On November 1, 2011, motorists in the Badger State will be able legally to carry lower auto liability insurance coverage than they are currently required to carry. Legislation passed in April of 2011 reverted current auto insurance liability minimums to the level of that required in 2009. The new law will go into effect on November 1, 2011.
Current legislation mandates that all Wisconsin drivers have car insurance; however, at present the current liability minimums would return to their former levels of $25,000 bodily injury for one person, $50,000 for multiple victims affected in a car crash and only $10,000 for property damage.
State officials believe that the cost savings with this new law may be significant for some consumers. Officials state that it will give drivers more flexibility in determining how much Wisconsin auto insurance they wish to carry; drivers with fewer assets and therefore less to insure may find their auto insurance premiums will be less expensive.
Wisconsin’s mandatory auto insurance requirements
Currently, Wisconsin law states that you must carry auto insurance coverage in the amounts of $50,000 liability insurance for injury or death of one person and $100,000 for injury or death of two or more persons. You are also required currently to carry a minimum coverage of $15,000 for property damage and uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) of $100,000/$300,000 each.
These are the mandatory auto insurance coverages for any policy purchased or renewed before November 1, 2011. After this date, the required auto insurance minimum coverages will drop for Wisconsin residents.
According to Wisconsin law, all motorists are required as of November 1, 2011 to carry auto liability insurance in the following amounts:
- $25,000 – one person, injury or death
- $50,000 – for two or more persons, injury or death
Mandatory uninsured and underinsured (UMUIM) coverage
It is currently mandatory for Wisconsinites to carry $100,000/$300,000 UM/UIM coverage for bodily injury only. Beginning November 1, 2011 this will drop to new, lower UM/UIM minimums of $25,000 (one person) and $50,000 (multiple persons) each for bodily injury only.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection when you are injured by an at-fault, uninsured driver in an automobile accident. UM/UIM also protects you in the event that a driver flees the scene of a car crash.
A note of caution
While consumers may save on their auto insurance premiums, Wisconsin officials encourage drivers to recognize the fact that the new reduced minimums taking effect on November 1, 2011 will mean reduced coverage, which could end up severely impacting motorists considering the escalating costs of medical expenses and car repairs. So the new minimums may not be adequate to meet the costs of vehicle repair and medical treatment. Discuss your needs with your auto insurance company or agent to ensure that are adequately protected.
Wisconsin auto insurance FAQ
Q: Am I required to show my auto insurance ID if I am stopped by the police?
A: If you are stopped by a law enforcement official or are in an accident in Wisconsin, it is not mandatory to show evidence of insurance coverage.
Q: Am I required to show my auto insurance ID when registering my vehicle in Wisconsin?
A: No, you don’t have to show proof of auto insurance when registering your vehicle or applying for a driver’s license in Wisconsin, unless the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle requests it, as in the case of a license reinstatement.
However, this doesn’t mean you can drive uninsured! You may incur a $10 fine if don’t have your insurance ID with you, whereas it can cost you up to $500 if you are caught driving without Wisconsin auto insurance.
You can be fined upwards of $5,000 if you show an auto insurance card or other proof of insurance that is established as being fraudulent.
Q: Can I exclude any members of my household on my car insurance policy?
A: Wisconsin automobile insurance laws state that you can not exclude any drivers on your policy.
Q: How can I decrease my auto insurance premium?
A: One of the best ways to save on the cost of auto insurance is by keeping a clean driving record. In other words, being a safe driver will save you in more ways than one! Auto insurance companies will often charge significantly higher premiums if you have recent traffic violations and/or chargeable accidents.
States sometimes make mistakes on driving records. Just like you check your credit history to ensure that there are no inaccuracies, make sure that all information on your driving record is current and correct. Ask your auto insurance agent to go through your record with you to confirm that all information is absolutely accurate.
Insurance Information Institute www.iii.org
WI DOT Drivers and Vehicles www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers
Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
125 South Webster Street
Madison, WI 53703
Tel (608) 266-3585, local
Tel 800-236-8517, statewide