Car insurance quotes for Wisconsin should provide you with the following insurance coverage or financial responsibility at a minimum in order to meet the required state limits:
25/50/10 – This is shorthand for the liability policy limits required which means you need a minimum coverage of:
- $25,000 for death or injury to one person;
- $50,000 for death or injury to two or more people; and
- $10,000 for property damage to others
Important note: For private passenger automobile policies issued or renewed prior to November 1, 2011, the mandatory minimum coverage was 50/100/15.
Additionally, drivers are also required to buy uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverages of $100,000/$300,000 each for bodily injury only (Respectively $25,000/$50,000 for policies issued or renewed after 2011/09).
For infrequent visits to other states: Nearly all car insurance policies have a provision that will adjust your coverage from the minimums required in your state to the minimum insurance or proof of financial responsibility in another U.S. state. Means: you do not need to get a new insurance policy for each state you are driving through.
If you are commuting: you likely need to to adjust your coverage in order to meet the requirements of all relevant states. Note that travel, occasional visits or shopping trips are usually not considered commuting. Ask your agent when in doubt.
Also, if you buy for any reason a policy in a low limits state (like Wisconsin or West Virginia) but live in a high limits state (like Alaska or Maine), insurers will only write a policy where your car is principally garaged. So if your home is in Alaska, you should buy the minimum limits for Alaska.
As for all states in the US, Wisconsin’s newly reduced required insurance limits are low, but so were also the older, higher coverage limits when compared to the cost of repair and damages likely to occur in an accident. If you are in a serious collision and the damages you caused are greater than the coverage limits you purchased, you may be personally liable to pay for those damages that exceed your insurance coverage. Buying additional coverage offers not only greater financial protection in the case of an accident, but is also quite cheap in most cases.
Wisconsin Car Insurance Laws and Regulations
Wisconsin is a modified comparative fault state with a 51% rule. This is a legal defense that means that a plaintiff can recover for an injury, reducing the amount that the plaintiff can recover based on the percentage of which the plaintiff is at fault if it is determined that his or her fault in causing the injury is less than 51%. If the plaintiff’s fault level reaches 51% or more, he or she cannot recover any damages resulting from the accident.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
In Wisconsin, a first time offense of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) may treated as a misdemeanor offense. If you are 21 years or older, if you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08% or higher while driving, Wisconsin law presumes you are driving while intoxicated. If you are under 21, a lower BAC may apply to you.
If convicted, there is no mandatory period of incarceration. However, aggravating factors such as BAC of .15% and over and driving with a minor (16 or younger) while OWI will influence whether you will have to go to jail and for how long. A court fine of at least $300 and up to $500 may be imposed. You will also be responsible for other court fees. Your license will be suspended for 6 months, but you may be eligible for a hardship license. An ignition interlock device may required if you are permitted to have a restricted license and will be required for 1st time offenders with aggravating factors. An alcohol assessment is mandatory. SR-22 or FR-44 forms (read more) are required for OWIs in Wisconsin.
If convicted, you may be sentenced for a mandatory minimum of 5 days to 6 months in jail. Fines may be imposed of at least $350 and up to $1,100. In addition, you will also be charged a surcharge of $350. Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 1 year up to 18 months. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device if you are permitted a restricted license. SR-22 or FR-44 forms are required for OWIs in Wisconsin.
Top Ten Car Insurance Companies in Wisconsin
These are the top ten auto insurance companies as rated by 2010 market share in the state (check here for more information on ratings):
- American Family Mutual Ins Co
- State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins Co
- Artisan & Truckers Casualty Co
- Progressive Universal Ins Co
- Acuity A Mutual Ins Co
- West Bend Mutual Ins Co
- Allstate Property & Casualty Ins Co
- American Standard Ins Co Of Wisconsin
- Progressive Classic Ins Co
- Farmers Insurance Exchange