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Montana Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Montana Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Montana is located in the Western region of the United States. The name “Montana” was derived from the Spanish word “montaña” which translates to “mountain.” It is the fourth largest state by area, but has among the lowest population densities in the entire country. The geography of the state consists of many mountain ranges and smaller island type ranges. The mountains are considered part of the Rocky Mountains.

The economy in Montana is focused primarily on agriculture – cereal grain farming and ranching are two common occupations. Other economic influences include: mining, lumber, oil, gas, microbrewing, and tourism. Tourism has become a bigger part of this state because people are drawn to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. This state has been nicknamed by many as “Big Sky Country” and is sometimes referred to as “The Treasure State.”

Montana Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Montana is different from most states in that you are NOT required by law to have insurance for your motorcycle. This means that you can purchase a motorcycle, register it, and cruise through the state without any regard to insurance. However, most people with common sense know that it is still highly recommended to have an insurance policy.

If you get into an accident and are “at-fault,” you will have to pay for damages out of your own pocket. Paying out of your own pocket could end up being very expensive. By getting insurance or setting money aside to protect yourself in the event of an accident you will be protecting yourself financially.

How to Establish Financial Responsibility in Montana

Despite the fact that you are NOT required to insure your motorcycle in the state of Montana, you may want to consider one of the options below to prove financial responsibility. Just because insurance isn’t required for motorcycles doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay for damages that you’ve caused. You are still fully responsible for reimbursing other individuals for any losses if you are “at-fault.”

  • Liability Insurance – Most motorcyclists will still want to get a liability policy for their bikes. If you are in any accident, your insurance company will pick up the costs. These can be purchased from a state-licensed provider.
  • Cash Deposit – You can make a $55,000 cash deposit with the Montana State Treasurer. This will be kept on hold and used towards damages if you got into an accident.
  • Self-Insurance – You can purchase insurance for yourself if you have 25+ vehicles registered under your name. This is primarily an option aimed towards owners of fleets and businesses.
  • Surety Bond – You can get a surety bond for the required amount from a broker licensed to sell these in the state of Montana.

Note: Once again, state residents are not required to carry any insurance for their motorcycles, but it is recommended by experts.

Motorcycles / Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

Many people are confused about the definitions of various 2-wheeled vehicles. Chances are that if you own a motorcycle, you know the basics. However, some people get confused when it comes to motor-driven cycles. If you have any questions, be sure to contact the Montana Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division at the following number: (406)-444-3933.

Motorcycle: Any motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the operator that is designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground. Tractors are excluded from this definition.

Motor-Driven Cycle: A motorcycle with an engine that produces under 5-brake horsepower. Scooters fall under this particular classification.

Scooter: A two wheeled motor vehicle with a foot rest, handlebars, and seat for the driver. The engine is enclosed and the power of Scooters is not as significant as a motorcycle. These do however require registration and proper licensing.

Moped: A two wheeled motor vehicle with pedals capable of human propulsion. In the state of Montana these do NOT need to be registered because they fall under the category of Bicycles.

Montana Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements

Do motorcycles need to be insured in Montana? No.  It should be noted that you are not required by law to purchase any insurance coverage for your motorcycle. However, if you decide to get insurance, below are the required amounts for a bare minimum policy. Most people that get the minimum amount of coverage opt to get liability coverage because it protects them in the event that they injure another person or damage someone’s property.

Liability Insurance:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage per accident

Note: The above amounts of coverage are recommended based on the state’s private passenger vehicle requirements. If you would like to maximize your protection, it may be a good idea to sit down with an insurance agent and discuss your needs and budget.

Montana Laws: Safety & Licensing Requirements

Each state has specific laws that must be followed if you plan on operating your motorcycle. In Montana, it is important to keep in mind whether you need to wear a helmet, use eye-wear, and when you need to use headlights. You also need to be aware that you need proper licensing before operating your motorcycle or other 2-wheeled vehicle.

  • Helmets – All individuals that are under 18 years of age are required to wear helmets. These helmets must be in compliance with FMVSS 218 standards.
  • Eye Protection – It is recommended to wear eye-protection, but it is not required by law.
  • Headlights – All drivers are required to use headlights in the daytime while riding.
  • Licensing – You must obtain a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license to legally operate your bike. To get an official motorcycle license, you can complete a Motorcycle Rider Course and/or official state testing. This will include both a written and road test which must be passed before licensing will be given.

Proof of Insurance in Montana

Since you are not required to have insurance, you are not required to carry proof with you while riding through the state of Montana. However, if you are involved in an accident, it is wise to have insurance on hand. When you get into an accident, if you have proof of insurance, you can simply exchange information with the other driver.

  • Insurance Card – All individuals that purchase insurance will be issued an insurance ID card. This contains policy information as well as date of expiration.
  • Self-Insurance Card – If you went the route of self-insurance for your 25+ vehicles, you will likely be issued a card or certificate that shows proof.
  • Certificate(s) – If you made a cash deposit or have a surety bond, you should receive a certificate with information about it. The certificate will show the amount, the date, and be associated with your name.

Penalty for Lack of Insurance / Financial Responsibility

If you are “at-fault” without insurance, you could face penalty if you do not reimburse others for your damages. If you operate a car without insurance or some sort of financial responsibility, you will be faced with various penalties. Below are penalties for motorists that drive without insurance in Montana.

1st Offense:

  • Fines: You will be fined up to $500, a pretty significant chunk of change.
  • Jail: Certain drivers may end up serving a 10-day jail sentence.

Additional Offenses:

  • 5-Points: Will be added to your current driving record. This could have many implications if you already have points.
  • Suspended License: You could receive a 90 day license suspension.
  • Fines: You will be tacked with another $500 citation for operating your vehicle without insurance.
  • Jail: You may end up having to serve another 10-day jail sentence as penalization.

Note: All of these offenses can be avoided simply by always carrying proof of responsibility (e.g. a valid insurance policy) with you at all times while driving.

Montana Motorcycle Insurance Companies

Even though you may not want insurance for your motorcycle, it is highly recommended that you get coverage. Nobody ever thinks that they will be involved in an accident, but they do happen. If you are in an accident and don’t have sufficient insurance to pay for damage that you inflict upon others, you will be responsible for paying out of your own savings. For individuals interested in getting an insurance policy, it is recommended to use the form below (or at the top of the page) to enter your Zip Code.

From here you will be shown a list of the leading providers in your specific area. All you need to do is take the time to collect quotes from each of the companies and compare them. You can read unbiased company reviews on this website if you need more information before you make a decision. Try to choose the company that offers you quality coverage at an affordable price. Once you have coverage, you will feel much more secure while driving your motorcycle in the Big Sky Country!

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