On average, Wisconsin drivers pay 28 percent less for car insurance than the rest of the U.S.
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Drivers in Wisconsin need not only liability coverage, which most states require, but also uninsured motorist coverage, which only 20 states require. Despite the increased minimum coverage, Wisconsin’s 4.3 million drivers pay 28 percent less for car insurance than the national average — only $753 a year on average. Perhaps a contributing factor is the state’s low motor vehicle theft and traffic fatality rates, which are 53 and 25 percent less than the rest of the country, respectively.
Keep reading for all the information you need on car insurance and driving laws in Wisconsin.
Driving on any of Wisconsin’s public roads will require this minimum car insurance coverage:
Bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage make up liability coverage, which pays for other party’s injuries and damages in accidents you caused. Uninsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, pays for your injuries and damages in accidents that someone driving without insurance caused, including hit-and-runs. Not everyone follows the state’s insurance guidelines, whether by not having liability insurance at all or having insufficient coverage limits, and there may be consequences for that.
Sure, Wisconsin has more auto insurance requirements than the average state. However, we prefer liability limits of $500,000 for both injuries and property damages, or as much as you can afford. We also recommend buying collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and medical payments coverage. Here’s a little more about each auto insurance coverage type …
The limit on your collision and comprehensive coverage will be your car’s actual market value (AMV). Both types of coverage have an insurance deductible — which you’ll have to pay before you have a covered auto insurance claim.
The good news is that Wisconsin’s car insurance rates are well below the national average — 28 percent less, to be exact. In 2020, the last time the National Association of Insurance Commissioners released federal data, the average annual cost of car insurance in Wisconsin was only $753. The cost was $407 for liability coverage, and only $245 and $170 for collision and comprehensive coverage, respectively.
Of course, $753 is just an average. Annual rates could fall anywhere from $224 for an older driver with a clean driving history (which is very cheap for car insurance in Wisconsin) to $6,679.20 for high-risk teen drivers. Learn about other factors that affect car insurance costs.
Here are the car insurance companies you can choose from in Wisconsin:
You can make the cheapest car insurance in Wisconsin even cheaper in a few steps:
Before raising your deductible, make sure you could actually afford to pay it tomorrow if you had to; otherwise, your collision or comprehensive coverage won’t apply to your claim.
Wisconsin requires that you carry either digital or physical proof of your insurance, usually an insurance ID card. However, the penalties for not carrying insurance are largely at the discretion of the judge. For any offense, you could be fined a maximum of $5,000, according to the state’s legislature.2
If you’ve attained the state’s minimum coverage, it’s time to start driving. But wait — make sure you know the laws about driving in Wisconsin before you hit the road.
Wisconsin’s at-fault system means the party at fault in an accident is responsible for the other party’s property damage and bodily injury costs. As long as the victim is less than 51 percent responsible for the accident, they can receive compensation due to the state’s modified comparative negligence laws.
As we stated previously, uninsured motorist coverage is a requirement in Wisconsin. But there’s good news for those with multiple cars: The state will let you stack coverage, so multiply your limit with your number of cars to get your new, higher limit. That’ll come in handy if you get into a car accident with any of the state’s estimated 571,454 uninsured drivers (according to the Insurance Research Council).
It’s no secret that driving under the influence (DUI) can be dangerous, but in Wisconsin, it’s also costly. You could lose your driving privileges, pay fines, or go to jail, among other penalties for a DUI conviction.
|Offense||Fine/forfeiture maximum||Confinement sentence||Revocation||Interlock|
|1st||$150-$300||None||6-9 months||1 year|
|2nd within 10 years of 1st offense||$350-$1,100||5 days to 6 months||12-18 months||1 year to 18 months, plus confinement length|
|3rd||$600-$2,000||45 days to 1 year||2-3 years added||1-3 years, plus confinement length|
|4th||$600-$10,000||60 days to 6 years||2-3 years added||1-3 years, plus confinement length|
|5th or 6th||$600-$25,000||1-10 years||2-3 years added||1-3 years, plus confinement length|
|7th, 8th, or 9th||$25,000||3-12.5 years||2-3 years added||1-3 years, plus confinement length|
|10th or above||$50,000||4-14 years||2-3 years added||1-3 years, plus confinement length|
Penalties are even worse if you were driving with someone under the age of 16 or had a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.15 percent.
Everyone 8 years old and above needs to wear seat belts in Wisconsin, no matter what seat they’re in.
While Wisconsin bans texting and driving for all drivers, only young drivers with learner’s permits and intermediate licenses are completely banned from using handheld devices while driving. For everyone else, handheld devices are banned only when they’re driving through highway construction areas. This ban is under primary enforcement, which means that violation alone is enough for the police to pull you over.
Break any of these distracted driving laws and you’ll face four points per violation, with a $20-$40 fine for the first offense and a $50-$100 fine for any subsequent offenses.
All young drivers, or anyone new to driving, will receive a probationary license that expires two years from their next birthday. For example, if you obtained the probationary license on Jan. 15, 2022, and your birthday is April 20, the probationary period would end on April 20, 2024.
Restrictions and laws are different for these probationary drivers:
During the first nine months of their probationary licenses:
To receive compensation from an auto insurer, you should file a claim as soon as you can, but definitely do it within the state’s statutes of limitations: six years for property damage claims and three years for personal injury claims. Beyond these limits, your coverage won’t apply.
An insurance company may cancel your policy midterm if you lied on your application, made a fraudulent claim, had your license revoked or suspended, or didn’t pay your premiums. With cancellations, the company must notify you 10 days before your coverage ends.
However, if the company simply doesn’t want to renew your policy at the end of its term, it must notify you 60 days before the expiration date.3
If you have more than 25 vehicles and at least $110,000 for collateral, you can get a certificate of self-insurance from the secretary of the treasury. This option could work for large companies, organizations, or universities, but it most likely won’t apply to your everyday driver.
You’ll need an emissions test if you keep a car in any of the following counties:
This is when you’ll need an emissions test in those counties:
Bring the following documents with you:
You can find a facility here: https://www.wisconsinvip.org/WivipPublic/Pages/TestFacilities.aspx.
For more information, email the DMV directly: https://trust.dot.state.wi.us/eif/emailInq.do?action=lookUpInquiry.
An SR-22 form proves you have minimum car insurance coverage. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will require it in these circumstances:
You can remove points on your driving record by taking a defensive driving course. In Wisconsin, you could remove three points per course! Find a course here: https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/license-drvs/susp-or-rvkd/traf-safety.aspx.
Want to sue after a car accident? You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to meet any serious injury or monetary threshold for a civil suit in Wisconsin. No matter how small the losses were, you have the right to file a civil suit.
You must report accidents with at least one of the following as quickly as possible:
If you don’t report an accident like this, you could be fined $40 to $200.
Wisconsin doesn’t have laws banning car insurance providers from basing their prices on credit scores or gender, which is bad news for people with bad credit and for men. If you fall into these categories, you’ll probably pay more for car insurance than your counterparts who have good credit or are female. But the good news is you can get a no-credit-check car insurance quote from some companies.
In Wisconsin, the total loss threshold is 70 percent, so if your car’s repairs would cost more than 70 percent of its actual market value, your insurance will reimburse you for the AMV rather than the car’s repairs.
Need to register your car, visit the DMV, get a duplicate car title, or contact the state’s insurance department? Find exactly the information you’re looking for below.
If you’re registering your car in Wisconsin for the first time, you’ll need to provide the following:
You can register your car online, by mail, or in person.
The fee will be $85, with a $75 surcharge for hybrid vehicles and a $100 surcharge for electric vehicles.
You can also renew your registration annually online or by mail.
Annual registration renewals are free.
Surprisingly, given that insurance is a requirement in Wisconsin, you actually don’t need to have a policy before you register your vehicle unless it falls under one of these categories:
There are multiple ways to get in touch with the state’s DMV.
Need a copy of your car title? Here’s how to get it in a few easy steps:
You can contact the state’s insurance department in three ways.
Car repairs impact the cost of car insurance, so it makes sense that Wisconsin’s average car repair costs are lower than most of the country’s. On average, people pay $249.08 for car repairs in Wisconsin, which is 10 percent less than the national average, according to CarMD.
Wisconsin has low rates for both motor vehicle theft and traffic fatalities, which also impact the cost of insurance.
There were only 161 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 Wisconsin inhabitants in 2019, which was 53 percent below the national average, according to FBI data. Rates are higher in a few metropolitan areas, as you can see from the National Insurance Crime Bureau data below.
|Metropolitan statistical area||Number of motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||376|
Wisconsin’s traffic fatality rates are a quarter lower than the national average at only 566 per 100 million miles traveled, according to the 2019 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety data.
Wisconsin is just one of 50 states, all of which have different laws surrounding car insurance and driving. To find out more about your state, read our state-by-state driving guide, or keep reading for answers to more FAQs about auto insurance in the Badger State.
Driving in the Badger State? Read up on its auto insurance laws before taking the road.
Car insurance is $34 per month in Wisconsin, as of the most recent 2020 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This monthly cost is 28 percent lower than the national average.
This is the minimum required auto insurance in Wisconsin:
Personal injury protection is not required in Wisconsin; only bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured motorist coverage are required. But since Wisconsin is an at-fault state, to cover your medical costs in at-fault accidents, you could buy medical coverage rather than PIP. Unlike PIP, medical coverage doesn’t cover lost wages or child care costs that result from an accident.
No, Wisconsin is not a no-fault state for auto insurance. It’s an at-fault state, so the party who’s at fault in an accident is responsible for property damage and bodily injury losses.
Minimum insurance requirements. State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation. https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/license-drvs/rcd-crsh-rpt/Auto-insurance.aspx
Violations. Wisconsin State Legislature. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/344/VI/65
Insurance Terminations, Denials, and Cancellations. Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. https://oci.wi.gov/Documents/Consumers/PI-024.pdf