Auto Insurance

There are four problems with Montana’s mandatory auto insurance law.

(1) The roads where insurance is required is confusing. 61-6-301, paragraph one, says “any owner of a motor vehicle that is registered and operated in Montana… shall continuously provide insurance.” That would include the roads on private land and public land in Montana.

Paragraph (4) disputes that and says “It is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle upon the ways of this state open to the public…” Which is it, is insurance required only on public roads, or anywhere that it is operated in Montana (public and private roads?). If Montana has a possible six month in jail penalty, they should at least fix the contradiction as to which roads are required to have insurance.

(2)In 61-6-304 (the penalty section), second convictions for no insurance have their plates suspended until proof of compliance after a 90 day suspension period. Some people seem to think proof of compliance means proof of insurance, it does not. Exempt motor vehicles do not need insurance (parked motor vehicles on private land), and if a second conviction has his vehicle in the exempt status (parked on private land), how is he to provide the county treasurer with proof of compliance on his exempt vehicle? I guess he could walk with the county treasurer to his place, and show the county treasurer his vehicle is parked on private land, thereby exempt from the mandatory auto insurance law and he would then get his plates back without insurance due to this silly requirement that he show proof of compliance on an exempt vehicle.

Any vehicle used on the highway only for the purpose of crossing the highway from one property to another is also exempt. Does he walk the county treasurer out to his property and have him/her watch him drive the vehicle across the highway? Would this constitute proof of compliance?

Montana motor vehicles operated out-of-state are also exempt from Montana law. How does one show proof of compliance on these exempt vehicles?

I would imagine all county treasurers would be requiring insurance on all vehicles to get their plates back from second convictions and would be requiring insurance on exempt vehicles parked on private land, which would to me, be grounds for misconduct.

(3) This problem involves exemption nr nine and concerns nonresident motor vehicles. Idaho motor vehicles traveling the public roads of Montana would be exempt if their vehicles are registered and they are in compliance with Idaho insurance law.. Does Idaho require Idaho motor vehicles to carry insurance in Montana. NO! Since Idaho does not require Idaho motor vehicles to carry insurance on Montana public roads, Idaho motor vehicles are in compliance with Idaho law if they are driving in Montana without insurance, and are therefore exempt from Montana law, also. I assume all the convictions of nonresidents for driving without insurance are invalid and the law officers citing such nonresidents would also be breaking the law..

(4) These mandatory auto insurance laws are increasing the nrs on food stamps and since this is an increase in expenses to the Montana DPHHS, this is required to be included in the fiscal note of the mandatory auto insurance law. Go to Also go to and locate the poll where a resident of Billings says that mandatory auto insurance was the main reason for going on food stamps. (Click on the forums and polls and you may have to check the second page.)

Hopefully, someone will get these mistakes corrected.