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Montana's new car insurance database

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CarInsurance.com

MontanaAs of Jan. 1, 2013, Montana drivers must prove they carry the required auto liability insurance before they can register their cars with the state. A new online database offers law enforcement a way to verify coverage during traffic stops as well.

Montana drivers have been required to carry liability insurance for decades, but the dated system allowed a driver to buy a policy, get an insurance card to show police, register a vehicle and then cancel the policy. Now insurers will supply real-time information linked to a car’s 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number.

The penalty for a no-insurance ticket is $250 to $500, plus up to 10 days in jail, for a first offense. A no-insurance ticket will also send your rates skyrocketing when you do buy insurance.

Montana requires drivers to carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for each person they insure, up to $50,000 per accident, and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.

Most drivers buy comprehensive and collision protection in addition to liability, and location greatly affects rates for those coverages. You can see how rates stack up for every Montana ZIP code with our Nosy Neighbor tool.

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