Why Is Auto Insurance in Montana So Expensive?

Last Updated on May 16, 2021

Drivers in Montana frequently complain about the price of car insurance. Depending on your location and other factors, some drivers In Montana pay particularly high prices for car insurance.

Why is auto insurance in Montana so expensive? How can you save money on car insurance in Montana? What are the best or cheapest car insurance companies in Montana?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about auto insurance in Montana, including why auto insurance in Montana is so expensive.

Montana is the 12th Most Expensive State in America for Car Insurance

Why is Auto Insurance in Montana So Expensive?It’s not your imagination: car insurance is expensive in Montana. In fact, only 11 states in America have more expensive average car insurance premiums than Montana.

Drivers in Michigan pay the highest rates for car insurance, where it costs approximately $2,900 per year to insure a vehicle. Louisiana ($2,400 per year), Florida ($2,300), and Texas ($2,000) are also notoriously expensive states for car insurance.

In Montana, the average driver pays around $1,700 per year for car insurance, which is significantly higher than the nationwide average of $1,350.

Some blame Montana’s winter weather for its high insurance prices. However, dozens of factors impact car insurance premiums – from state insurance laws to claims rates to demographic data.

Below, we’ll explain some of the factors that raise insurance premiums in Montana – including ways you can save on car insurance anywhere in Montana.

Montana Has the Highest Vehicle Fatality Rate in America

It doesn’t take much research to determine why Montana has some of the highest car insurance premiums in the United States: Montana has a very high vehicle fatality rate.

In fact, Montana has the highest vehicle fatality rate in America in most years. That means there are more fatal accidents per capita in Montana than in any other part of the United States.

Nationwide, there are approximately 10 traffic deaths per 100,000 people. Montana, meanwhile, has approximately 23 traffic deaths per 100,000 people.

Fatal accidents are very expensive for insurance companies. Fatal accidents tend to cause extensive damage to vehicles and other property. They can come with costly medical bills and lifelong rehabilitation costs for any surviving drivers or passengers. A single fatal accident can cause millions of dollars of damage for an insurance company – and insurance companies pass these costs onto drivers in the form of higher premiums.

A number of factors influence Montana’s high traffic fatality rate. Some blame bad weather. Others blame bad drivers or poor driver education. Some blame higher rates of drunk driving or other dangerous driving behavior. There’s no single cause behind Montana’s high traffic fatality rate – but it remains among the highest rates in the nation in most years.

Why Car Insurance is Expensive in Montana

In any state, dozens of factors influence car insurance prices. Some states have poor weather. Other states have high rates of natural disasters. Some states have more urban populations, while others have more rural populations.

Here are some of the other reasons why car insurance is more expensive in Montana:

High Traffic Fatality Rate: As mentioned above, Montana frequently leads the nation in traffic fatalities per capita. Although Montana has a lower population than most states, it has more fatal accidents per capita than virtually any other state in America.

Higher Repair Costs: Repair costs rise every year in Montana, and insurers pass these costs onto policyholders. It may have cost $250 for basic bodywork in Billings ten years ago, but that same bodywork costs $400 today.

Higher Healthcare Costs: Healthcare costs have risen substantially across the United States in recent years, and Montana is no exception. Car insurance companies are often required to pay for medical bills of drivers and passengers, and they pass higher healthcare costs onto policyholders.

Uninsured Drivers: Uninsured drivers raise costs for insurance companies. Thousands of Montanans drive without insurance every year. Statewide, approximately 9 to 11% of drivers in Montana have no insurance. Insurance companies still need to cover the cost of an accident involving an uninsured driver, and they pass this cost onto insured drivers.

Severe Weather: Most parts of Montana experience cold, snowy winters. Certain parts of Montana can experience wildfires, floods, and other disasters. Natural disasters raise costs for insurance companies. If the Missouri River floods in Great Falls, for example, and damages hundreds of vehicles parked close to the river, then local insurance companies may have to pay millions to cover claims. From windstorms to blizzards to floods and wildfires, Montana has plenty of severe weather events that could raise costs for insurers.

Other Factors that Impact Insurance in Montana

Up above, we listed the state factors that impact car insurance premiums in Montana. Montana has severe weather and high traffic fatality rates that raise insurance prices, for example.

However, other personal factors can impact your car insurance premiums in Montana. Insurance companies analyze dozens of personal factors before assigning a policy, including:

Credit Score: Insurance companies in Montana are allowed to use your credit score to calculate premiums. Drivers with a high credit score pay less for car insurance than drivers with a low credit score, all else being equal.

Location: Insurance companies check your ZIP code before assigning premiums. Some ZIP codes have higher crime rates. Other ZIP codes have a higher risk of natural disasters or traffic fatalities. In most states, drivers in urban areas (like big cities) pay higher premiums than drivers in rural areas (like small towns). Generally, this holds true in Montana, with drivers in Helena, Bozeman, Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, and other Montana cities paying higher rates for car insurance than drivers in smaller towns.

Driver History: Insurance companies in Montana check your driving history before assigning premiums. In fact, driving history makes up most of your insurance premiums. A driver with multiple DUIs and at-fault accidents will pay more for car insurance than a driver with a clean record.

Driving Habits: Do you commute 100 miles daily? Or do you work from home? Your driving habits impact insurance rates. Someone who drives 15,000 miles per year in Montana will pay more for car insurance than someone who drives fewer than 5,000 miles per year.

Age and Gender: Insurance companies consider age and gender when calculating insurance premiums. A young, male driver is riskier to insure than an older, female driver. Based on your demographics and statistics, you may pay more or less for car insurance.

Best Car Insurance Companies in Montana

Some of the best-rated car insurance companies for drivers in Montana include:

Compare quotes from multiple car insurance companies in Montana to ensure you pay the best rates. Some insurance companies prefer insuring drivers in Whitefish but charge higher prices to drivers in eastern Montana, for example. Other insurance companies specialize in insuring rural drivers but charge higher prices to drivers in cities.

By comparing as many quotes as possible in Montana, you can find the cheapest possible insurance premiums.

Final Word on Montana’s High Insurance Rates

You may live in Montana, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay costly rates for car insurance.

Yes, Montana has high accident fatality rates, more severe weather, and other factors that raise insurance premiums. However, by comparing quotes from multiple providers, you can pay the lowest possible rates for car insurance in Montana.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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