The minimum requirements for car insurance in Wisconsin have changed often in recent years. New car insurance laws were included in the 2009–2011 Wisconsin budget and were set to go into effect. However, many of the rules were changed again in 2011. As a Wisconsin driver, it is important to know what car insurance you are required to have so that you follow the letter of the law and protect yourself financially if you are involved in an accident.
The Minimum Amount of Insurance Required in Wisconsin
As of October 2015, Wisconsin law requires every Wisconsin driver to carry the following amounts of liability insurance:
- $10,000 for property damage.
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person.
- $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person.
The above coverage applies if you caused the car accident; however, it does not apply if you are injured in a hit-and-run or by an uninsured driver. Accordingly, Wisconsin law also requires Wisconsin drivers to carry the following amounts of uninsured motorist coverage:
- $25,000 for the bodily injury of one person.
- $50,000 for the bodily injury or more than one person.
Underinsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in Wisconsin. However, insurers must notify you that such coverage exists and if you do elect to purchase underinsured motorist coverage, then the minimum coverage available is $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident.
Wisconsin law requires you to have proof of insurance with you while you are driving. You are required to show that proof of insurance to law enforcement if you are stopped for a traffic violation or if you are involved in an accident. The failure to show proof of insurance may result in a fine.
What Happens If You’re Hurt by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
The Insurance Research Council estimates that between nine to eleven percent of Wisconsin drivers do not have car insurance. Many more may not have enough insurance to pay for your full damages if you’re hurt or a loved one is killed in a car crash. Your regular car insurance will not help you if you are hurt by an uninsured or underinsured driver. In order to protect yourself from this type of problem, you must specifically have uninsured and underinsured driver insurance included in your car insurance policy.
Should You Buy More Than the Minimum Amount of Insurance?
When deciding which insurance policy to purchase, you’ll notice that as policy limits increase, so do monthly premium payments.
There’s a good reason for that. Essentially, the value of your policy goes hand-in-hand with your policy limits. An insurance policy with a $25,000 limit for personal injury will not pay a penny more, regardless of the severity of your injuries. If your limit is $25,000 but you’re at fault for $100,000 worth of damages, you are responsible for the remaining $75,000. If your insurance is not enough to cover the damages that you caused in a car crash then you may be sued, your assets may be seized, and your wages may be garnished.
To learn more about different types of insurance coverage and what they mean for you, please read a FREE copy of our report, Understanding Auto Insurance, today.