Montana Department of Justice
Home / Motor Vehicle Division – MVD / Insurance and Verification

Insurance and Verification

Minimum Coverage | MTIVS | Laws | FAQs

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 Montana Code Annotated 61-6-103:

  • $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
  • $10,000 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. Montana Code Annotated 61-6-157 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.

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. In 2013, insurance verification will be 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 will make the roads safer for everyone.

Vehicle Insurance Laws

Laws covering motor vehicle insurance responsibility and verification can be found in the Montana Code Annotated Title 61, chapter 6.

Laws covering certificates of title, registration, and taxation of motor vehicles can be found in the Montana Code Annotated Title 61, chapter 3.

For additional information about Montana auto insurance laws, visit the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance website.

Frequently Asked Questions

I already have car insurance. What will change for me?

Nothing. It could even help you. For example, MTIVS can help verify insurance for a driver who has forgotten to carry the current insurance card in their vehicle.

Can MTIVS verify a commercial insurance policy?

No. MTIVS does not contain information about commercially-insured vehicles. A commercial auto insurance policy is any coverage provided to an insured, regardless of number of vehicles or entities covered, under a commercial, garage, or truckers coverage form and rated using a commercial manual or rating rule (MCA 61-6-102(1)). Typically, the proof of insurance card for a vehicle that is commercially insured will show “fleet” or “commercially insured.”

We are self-insured. How does this work with MTIVS?

MTIVS provides a way to track separately or distinguish motor vehicles that are self-insured if a self-insurer wants to provide vehicle-specific information about their fleet. Otherwise, you may continue to rely on your proof of insurance card showing the “fleet” designation.

Can MTIVS verify an out-of-state insurance policy?

No. MTIVS only receives information from automobile liability insurance companies who are insuring vehicles registered in Montana. However, law enforcement may receive information about an out-of-state insurance policy status through other criminal justice networks, depending on that state’s law and procedures.

I presented an insurance card, but the system says I don’t have insurance or is not able to confirm my policy.

There are multiple causes for this situation.

  •  There will be rare occasions when MTIVS is not accessible due to the computer system being down. The law enforcement officer will exercise discretion, based on the individual circumstances, as to whether a citation is issued.
  • There could be a discrepancy between the vehicle identification number (VIN) listed on your policy and what is listed on your vehicle title. Verify that the numbers match.
  •  The response received from MTIVS supersedes an insurance card produced by a vehicle owner or operator, and notwithstanding the display of an insurance card by the owner or operator, the law enforcement officer may issue a complaint and notice to appear to the owner or operator for a violation of state law.
    •  The exceptions to this are if the vehicle is: covered under a commercial insurance policy; part of a self-insured fleet; or, included in an insurance binder that has not been entered into MTIVS at the time the system is accessed.

What if I get pulled over right after getting insurance on a vehicle I just bought?

Your new insurance company will give you a binder – a temporary card that’s good for a limited period. This will trump the status listed in MTIVS. Depending on how quickly your new insurance company updates its systems, that information may be available via MTIVS in a matter of days.

If my spouse’s vehicle is titled in their name but insured under my policy, will MTIVS verify insurance?

Yes, as long as that car is specifically listed on your insurance policy. MTIVS is a vehicle-based information system so it can only verify insurance if a particular car is associated with a specific auto liability policy.

My vehicle is not being used. Does it still need to be insured?

If the vehicle is registered, it must have minimum liability insurance on it.

What if I haven’t been insuring my vehicle because I can’t afford it?

Montana law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Penalties for not having insurance can be severe. You can’t afford not to have insurance.

What are the fines/penalties for not having insurance?

First offenders:

  • Montana law requires that you carry proof of Montana auto insurance in your vehicle and produce it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Driving without car insurance in Montana is a misdemeanor. The penalty for a no-insurance citation is between $250 and $500 or up to 10 days in jail for a first offense.

Repeat offenders:

  • A second offense will result in a minimum $350 fine or 10 days in jail. Your driver license will be revoked for 90 days. You will also get 5 points on your driving record; a total of 30 points will result in the revocation of your driver license.
  • A third or subsequent conviction is punishable by a fine of $500 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

What is the financial impact of uninsured drivers?

Accidents involving uninsured and underinsured motorists cost drivers and insurance companies millions of dollars every year. Those who insure their vehicles legally essentially pay the cost of the uninsured drivers and the policies they should be carrying. So in states with extremely high rates of uninsured motorists out on the roads, insured drivers pay a huge premium for their compliance with the law.
ago-lsd

Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.

Enter
ago-lsd

Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.

Enter
ago-lsd

Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.

Enter
ago-lsd

Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.

Enter
ago-lsd

Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.

Enter
ago-lsd

Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.

Enter
ago-lsd

Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and lojitsdcal and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.

Enter
ago-lsd

Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.

Enter
ago-lsd

Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.

Enter
ago-lsd

Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department dciof Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.

Enter
ago-lsd

Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.

Enter
ago-lsd

Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.

Enter
ago-lsd

Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.

Enter
ago-lsd

Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.

Enter
ago-lsd

Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.

Enter
ago-lsd

Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.

Enter
ago-lsd

Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.

Enter
ago-lsd

Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.

Enter