What Are My Rights as a Montana Auto Insurance Consumer?
Although all states have laws in place to protect consumers, each is different when it comes to auto insurance. This is because each state has different financial responsibility requirements that drivers must meet. But motorists should be aware of their rights pertaining automobile coverage to help ensure they obtain the best premiums for adequate protection and to avoid potential policy lapses and cancellations. Such rights include the right to be informed of the reason why a company is refusing, canceling, or non-renewing a policy, the right to mandatory discounts, and the right to purchase coverage.
If a carrier refuses to issue a policy, Montana state law requires the company to give the applicant a reason why, but the driver must ask. This could be helpful since the refusal to insure the potential policyholder could be due to incorrect information. If this is the case, a consumer has the right to correct the information, which could result in the issuance of coverage and being able to avoid paying a higher premium elsewhere.
Consumers who have had their Montana auto insurance coverage in effect for more than 60 days can have policies canceled only for certain reasons that include the following:
- Failure to pay premium
- Revocation or suspension of an insured's driver's license
- Material misrepresentation of information requested by the insurer
- Substantial increase in risk
- Financial impairment of the insurer
If a carrier intends to cancel or non-renew a customer's policy, it must give the policyholder a written notice stating the reason for the termination and the date the coverage will end. This notice must also inform the consumer that he or she has the legal right to appeal the cancellation or non-renewal, and that the motorist is able to obtain coverage through the Montana Automobile Insurance Plan.
Additionally, MT car insurance laws prohibit carriers from surcharging a private passenger automobile policy for claims submitted that were not the fault of the insured. Submitting a claim cannot cause the policyholder to be surcharged if the accident was caused by another party.
Mature motorists also have the right to a mandatory discount. State law requires insurers to reduce premiums for motorists who are 55 years old and older if they complete a highway traffic safety program approved by the Department of Transportation.
The state makes protecting consumers a priority, but policyholders should address with their providers any issues they may feel are unfair and may be in violation of their rights. If the issue cannot be resolved, a motorist can file a formal complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, but this should be done only as a last resort. Most companies will want to resolve issues before having complaints filed against them.