Under Montana law, the only required type of car insurance coverage is liability insurance, which pays for injuries, deaths, and property damage sustained by others in an accident you cause. The legal minimum is $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 total for bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 for property damage. This is commonly known as 25/50/20 coverage. You have the option to purchase more. Montana law also requires the insurance company to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM) in the amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. UM/UIM stands in for the other driver’s liability insurance if you are hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough to pay for the full cost of the accident. It generally also applies if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver or “phantom vehicle” that is never found. Again, the insurance company has to offer this coverage, and if you don’t want it, you must decline it in writing.
Montana car insurance policies may also include these types of optional coverage:
- Collision and comprehensive insurance: These types of insurance pay for damage to the insured vehicle on a no-fault basis. Collision pays for damage sustained in a crash, while comprehensive pays for other causes like vandalism, fire, and natural disasters. Note that while you are not legally required to have these coverages, they are usually required by lienholders if your vehicle is financed.
- Rental reimbursement coverage: This insurance pays for a replacement rental vehicle if your car cannot be driven due to an accident or other damage.
- Medical expense benefits: Also known as medical payments or MedPay, this coverage pays for medical and funeral expenses of people injured or killed while riding in your car on a no-fault basis. It may also cover you and members of your family if you are hit as a pedestrian or passenger in someone else’s car.
If there isn’t enough insurance available to pay for a car accident, then in principle, you can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s assets. However, this is usually impractical. As such, the amount of available insurance is a critical factor in compensation for most car accidents.