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Best Cheap Car Insurance in Montana for 2020

Jan. 2, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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Finding the cheapest Montana car insurance can be challenging. Insurance costs vary depending on age, gender, ZIP code and other factors.

To help make sense of the madness and simplify your shopping, NerdWallet researched rates from nine large car insurance companies in the state to find the five cheapest options for several driver types.

Cheapest for good drivers in Montana

Here are the cheapest insurance companies we found in Montana for drivers with good credit and clean driving histories, ranked by lowest average rate for full coverage policies:

  1. Safeco: $582 per year.
  2. Farmers Union: $1,075 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,152 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $1,538 per year.
  5. Geico: $1,562 per year.
Drivers with no recent accidents or violations can get cheaper car insurance rates for having good credit. For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. In terms of driving and credit history, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including comprehensive and collision, along with state-required coverage. Prices shown include a good driver discount, when available from the insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage in Montana

For Montana drivers seeking the lowest coverage limits, here are the cheapest options we found for good drivers with good credit, ranked by lowest average rate for minimum required car insurance:

  1. Safeco: $174 per year.
  2. Geico: $336 per year.
  3. Farmers Union: $342 per year.
  4. State Farm: $347 per year.
  5. Progressive: $528 per year.
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers (earning them a discount if the insurer offers one) who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more. If you're looking for the cheapest possible insurance you can get, though, you'll still want to get car insurance quotes from at least three auto insurers.

Cheapest for good drivers with poor credit

For good drivers with spotty credit, here are the cheapest insurance companies and average rates for full coverage policies in Montana:

  1. Safeco: $582 per year.
  2. Farmers Union: $1,853 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,872 per year.
  4. State Farm: $2,292 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $2,427 per year.
If you have a spotty credit history, it's important to shop around to find the cheapest auto insurance rates you can. Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent at-fault crash, but prices vary by insurer. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record and associated good driver discount, if the insurer offered one. They had poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" car insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

For Montana drivers with a recent at-fault accident on their records, here are the cheapest insurers and average rates for full coverage:

  1. Safeco: $1,103 per year.
  2. State Farm: $1,434 per year.
  3. Farmers Union: $1,768 per year.
  4. Geico: $2,154 per year.
  5. Allstate: $2,474 per year.
After a relatively minor crash, some auto insurers will charge a lot more than others for coverage. To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and one recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation — and you still may be rejected for coverage from certain companies, including those above. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest insurance after a DUI in Montana

After a DUI, here are the cheapest auto insurance companies we found in Montana, ranked by lowest average rate for full coverage policies:

  1. Safeco: $1,103 per year.
  2. State Farm: $1,613 per year.
  3. Farmers Union: $1,926 per year.
  4. Progressive: $2,300 per year.
  5. Allstate: $2,415 per year.
A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, generally results in higher auto insurance premiums than before. NerdWallet analyzed rates for 40-year-old drivers and standard “full coverage” car insurance with a recent DUI conviction to see which companies were cheapest. Be warned that you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. Rates can vary by hundreds between carriers after a DUI, and some penalize for longer than others, so it’s important to shop around for the best available price right after you see a price hike and each year after that.

Cheapest insurance after a ticket in Montana

Montana drivers with a recent speeding ticket may want to get quotes from these insurance companies, which showed the lowest average rates:

  1. Safeco: $849 per year.
  2. State Farm: $1,329 per year.
  3. Farmers Union: $1,506 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,709 per year.
  5. Allstate: $1,960 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket will result in higher car insurance rates from most companies for three to five years. To see who has the cheapest rates, we calculated average car insurance rates for 40-year-old drivers with “full coverage” insurance and a recent ticket for speeding 16 mph over the limit. Though these larger companies were the cheapest we found on average, others may be cheaper for you, so be sure to get at least three quotes before deciding on a carrier.

Cheapest for couples and families in Montana

Combining auto policies usually results in savings, but each company applies discounts to new rates differently. For this reason, it’s important to shop around for auto insurance quotes each time something big happens that could impact your policy. Examples include marriage, divorce, a big move or a new teen driver in your household.

Cheapest for a married couple in Montana

For a 50-year-old wife and husband, here are the cheapest car insurance companies and their average rates for full coverage on two vehicles:

  1. Safeco: $919 per year.
  2. State Farm: $1,758 per year.
  3. Farmers Union: $1,913 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $1,918 per year.
  5. Progressive: $2,130 per year.
Couples who live together can save on auto insurance by combining policies, whether they are married or not, because they can earn multi-car and multi-driver discounts. Once they tie the knot, rates can dip further, but not because of discounts — insurers see married people as less risky and so charge them lower rates. Our hypothetical 50-year-old couple’s clean driving record also earns them both a good driver discount.

Cheapest for families with a teen in Montana

For a 50-year-old married couple with an 18-year-old driver on their policy, here are the cheapest companies and their average rates for full coverage on two vehicles:

  1. Safeco: $1,495 per year.
  2. Farmers Union: $2,705 per year.
  3. State Farm: $2,838 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $3,317 per year.
  5. Geico: $3,723 per year.
Adding a teen with two years’ driving experience to a married couple's policy is sure to cause a big jump in rates. Since different insurers tend to see a teen’s inexperience in different ways, we analyzed rates to see which companies had the cheapest car insurance for teens. These rates are averaged for 50-year-old couples with male and female 18-year-old drivers.

Cheapest for young drivers in Montana

Many young drivers have already learned how hard it can be to get cheap car insurance without as much experience on the roads as older drivers. However, with a little due diligence shopping around for insurance quotes, drivers in their 20s can improve their odds of getting a good price.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

For young drivers with clean driving and credit histories, here are the cheapest auto insurers in Montana, ranked by lowest average rate:

  1. Safeco: $727 per year.
  2. Farmers Union: $1,231 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,252 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $1,655 per year.
  5. Geico: $1,749 per year.
Drivers in their 20s can have a hard time finding cheap car insurance, and that's even truer when they need full coverage. The rates above are averages for 25-year-old male and female drivers with comprehensive and collision coverages, which are often required for drivers with active auto loans or leases. These rates reflect a good driver discount. Young drivers, like all drivers, should check several quotes to find the cheapest for the coverage levels they need.

Cheapest minimum coverage for young good drivers

Here are the cheapest car insurance companies and their average rates for young drivers with good credit and no violations for minimum required coverage in Montana:

  1. Safeco: $235 per year.
  2. Farmers Union: $354 per year.
  3. Geico: $364 per year.
  4. State Farm: $378 per year.
  5. Progressive: $588 per year.
Since young people often have fewer assets to protect with liability insurance, they can usually get away with lower coverage limits. For an age group with relatively high insurance rates on average, that's good news, keeping rates as low as possible. For this price set, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers who have clean driving records, good credit and bare-bones insurance coverage.

Poor credit and minimum coverage

For young drivers with spotty credit, here are the cheapest insurers and their average rates for minimum coverage limits in Montana:

  1. Safeco: $235 per year.
  2. Geico: $417 per year.
  3. Farmers Union: $616 per year.
  4. State Farm: $744 per year.
  5. Progressive: $928 per year.
Poor credit is common for younger folks just starting out, who may still be building their credit files. That can increase rates further, so it's extra important to shop around and compare as many insurance quotes as possible to find the cheapest you can get. For these prices, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with no recent accidents or violations (earning them a good driver discount), minimum coverage car insurance, and credit in the "poor" tier as reported to an insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a crash

Here are companies providing the lowest average rates in Montana for young drivers with a recent at-fault accident on their records seeking minimum required auto insurance:

  1. Geico: $480 per year.
  2. State Farm: $488 per year.
  3. Safeco: $498 per year.
  4. Farmers Union: $586 per year.
  5. Progressive: $911 per year.
To get prices for this group, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with good credit and a recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Since car insurance is often pricier after a crash, and especially so for young drivers, we assumed minimum required insurance in the state to contain costs for our hypothetical driver. Depending on your situation, you may still be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. If you've caused a crash, no matter your age, be sure to check auto insurance quotes just after the third and fifth anniversaries of your incident, when insurers often adjust rates downward.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a DUI

Young drivers with a recent DUI may have luck getting cheap insurance from these companies, which had the lowest average rates for minimum coverage for this group in Montana:

  1. Safeco: $498 per year.
  2. State Farm: $571 per year.
  3. Geico: $633 per year.
  4. Farmers Union: $642 per year.
  5. Progressive: $772 per year.
Young drivers with a recent DUI on their records will need to be diligent to find the lowest car insurance rates they can get — it's likely that many companies' rates will be quite expensive. Depending on the circumstances, you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. But spending the time to shop around for quotes can help you find the lowest price from a company available to you. For this analysis, we averaged rates for male and female 25-year-old drivers with a recent DUI conviction. They had good credit and minimum required car insurance, which helps keep rates down.

Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

For young drivers with a recent speeding ticket, here are the cheapest auto insurance companies and average rates for Montana’s minimum required coverage limits:

  1. Safeco: $347 per year.
  2. Geico: $398 per year.
  3. State Farm: $441 per year.
  4. Farmers Union: $478 per year.
  5. Progressive: $735 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket is never fun, and neither is the higher car insurance bill you may receive months later. At that point, it's time to shop around for better rates, and it wouldn't hurt to repeat on your third and fifth ticket anniversaries, when insurers may adjust rates downward. We analyzed rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent speeding violation for going 16 mph over the speed limit to see prices for this group.

Cheap for military families

If you’re an active member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — chances are good you’ll get a cheaper-than-average rate with USAA, an option that isn’t available to the general public. For that reason, we don’t rank it within the categories above, but USAA is among the three cheapest auto insurance options in Montana for each of these driver types.

» MORE: Best car insurance for veterans and military

Recap: Cheapest car insurance in Montana

  • Good drivers: Safeco.
  • Minimum coverage: Safeco.
  • Poor credit: Safeco.
  • After an at-fault crash: Safeco.
  • After a DUI: Safeco.
  • After a speeding ticket: Safeco.
  • Married couples: Safeco.
  • Families with a teen: Safeco.
  • Young good drivers: Safeco.
  • Minimum coverage for young good drivers: Safeco.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers with poor credit: Safeco.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a crash: Geico.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a DUI: Safeco.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a ticket: Safeco.

» MORE: Compare car insurance

Minimum required auto insurance in Montana

Montana drivers are required to carry liability insurance, which helps cover others’ injury costs or property damage if you’re at fault in an accident.

The minimum limits are:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident.

While this will allow you to drive legally, experts suggest getting more than the bare minimum to be better protected in Big Sky Country. For instance, a single at-fault accident could easily leave you owing more than $20,000 in repairs, and you’d be stuck paying the difference out of pocket.

You may also want to consider common optional coverages such as comprehensive coverage, which helps replace your car if it’s stolen, or uninsured motorist protection, which helps cover your medical treatment if you’re hit by a driver who lacks insurance.

Check out NerdWallet’s guide to state car insurance requirements for more details on the required and optional parts of your Montana auto policy.

Alternative car insurance in Montana

Drivers who try and fail to buy car insurance through the open market could qualify for coverage through the Montana Automobile Insurance Plan.

For personalized auto insurance quotes, use NerdWallet’s anonymous car insurance comparison tool to view estimates from top insurers side-by-side and possibly save hundreds.

Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in all ZIP codes with 12,000 annual miles driven. The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
If required, minimum additional coverages were added and "good driver" discounts were automatically applied. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.
  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.
Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across all ZIP codes with the same policy outlined above. To see rates for families with a teen, we added an 18-year-old licensed two years ago, averaging rates for male and female teens. For couples and families we added a 2016 Nissan Rogue S to create a two-car household.

In all cases, a paperless discount, e-signature discount and electronic funds transfer discount were automatically applied. These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.