We derive effective lattice models for ultracold bosonic or fermionic nonreactive molecules (NRMs) in an optical lattice, analogous to the Hubbard model that describes ultracold atoms in a lattice. In stark contrast to the Hubbard model, which is commonly assumed to accurately describe NRMs, we find that the single on-site interaction parameter $U$ is replaced by a multi-channel interaction, whose properties we elucidate. The complex, multi-channel collisional physics is unrelated to dipolar interactions, and so occurs even in the absence of an electric field or for homonuclear molecules. We find a crossover between coherent few-channel models and fully incoherent single-channel models as the lattice depth is increased. We show that the effective model parameters can be determined in lattice modulation experiments, which consequently measure molecular collision dynamics with a vastly sharper energy resolution than experiments in an ultracold gas.