Does Montana law require uninsured motorist coverage?

It is easy to devalue the protection offered by auto insurance coverage because the hope is that you will never have to use it. Because many do not appreciate its value, they only secure the bare minimum required by state law. If you use this same logic when arranging your coverage, then you may also assume, like many, that your policy includes uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Yet does it?

According to Section 33-23-201 of Montana’s Annotated Code, insurance carriers are required to offer you uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when you first apply. However, you are not required to carry it. The law does require that you reject it in writing, yet consider how much your delve into the fine print of your insurance contract. Unless you were specifically searching for uninsured/underinsured coverage, you could have overlooked it. 

Which brings up the question as to whether you truly need it. Consider that Montana is a tort state when it comes to auto insurance. What that means is in the event of an accident, you are required to file a claim with the insurance company of the driver responsible for your collision. If he or she does not have insurance, then your only other alternative may be to sue him or her. Of course, if he or she does not have the money to afford auto insurance, it is unlikely he or she has the funds to help cover your accident expenses. 

Just how many uninsured or underinsured drivers are out there? More than you may think; in fact, the Insurance Research Council estimates one in eight drivers are uninsured. Therefore, you may find it advantageous to ensure that you secure this additional coverage when enrolling in your policy. This recommendation should not be viewed as legal council, but rather sound financial advice.