Every Montana driver is required to carry liability insurance on their vehicle, no matter how old it is. That’s the law. But there are other laws that govern what the insurance company must cover — and how you, as the customer, must be treated. Our office upholds the laws that govern auto insurance companies. We make sure the policies sold in Montana comply with those laws and that prices are not unreasonably high. We also serve as the experts on your side and are here to help if your auto insurance company doesn’t pay — or doesn’t pay as much as you think it should.
We also write impartial auto insurance buying guides. What you will pay for auto insurance is based on several factors,including your age, your driving record and the make and model of your vehicle. We survey companies selling auto insurance in Montana to build a real-world guide for what Montanans can expect to pay for auto insurance. We’re not trying to promote any insurance provider over another; we just believe Montanans deserve trustworthy insurance information.
Call us at 1-800-332-6148
Do You Know What to Do After an Accident?The National Association of Insurance Commisioners (NAIC) has developed an app that guides you through the steps to take after a collision. WRECKCHECK helps you know what information to share, with whom and what details are important when filing an insurance claim. Available for free for iPhone and Android.
The Top 12
We answer thousands of questions from Montanans like you every year. Here are the most common questions we hear:
If an error is made in reporting any of these factors, your rates won’t be quoted correctly. Auto insurance misquotes can happen when your application information differs from your actual driving record.
Companies ask the state’s motor-vehicle division to verify the records of the drivers they insure. If you told your insurance agent you have a perfect driving record, and you don’t, your insurance company will charge higher premiums than your agent quotes.
To avoid misquotes, provide accurate information about your driving record and any other factors that could affect the cost of insurance, such as the make of your car or how far you commute to work. Verify all information before signing the application.
Some companies will exclude this person by name from the insurance policy. Many companies won’t insure anyone in the family unless every driver in the household meets their requirements.
- Claims. Do you file claims frequently or for large amounts?
- Driving record. Do you have a bad driving record (speeding, DUI, etc.)? Or have you been in several “at-fault” accidents that resulted in claims being filed against you?
- Credit history. Do you have bad credit? Have you filed for bankruptcy? Insurers may use certain aspects of your credit score to create an insurance credit score to determine what kind of risk you are.
Insurers typically determine the actual cash value of your vehicle by doing a market survey of similar vehicles in your area. They must research the cost of vehicles that are the same make and model as yours, with similar mileage, interiors, upgrades, etc. If there are no comparable vehicles in your local market, they can expand their survey area.
They must also provide you with copies of the information they are using to establish the ACV of your vehicle.
Tell the insurance company why you believe your car is worth more than the insurer is offering by doing your own research and provide your adjuster with copies of the documentation that supports this. Look in the classified ads or online to locate a vehicle similar to your damaged one in your local market. It may come down to negotiations between you and the insurance company. But remember, an insurance company won’t compensate you for your car’s sentimental value. The only book value that an insurer can use to value your vehicle is the NADA value. They don’t have to recognize any other book values such as the Kelly Blue Book. They don’t have to utilize the NADA value unless both the insured and the company agree to do so.
The Montana Insurance Commissioner has no authority to determine the value of a vehicle or to decide who is at fault for causing an accident.
If you have an address change, it’s your responsibility to tell your insurance company. They are only required to send notice to the last address they have on record. Also, keep track of your payments.
Most auto policies have lower deductibles for comprehensive coverage than for collision coverage. If you have an older car, it may cost more to repair than it’s worth. In that case, consider the following to save money:
- Raise your deductibles.
- Drop your collision or comprehensive coverage.
- Drop both your collision and comprehensive coverage.
$50,000 per accident bodily injury;
$20,000 property damage