Montana Code Annotated Title 61

A few of the most important aspects of this Title pertaining to insurance requirements, licensing requirements, and appropriate conduct behind the wheel.

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Posted: 12/19/2018
 Motor Vehicle Accident    Medical Insurance  

The Montana Code Annotated Title 61 refers to motor vehicles in the state of Montana. This section of Montana state law pertains to all aspects of motor vehicles in Montana, including traffic safety, drivers' license requirements, insurance requirements, insurance company obligations, and much more. A few of the most important aspects of this Title pertaining to insurance requirements, licensing requirements, and appropriate conduct behind the wheel.

Drivers' Duty of Care

Every driver on the road in Montana has several obligations, and one of the most important is the responsibility to drive with care. This means keeping up with vehicle maintenance to prevent accidents from part malfunctions on the road, obeying posted speed limits and traffic signals, and operating vehicles safely at all times. Drivers who neglect these responsibilities not only face criminal charges from the state but also a civil liability if their actions cause harm to other drivers.

Insurance Requirements

Montana follows a fault-based system for car accident claims, so every driver is responsible for carrying an auto insurance policy that meets the state's minimum requirements for liability coverage. The minimum insurance requirements for Montana drivers follow a 25/50/20 format.

  • $25,000 or more in coverage for bodily injury or death per person, per accident the policyholder causes.
  • $50,000 or more in total accident coverage for an accident the policyholder causes.
  • $20,000 or more in property damage coverage for an accident the policyholder causes.

While every driver must carry auto insurance that meets these minimum requirements, it is vital to remember that a minimum coverage policy may not fully cover the cost of an accident. If the policyholder causes an accident and his or her auto insurance coverage is insufficient for another driver's damages, the policyholder is responsible for the remainder. Additionally, a minimum insurance plan only covers damages to another person's vehicle if the policyholder causes an accident; the policyholder must carry additional coverage options for his or her own damages.

  • Collision coverage can cover the cost of repairing a policyholder's vehicle after an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage can cover non-accident damage, such as damage from natural disasters, theft, or vandalism.
  • Medical payment coverage can help pay for a policyholder's medical expenses following an accident.
  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage helps with damages after an accident with a driver who does not have sufficient auto insurance or any auto insurance at all.

Montana law requires all auto insurance carriers to offer underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage as part of a driver's liability car insurance. However, drivers have the option of declining this offer in writing.

Montana law also requires drivers to carry proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times in the event of an accident or a traffic stop from a police officer. Most insurance carriers offer printed insurance cards as well as digital proof of insurance via a smartphone application. Montana maintains an electronic database of all insured drivers that a police officer may use to confirm a driver's insurance coverage.

How Can an Attorney Help With Montana Driving Concerns?

It is important for every insured driver to understand the elements of his or her auto insurance policy. An attorney can help a client understand the terms of his or her policy and explain the need for additional coverage based on the client's personal level of risk. For example, a driver who works from home and only drives a few miles each week within his or her town will likely need less coverage than a commuter who drives several hours a week. A car accident attorney can also help clarify licensing questions, field correspondence with insurance companies after an accident, and help a client explore additional options for recovery after a car accident.

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