A look at the car insurance requirements and driving laws in the state
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Wyoming is the least populated state with the fewest number of licensed drivers (about 424,115 as of 2019). Car insurance is a legal requirement in Wyoming, but as you might imagine, the average premium is pretty cheap compared to most other states. The average cost of car insurance in Wyoming is 26 percent lower than the national average.
Like all states, Wyoming has its own car insurance requirements and driving laws. Whether or not you are new to driving in Wyoming, understanding these rules is beneficial. In this guide, we’ll explain some of the most important things you should know before you get behind the wheel.
If you own a registered vehicle in Wyoming, you need to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance to drive legally. The minimum coverage limits are represented as 25/50/201, which includes the following:
In Wyoming, you need only a minimum coverage policy to drive. However, we recommend raising your coverage limits, as there’s no guarantee that a minimum coverage policy will cover the entire cost of an at-fault crash. Having $500,000 in bodily injury coverage and $500,000 in property damage coverage will provide significantly more protection. (If you want more coverage than that, an umbrella policy might be your best option.)
In addition to liability insurance, there are also several optional car insurance coverages that you might find beneficial. Here are a few suggestions that fall under full coverage car insurance:
Comprehensive insurance pays for your vehicle’s repairs stemming from incidents besides accidents. For example, comprehensive insurance covers events like theft, vandalism, fires, floods, falling objects, and weather-related vehicle damage. Most standard policies reimburse you based on your car’s actual cash value (ACV), which is the car’s fair market value before the damage occurred. However, you can often upgrade to a replacement cost value (RCV) policy, which provides a bigger payout because it doesn’t factor in the depreciation of your vehicle.
Collision insurance pays for your vehicle’s damages following an accident that you cause. It also covers rollovers and collisions with stationary objects. Most drivers purchase collision and comprehensive insurance together by getting a full coverage insurance policy. Like comprehensive insurance, most collision insurance policies provide a payout based on the ACV of your car, but many insurance companies offer RCV policies if you don’t mind paying a higher premium.
If you want physical damage coverage for your car, you will need collision and/or comprehensive insurance. Remember, the property damage portion of your liability insurance policy pays only for damage to the other driver’s vehicle when you cause an accident.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance applies when you get into an accident with a driver who is uninsured or does not have enough coverage to pay for your losses in their entirety. Although Wyoming has a small number of uninsured drivers, this policy can give you peace of mind and more financial protection in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver. We recommend getting uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance with coverage limits of $500,000.
Medical payments insurance comes with a full coverage policy. This type of insurance will pay for your and your passenger’s medical bills if you get into an accident, regardless of who caused the crash. At least $5,000 in coverage is ideal, but you may need more if you only have a low-coverage health insurance plan.
Car insurance premiums in Wyoming are very inexpensive compared to many other states. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) found that Wyoming drivers spend an average of $770 per year on car insurance. That’s 26 percent less than the average spend in the United States.2
However, the cost of car insurance depends on a number of personal factors, like your age, gender, ZIP code, driving record, credit score, and a few others. Car insurance is more expensive for young drivers, for example. In addition, the insurance company you choose can impact your rate. We got rate quotes from a few Wyoming car insurance companies and found premiums as low as $514 and as high as $1,028.
Adjust your coverage limits. One of the easiest ways to save money on car insurance is to adjust your coverage limits. For example, if your car is older and has high mileage, you may not need collision or comprehensive insurance anymore. Dropping these coverages will lower your monthly rate.
In Wyoming, you need to carry proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over, they may ask to see your proof of insurance to verify that you carry the required amount of liability coverage. Failure to carry proof of car insurance in Wyoming comes with the following consequences3:
|First offense||$250-$750||3 years||6 months (maximum)||No|
|Second offense||$500-$1,500||3 years||6 months (maximum)||Yes, until you provide proof of insurance|
You have the option to carry a physical insurance ID card or an electronic version. Most large insurance companies offer digital ID cards that you can access on a mobile app or download through an online customer portal. Both forms of proof of insurance are acceptable in Wyoming.
Wyoming is a fault state. If another driver hits you, their insurance company will cover your injuries and vehicle repairs. If you cause an accident, your insurance company will pay for the other driver’s losses.
Wyoming uses modified comparative negligence laws to assign fault in the event of an accident. Here’s how it works: Say you are in a collision, sustain a few moderate injuries, and decide to sue the other driver. If you are 50 percent or more responsible for the crash, you aren’t entitled to money, because you were at least as negligent as the other person involved.
You aren’t required to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance in Wyoming. But as mentioned earlier, it can be valuable. Roughly 6 percent of drivers in Wyoming are uninsured, which can put you at risk4. When an uninsured driver hits you, it can be harder to receive compensation for your losses.
If you choose to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, and you have more than one car insured on your policy, you’re allowed to stack your coverage. With stacking, your policy limit is multiplied by the number of cars on your policy. So, if you have two cars with coverage limits of $100,000/$200,000 each, your policy limit would automatically increase to $200,000/$400,000.
The consequences for a DUI in Wyoming are similar to those in many other states. Regardless of the number of offenses you’ve committed, a DUI will stay on your driving record for 10 years. Besides a significantly higher car insurance premium, here are some of the other consequences of getting convicted of a DUI in Wyoming:
|Penalties for a DUI conviction in Wyoming||Fine||License suspension||Imprisonment||Ignition interlock device|
|First offense||$750||90 days||6 months (maximum)||6 months (if BAC is 0.15 or higher)|
|Second offense||$750 or more||1 year||6 months (maximum)||1 year|
You’re required to wear a seat belt while driving or riding as a passenger in Wyoming, but it’s a secondary law. That means law enforcement cannot give you a ticket for failure to wear a seat belt unless you are breaking another law, like speeding or driving recklessly. The only exception is for passengers younger than 9. You can get a ticket if there are children in your car who are younger than 9 and not wearing a seat belt.
In Wyoming, texting and driving is illegal, no matter how old you are. If you get caught texting and driving, you will be fined $75. There is no statewide law that bans talking on the phone while driving, but some cities have their own laws against it.
When you turn 15, you are allowed to get a learner’s permit in Wyoming. However, there are a few restrictions:
During the learning period, you are required to complete an approved driver’s education program. In addition, you must show proof that you completed 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving time before you can take the on-road license test.
When you turn 16, have had a learner’s permit for at least 10 days, and have completed 50 hours of on-road training, you can apply for an intermediate license. However, keep in mind that the restrictions for a learner’s permit and an intermediate license are the same.
The statute of limitations for claims in Wyoming is four years for personal injury and property damage. If you decide to sue another driver after the statute of limitations has ended, their insurance company is not required to give you any money.
You’re allowed to cancel your car insurance policy at any time, but so is your insurance company. For example, if you stop paying your monthly premium or your license gets suspended, your insurance company might decide to terminate your coverage. In Wyoming, insurance companies must notify you within 45 days prior to the cancellation date, or within 10 days in the case of a non-payment cancellation.
Similarly, both you and your insurance company can decide not to renew your coverage when the policy period ends. This can happen for a few reasons. For instance, maybe your insurance company decides to stop selling coverage in your area, or you get a DUI and they no longer want to insure you. In the case of non-renewal, Wyoming insurance companies must notify you within 45 days of the effective date.
If you own more than 25 vehicles, you’re allowed to self-insure in Wyoming. Rather than getting a car insurance policy for all 25 cars, you can put up a $200,000 bond, plus $100 for each vehicle you own over 25.
Vehicles in Wyoming aren’t required to pass emissions or safety inspections. But if you want to register an out-of-state vehicle in Wyoming, you need to get a VIN inspection from a law enforcement officer in your local jurisdiction to complete the registration process.
If you are convicted of a DUI in Wyoming, you will need to have an SR-22 for three years from the date of conviction. An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that verifies you carry the minimum amount of insurance that is required in Wyoming. You can expect to pay a much higher car insurance premium when you have an SR-22 on your record.
Defensive driving courses are required in Wyoming occasionally. For example, if you receive a seat belt-related citation and fail to pay the fine, you may be required to complete a state-approved defensive driving program. These courses are held online or in person, and depending on your insurance company, you might also be able to earn a discount on your premium.
If you get into an accident in Wyoming that results in a fatality or more than $1,000 in bodily injuries or property damage, you are legally required to report it to the police immediately. Failure to report a collision that meets these criteria will result in a $200 fine.
In a handful of states, it’s illegal for car insurance companies to discriminate against drivers based on credit score and gender when calculating car insurance premiums. However, Wyoming does not have any laws against price discrimination based on these factors.
When you apply for a car insurance policy in Wyoming, the insurance company is allowed to factor your credit score and your gender into your premium. Therefore, if you have a poor credit score, it will likely affect the cost of your insurance. In addition, men typically pay higher car insurance rates than women in Wyoming due to their increased risk of claims and reckless driving.
If your car gets damaged in an accident, your insurance company will decide if it meets the total loss guidelines. In Wyoming, the total loss threshold is 75 percent, which means that if the estimated cost of repairs exceeds 75 percent of your car’s ACV, it’s considered a total loss and is not worth repairing. If you have collision or comprehensive insurance, your insurance company will pay you the ACV of your car.
If your car needs to be repaired after an accident or other covered claim, the cost depends on lots of factors, like the type of car you have and which parts need to be replaced. However, your state can also affect the cost. In Wyoming, the average cost of car repairs is $383.21, which is only a few cents cheaper than the national average.
Wyoming has very few vehicle thefts. According to a 2020 report from the FBI, the vehicle theft rate in Wyoming was 166 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants. That’s nearly 50 percent lower than the national average7.
However, car thefts occur more frequently in big cities. In the capital city of Cheyenne, the vehicle theft rate is 237 per 100,000 inhabitants. The theft rate in Casper is 192 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants8.
If your car doesn’t have a theft alarm, think about installing one. Not only can it prevent motor vehicle theft, but many insurance companies will give you a discount on your car insurance for having one.
Because Wyoming has the smallest number of licensed drivers, it makes sense that it also has relatively few traffic fatalities. In 2019, Wyoming’s traffic fatality rate was 147 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is 381 percent below the national average. Although Wyoming does not have the lowest traffic fatality rate, it is among the bottom 10 states9.
Overall, Wyoming is a safe state for drivers, with few uninsured drivers and a small number of motor vehicle thefts. In addition, car insurance is very inexpensive compared to the national average. However, it’s still important to understand the car insurance requirements and driving laws, especially if you are new to Wyoming.
There are a few car insurance companies in Wyoming that sell cheap policies. GEICO, State Farm, USAA, and Farmers have some of the most affordable rates. However, the cheapest car insurance carrier is different for everyone. Make sure to get multiple rate quotes and compare them to find the cheapest carrier for you.
The registered owner is responsible for maintaining the insurance policy in Wyoming. That includes paying the premium, filing claims, and making sure they have proof of insurance in their vehicle (or a digital ID card on their phone).
Before you buy a car in Wyoming, you need to have car insurance. Otherwise, you won’t be able to legally drive off the dealership lot. If you already have car insurance, your policy might cover the new vehicle for a period of time automatically before you need to add it, but not every policy has this feature.
Car insurance in Montana is more expensive than car insurance in Wyoming. For comparison, Montana drivers spend an average of $834 per year on car insurance, whereas Wyoming drivers spend an average of $770 per year. This data is from the NAIC, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Frequently Asked Questions. Wyoming Department of Transportation. https://www.dot.state.wy.us/home/driver_license_records/suspensionsignition-interlock/Frequently%20Asked%20Questions.html
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. NAIC. (2023, Jan).
Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State as of January 2014. Consumer Federation of America.
One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar)
Seat Belts. GHSA. (2022). https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/Seat%20Belts?state=Wyoming
TITLE 31 – MOTOR VEHICLES. State of Wyoming 66th Legislature. https://wyoleg.gov/statutes/compress/title31.pdf
Crime in the United States. FBI. (2019). https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/tables/table-4
NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. NICB. (2021, Aug). https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/nicb-hot-spots-auto-thefts-significantly-across-country
Fatality Facts 2020. IIHS. (2022, May). https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/state-by-state