collision.
To be in compliance with Montana state law, your car insurance policy must include a minimum of 25/50/20 liability coverage. This means that it must provide at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $20,000 in property damage liability per accident
These required amounts may seem rather high. However, if you cause an accident that involves serious injuries to others, their medical costs can easily exceed what a minimum coverage policy can pay for. In that case, you would be required to make up the difference yourself.
That is why many vehicle owners in Billings opt to purchase car insurance that has higher liability limits than the state requires. If you want to, you can also supplement your policy with umbrella insurance. This affordable coverage can boost your liability limits even higher.
What Else Can Billings Car Insurance Cover?
In addition to the mandatory liability coverage mentioned above, your car insurance provider will offer a variety of the following coverage options.
- Full coverage: This refers to coverage for damage to your own vehicle. Though optional by law, it is typically required by lenders if you are financing your car and by dealerships if you are leasing it. It includes:
- Collision coverage: This covers the cost to repair or replace your own vehicle if is it damaged or totaled in a collision, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive coverage: This covers the cost to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled in a non-collision event like a wildfire or a flood.
- Uninsured motorist coverage: This can compensate you for your injuries and property damage if an uninsured driver is responsible for a collision with you.
- Medical payments coverage: This can cover medical treatments for you and your passengers if you are injured in a collision, regardless of fault.
- Roadside assistance and towing: This can cover the costs of assistance if your car becomes disabled while you are away from home, such as if you blow a head gasket or get a flat tire.
- Rental car reimbursement: This can cover the cost of renting a car while your own vehicle is being repaired following a covered event.
- Gap insurance: This covers the gap between what your car is worth and what you currently owe for it if it is totaled in a covered event. This coverage is beneficial during the first couple years of new car ownership when vehicles depreciate the fastest.
It is a good idea to review the details and costs of each coverage option so you can best determine which are a good fit for you and your family.
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What Is the Penalty for Driving without Insurance in Billings, MT?
Driving without insurance is illegal in Montana. If you are caught, you can face the following penalties.
- A misdemeanor conviction on your record
- Fines of $250 to $500, or incarceration for 10 to 180 days, or both
- The suspension of your driving privileges for 90 to 180 days
- The requirement to maintain an SR-22 for three years
- Five points on your license
- Higher car insurance rates
Despite these consequences, approximately one in ten drivers in this state is behind the wheel of an uninsured vehicle. This is lower than the national average rate.
- Percentage of US drivers who are uninsured: 13.0%
- Percentage of Montana drivers who are uninsured: 9.9%
If you are in a collision that was caused by an uninsured driver, that person is responsible for compensating you and your passengers for your property damage and any needed medical treatments. However, this money can be difficult, or at times, impossible to collect.
Uninsured motorist insurance was created as a solution to this problem. It ensures that you will quickly receive the compensation you deserve without the need to take lengthy legal action against the at-fault driver. Instead, your insurance company will take on the burden of collecting what is owed.
Does Billings Car Insurance Cover against Auto Theft?
The auto theft rate in the state of Montana is higher than the national rate, and in Billings, the rate is even higher. Residents of this city report about 700 auto thefts a year.
- National auto theft rate per 1,000 people: 2.29
- Montana auto theft rate per 1,000 people: 2.63
- Billings auto theft rate per 1,000 people: 5.67
Be aware that you can only receive compensation for a stolen vehicle if your car insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage. This optional insurance covers more than just car theft, it also covers a variety of non-collision damage such as may be called by windstorms, garage fires, and hail.
If you are financing or leasing your vehicle, chances are good you already have this coverage. If not, you may want look into how much it will cost for you to add it to your Billings car insurance policy.
How Can an Independent Agent in Billings Help You Find the Best Car Insurance?
If you are looking for the best auto insurance to meet your coverage and budgetary needs, a local independent agent can help. These agents work for you, not for a particular insurance company. This means they are free to shop around to find the coverage you want at the most competitive price.
It doesn’t cost anything to talk to an independent agent. Contact an insurance agent in Billings to get more information and to start comparing customized car insurance quotes.
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