Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Montana: Do You Need It?

You aren’t legally required to carry uninsured motorist coverage in Montana, but it is the law for insurers to offer it to you.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by Brenna Swanston
background
Uninsured motorist coverage is not required by law in Montana. However, insurance companies are still required to offer this coverage to all drivers in the state at a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. 
According to Montana traffic law, all drivers must carry at least
liability insurance
, which pays damages sustained to others' vehicles or property if the policyholder causes a car accident. If the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, however, the other party could be left with exorbitant bills for medical treatments.
Uninsured motorist coverage
protects you from incurring these expenses.
Trustworthy super app
and
car insurance
comparison expert
Jerry
has compiled a guide to help you better understand the benefits of uninsured motorist coverage in Montana. In this article, we’ll discuss how much you can expect to pay for this coverage and show you the easiest way to save time and money when purchasing
Montana car insurance
. Let’s dive in.  
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Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Montana?

No. Montana’s state law requires you to carry liability coverage. Insurance companies that sell policies to drivers in Montana are legally obligated to offer uninsured motorist coverage, but drivers have the option to decline it in writing. 
Sure, declining uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) will lower the cost of your car insurance policy, but if an uninsured driver hits your vehicle, you won’t be able to file a claim for damages—potentially leaving you with the stress of paying expensive medical care.  
An estimated 32 million people are driving without car insurance in the United States. In Montana, approximately 8.5% of drivers are uninsured. 
Montana ranks as one of the most dangerous states to drive in. Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that a higher number of fatal accidents occur in rural settings as opposed to urban ones, and Montana just so happens to be one of the most rural states in the nation. To top it off, Montana has the highest annual percentage of fatal accidents caused by drunk driving of any state in the U.S., at a troubling 48%
If you're involved in a serious accident in Montana and don't have UM/UIM, the last thing you want to hear is that the at-fault driver doesn't have enough insurance—or isn't carrying car insurance at all. Adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy is a great way to protect you from high-risk drivers who have little to no regard for the law.
On average, uninsured motorist coverage costs Montana drivers about $50 to $75 per year—which is a pretty small investment considering that the average cost of a claim after a car accident is nearly $25,000, according to the
Insurance Information Institute (III)

How uninsured motorist insurance works in Montana

As it is stated in
§ 61-6-103, MCA
, the minimum liability insurance limits in Montana are as follows: 
In most cases, claims for bodily injury and property after a car accident are filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company reviews the claim and compensates you for damages up to the limit of your policy
When an uninsured driver is to blame for the crash, this changes things significantly. Since there is no insurance company to file a claim with, you may not be able to recoup any losses after the accident. Considering how expensive car accidents can be, you might feel you have no choice but to sue the uninsured driver
You could skip all the courtroom drama just by carrying UM/UIM. With this policy, you’ll be able to recoup your medical losses by filing a claim with your own insurance provider and paying for damages that way. Just keep in mind that the reimbursement you receive will not exceed your policy limit—so if the damage is really serious, you may need to cover the remaining expense out of pocket. 

What’s available

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is split into the following two categories: 
Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UM): Will cover medical expenses for you and any of your injured passengers after a collision with an at fault driver who is uninsured. This coverage will pay up to the limit of your policy.
Uninsured motorist property damage (UIM): Will cover medical expenses for you and any of your injured passengers after a collision with a driver who is found at fault and doesn't have sufficient insurance to cover your medical expenses. This coverage will pay up to the limit of your policy.
In Montana, if you choose to purchase UM/UIM, the minimum limits are $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident.
Be advised that UM/UIM only pays for medical expenses, it does not cover property damage. You will need to have
collision insurance
as part of your policy to have your car repaired or replaced. Collision coverage helps you pay for vehicle repairs regardless of who is at fault for the crash. Without it, you will need to pay for your repairs out of pocket.

What it covers

The circumstances of every car accident are a little different, but in general, uninsured motorist coverage can assist with more than just ER bills immediately following a crash. In some cases uninsured motorist coverage can also help pay for: 
  • Ongoing medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering (in certain cases)
  • Rehabilitative care
  • Medical equipment such as a wheelchair or respirator
  • Assistance with housework after sustaining a serious injury
  • Modification needed to your home to accommodate a long-term injury
  • Funeral expenses (in certain cases)
Mourning the loss of a loved one after a car accident is difficult enough, but having to worry about paying for medical treatment at the same time is overwhelming. Uninsured motorist coverage can be a huge help—especially in serious accidents that have long-term, life-altering effects. 

How to make a claim 

It’s common practice after an accident to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) involved, but if a driver is driving uninsured or flees the scene of the crash, you’ll have cause to file an uninsured motorist claim
Filing the claim isn’t too complicated and is just like filing any other claim. You’ll need to file a
written report
with the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) unless the police are called. They will complete a crash report and notify the DMV on your behalf. However, you must contact your insurance company to let them know you've been in an accident. The odds are you won't know whether the other driver is insured until the insurance company gets involved. 
When you speak to the insurance company, make sure you give them as much detail about the crash as possible. It's a good idea to provide documentation such as photos, a police report, or hospital bills (if you have them) that will help substantiate your claim. 
Report the accident as soon as possible. The MVD gives you just 10 days to alert them about the crash. You should make a point to alert the insurance company within that time frame as well. 

Why it’s a good idea to buy uninsured motorist insurance in Montana

Car accidents are sudden, unplanned events that could have a longstanding impact on your life. As we mentioned before, spending an extra $50 to $100 a year to add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy could save you thousands in the long run. Let’s look at a few specific ways in which you could benefit from buying uninsured motorist insurance in Montana. 

It could protect you in a hit-and-run accident

Sadly, just 10% of hit-and-run drivers ever get caught for their crimes. Even if the driver who hit you and took off has insurance, you won’t be able to file a claim if you can’t verify the driver’s identity. Most of the time, it’s dealt with in the same way as an uninsured motorist claim. 
If you have uninsured motorist insurance and put in a hit-and-run claim with your insurance company, the UM portion of your coverage will kick in to help pay for the medical damages you incurred, so you won’t be stuck dealing with these bills on your own. 

It could keep you out of court

For most people, filing a personal injury lawsuit is a last resort. It’s expensive, it can take a long time to get resolved, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be compensated in the end. 
Between hiring an attorney and having to take time off of work to appear in court, suing the uninsured driver can wind up being a pain. Uninsured motorist coverage will help you avoid feeling like you have to take this course of action to get justice. By helping you pay for bills you incurred after the crash, you won’t need to formally cross paths with the driver who hit you ever again. 

How to save on uninsured motorist coverage in Montana

Now that you know how helpful uninsured motorist insurance can be in Montana, you’re probably wondering how to get the best deal for it. That’s where
Jerry
comes in. 
As a licensed broker and #1-rated insurance app Jerry specializes in finding you the cheapest rates available for whatever type of
car insurance
you need. It takes just a minute to sign up, and another minute after that for Jerry to present you with a customized list of the most competitive quotes from the more than 55 top insurers that we partner with. In mere minutes, you could save over $800 on your annual coverage! 
“I’d recommend
Jerry
to anyone. I’ve almost halved my insurance bill with a new Allstate plan and it took under 10 minutes.” —Leon W.
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