Montana’s Minimum Liability Insurance Law for Motor Vehicles
Montana law requires that a motor vehicle operated on public roads be insured by a liability insurance policy that meets the state’s minimum coverage limits in § 61-6-103, MCA:
$25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and subject to the limit for one person;
$50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident; and
$20,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
Under Montana law, motorists stopped for a traffic violation or involvement in a motor vehicle collision are required to show proof of insurance to law enforcement, in addition to displaying their driver license and vehicle registration.
In order to help enforce this law, the Montana Legislature enacted legislation that authorized creation of an online motor vehicle liability insurance verification system. § 61-6-157, MCA directs the Montana Department of Justice to establish a motor vehicle insurance verification system capable of confirming that vehicle owners and operators on Montana roadways are in compliance with vehicle liability policy requirements. The Montana Insurance Verification System (MTIVS) was implemented to fulfill this requirement.
Montana Insurance Verification System (MTIVS)
MTIVS uses information from Montana vehicle registration records and from insurance companies that write policies in Montana to access up-to-the-minute data to confirm if a vehicle has minimum liability insurance coverage.
Individuals can now verify their own insurance status using MTIVS.com. Individuals will need the Vehicle Number found on the Registration Card or on the Registration Renewal Notice, as well as the plate number.
In May 2012, the Montana Highway Patrol began using the MTIVS web service to electronically verify proof of vehicle liability insurance during traffic stops. Use of the web service assists troopers and motorists in situations where drivers either can’t find their proof of insurance card or have an expired card. The web service also gives troopers the ability to confirm the validity of a proof of insurance card based on the response received from the issuing insurance company. Troopers may also use MTIVS to electronically verify that liability insurance was in effect at the time of an accident.
Highway Patrol troopers, like officers from other law enforcement agencies, have the discretion to make enforcement decisions, such as whether to issue a citation or warning, or neither, based on information gathered during a traffic stop or accident investigation. The new MTIVS service does not alter that use of officer discretion – it simply allows troopers to base their decisions on reliable, real-time insurance information.
Insurance verification capabilities were extended to local courts in August 2012, and MTIVS access was expanded to other Montana law enforcement agencies later that summer. This insurance verification system is used by the Motor Vehicle Division and County Treasurers for motor vehicle titling and registration transactions.
The ultimate goal of this system is to reduce the number of drivers in Montana who do not carry liability insurance as required by Montana law. Uninsured drivers are a serious problem, undermining traffic safety and driving up the costs for insured, law-abiding motorists. Real-time insurance verification makes the roads safer for everyone.
Vehicle Insurance Laws
Laws covering motor vehicle insurance responsibility and verification can be found in the § 61-6, MCA.
Laws covering certificates of title, registration, and taxation of motor vehicles can be found in the § 61-3, MCA.
For additional information about Montana auto insurance laws, visit the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance website.