Wisconsin Auto Insurance Guidelines and Requirements
Since June 2010, motorists in Wisconsin have been required to have auto insurance. At the time Wisconsin passed the mandatory insurance requirement, 48 other states required car insurance, with New Hampshire remaining as the last state without a car insurance law.
The minimum liability coverage amounts for Wisconsin are:
$10,000 for property damage per accident,incident
$25,000 for the injury or death of one person
$50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person
Proof of Insurance
Wisconsin doesn't require motorists to show proof of insurance to get a license or register a vehicle, unless you're reinstating a license and it becomes a requirement. However, if you get pulled over (or are involved in an accident), and the police officer requests proof of insurance (and you can count on law enforcement asking), you must produce proof of insurance to the police officer. Otherwise, you can be fined $10, even if you do have insurance. So make sure you carry a copy in your glove box, and/or take a picture of it and save it on your phone.
If you get caught driving without insurance, you can receive a fine for up to $500, and if you offer proof of insurance that's later found to be fraudulent, then you're really in a bad spot because you can receive a fine of up to $5,000.
Wisconsin doesn't have no-fault laws. States including Wisconsin's western neighbor Minnesota have what's known as "no-fault" accidents. In a "no-fault" state, each person's own insurance pays for losses that happen in an accident, regardless of who's at fault, but usually, only to a certain limit amount. For example, in Minnesota, you must suffer more than $4,000 (at the time of writing) in reasonable medical expenses and/or 60 days of disability, permanent injury, or permanent disfigurement in order to go after the person who's at fault.
In Wisconsin, it doesn't matter the amount, if you're injured as the result of someone else, you are allowed to recover damages from the party that caused it. It's important to note that just because you're allowed to by state statute, it doesn't mean the party that caused the accident will have the financial means to pay or have insurance coverage. So, your insurance may end up footing the bill regardless.
SR-22 Forms in Order to Receive a License
If you haven't heard of an SR-22 form, that's a good thing. An SR-22 is proof of insurance and it's often required after a mishap with the law. While an SR-22 isn't insurance in itself, it does demonstrate that the person has insurance. It's a means to demonstrate "financial responsibility". In Wisconsin, having insurance isn't the only way to demonstrate financial responsibility. Other ways include posting a bond or other assets in case the motorist is in an accident. The most common reason drivers are required to get a SR-22 in Wisconsin include DWI/OUI, driving without insurance, and suspension of license for too many other types of tickets.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Wisconsin doesn't require drivers to have person injury protection insurance. PIP insurance covers lost wages, medical expenses and sometimes other expenses.
Wisconsin has some of the lowest auto insurance rates in the country. In part because of so many car insurance companies, but also because the laws don't encourage fraud relatively as much as in other states. 1 Reason has contracts with many insurance companies in order to shop for the best deal. It's part of why people ask us to quote their auto insurance, but keep in mind, that premiums are only part of why you select a car insurance company. We believe, the most important criteria is how quickly, professionally, and accurately claims are processed. It really doesn't matter if you saved $100 a year on your auto insurance if you're subjected to 800 number misery and have to explain over and over the same story.
Worse yet, pick the wrong company and have to ask over and over to receive what you have coming because the insurance company isn't living up to its end of the bargain. 1 Reason will only offer insurance quotes from carriers that we believe will handle the claims process in a manner that makes the client glad they purchased insurance from us.
All numbers and statements made about various state's laws are subject to change at any time. Please contact us to find out any changes if any have been made since writing.
Robert Weinstein is a husband, dad, stock market junkie, real estate broker, and of course…Insurance agent. Interests include my family, economics, marketing, technology, real estate, finance/investing, history, and Asia.
Robert’s insurance expertise includes having the designation of Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC) and assist in asset protection for families with members entering retirement.
Robert is also an accomplished syndicated writer whose work can be found in TheStreet, MainStreet, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Seeking Alpha, MSN Money, The Money Show, Stock Saints, Motley Fool, Fidelity, Minyanville, RealMoney Pro, and many national and international newspapers.