About Montana Insurance Laws, Auto Insurance and Health Insurance Reform
Montana manages and regulates its own insurance industry. The insurance companies that do business within the state are required to comply with the state’s regulations or risk facing severe penalties from the Montana government. These regulations are meant to ensure that both consumers and insurance companies themselves are protected from foul play. The state meticulously regulates every aspect of the insurance industry to ensure that neither companies nor consumers are being taken advantage of by each other or outside parties.
Montana drivers are required to carry auto insurance coverage for their vehicles. State regulations have established a minimum level of coverage that drivers must maintain. Falling below this minimum level will mean that a vehicle is uninsured. The minimum level of liability coverage drivers must carry accounts for $25,000 per person for bodily injury; $50,000 per accident for bodily injury; and $10,000 for property damage. Montana auto insurance does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for their vehicles.
Minimum Liability Limits for Montana Auto Insurance: $25,000/$50,000 Bodily Injury and $10,000 Property Damage
Like other states, Montana regulates its own property insurance industry, but does not require homeowners to purchase or maintain any level of insurance coverage for their homes. The regulations the Montana Department of Insurance imposes on the property insurance industry are largely for the sake of the various insurance companies that operate in this sector. These regulations ensure that these companies can operate freely while also protecting consumers from malicious activity. Homeowners are encouraged to purchase Montana property insurance so as to protect themselves and their homes from natural disasters. The industry has a wide range of options in terms of coverage that are suited for the equally varied needs of consumers.
The state does not require residents to maintain Montana health insurance coverage. This will change in January 2014 when the Affordable Care Act becomes fully enacted. The health care law includes a provision that requires all American citizens to purchase and maintain health insurance coverage. While this mandate is somewhat controversial, Montana is taking steps to ensure consumers will have access to affordable health insurance policies.
The state is currently investigating the feasibility of a Montana health insurance exchange. In November 2012, Montana requested additional time to investigate whether the state should build its own exchange or not. The Montana Legislature is expected to pick up the issue in 2013, but will have only until 2014 to complete the construction of a working exchange program or risk federal intervention. Though Montana insurance lawmakers show great interest in an exchange program, it is not yet clear whether the state will build its own exchange or if that duty will fall to the federal government.
Montana Insurance Resources:
Montana Department of Insurance Website: http://www.csi.mt.gov/
Montana Insurance Commissioner: Monica J. Lindeen
File a complaint: http://sao.mt.gov/complaint/index.asp
Montana Insurance Agent Resources: http://www.csi.mt.gov/industry/producer_licensing.asp