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Wisconsin Car Insurance

Auto Insurance Basics in Wisconsin

There are two different models of car insurance that states utilize. The first is call the “at fault” model. In this model that driver who is held responsible for causing the crash will also be held responsible for the cost of any resulting damages. These damages can be either medical bills for injuries or for property damage. In a “no fault” model of insurance, each party in an accident will have their damages paid by their own respective insurance companies. There are pros and cons to each approach. In is generally recognized that claims payments are made more quickly and efficiently in no fault states because there is no arguing over who is the responsible party. Sometimes participants in an accident need to hire lawyers just to assign blame in a crash. The reduction in costly litigation is believed to lighten the financial burden of lawsuits on all parties, including the state court systems. But sometimes the damages from an accident exceed the amount of coverage contained in your insurance policy. At fault states put restrictions on the ability of policy holders to pursue damages in civil court lawsuits.

In an at fault state model of car insurance, any damages from an accident are paid out by the insurance company of the driver who was responsible for causing the crash. If your damages are more than your insurance payouts, you can sue for the remainder in civil courts. However, this takes time, and sometimes it is not crystal clear who the actual responsible party was in an accident. Some say that there is reduced incentive for drivers in no fault to carefully avoid accidents because there is no assigned blame. It probably safer to say that there are tradeoffs in each model and because there are so many factors that contribute to the pricing of policies, it hard to see if one or another is consistently cheaper.

The state of Wisconsin utilizes the at fault model of car insurance, so victims of car crashes can pursue the following means to be made whole on their damages. They can file a claim with their own insurance company, who will then turn around and file it with the insurance company of the responsible party. Second, they can file a claim directly with the insurance company of the responsible driver (this is why you should always file a police report and trade pertinent information with the other driver in a crash). Lastly, you could just go directly to court. Most people in an at fault state opt to file directly with the responsible party’s insurance company.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Wisconsin

The state requires vehicle owners to carry a bare minimum liability policy with the following coverages: $25,000 for bodily harm to one person, $50,000 for bodily harm to all victims, and $10,000 of property damage liability. They also require drivers to carry $25,000 of uninsured driver coverage. The cost of bare minimum coverage in Wisconsin is about $400 per year but remember, the bare minimum does not include any protections for your own damages.

Average Cost of Coverage in Wisconsin

The average cost of full car insurance coverage nationwide is between $1,400 and $1,500 for full coverage. In Wisconsin, you can expect to pay about $300 less than than out, all things being equal. Full coverage usually means having liability, comprehensive and collision insurance, three of the main types of auto insurance. Here’s a brief definition of each. Liability insurance covers the damages for both injury and property of the other party in a crash you cause. It covers them up to the stated limits of your policy. Collision insurance covers the cost of repairing your own vehicle after and accident. And, finally, comprehensive insurance covers damages to your car from things like hitting and animal, storm related damage, and theft.

Being a safe driver will help you get preferred rates for car insurance in Wisconsin. If you have an at fault accident on your record your rates for coverage may increase by 50% or higher. The same holds if have have serious moving violation like DUI, driving with an open container, or reckless driving. Those can easily add six or seven hundred dollars annually to your bill. Good credit will get you lower rates and poor credit will cost you more. Teenaged drivers are the most expensive demographic to insure in Wisconsin, but the same is true in every state. Young drivers are seen as more prone to get into accident than more experienced drivers.

Age Average Premium (yearly)
16 $6,682
17 $5,109
18 $4,544
19 $2,471
20s $1,412
30s $1,016
40s $973
50s $894
60s $927
70s $1,089

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Wisconsin

It’s hard to say for certain who could provide you with the cheapest car insurance because there are so many factors that go into pricing an insurance policy. Some big names like Geico offer competitive rates but so do smaller carriers like Erie and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. Your best bet to get the best price is to shop around.

Rank Company Name Avg. Premium (annual)
1 Travelers $812
2 USAA $879
3 State Farm $983
4 Nationwide $1,109
5 Pekin Insurance $1,134

Unique Car Insurance Rules and Penalties in Wisconsin

The state requires drivers to carry proof of insurance at all times. If you drive without insurance you can be fined and face suspension of your license. Wisconsin requires vehicle owners to have a minimum level of financial responsibility and for most people, that means buying car insurance. But you can also satisfy the financial responsibility requirement by depositing $60,000 of cash with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation or posting a surety bond for the same amount. Both would act as a drawdown fund if you get to an accident.

Violation Avg. Annual Auto Insurance Rate % Insurance Rate Increase $ Insurance Rate Increase
Hit and Run $1,725 61% $655
Refused Breathalyzer/Chemical Test $1,568 47% $498
DUI $1,568 47% $498
Racing $1,725 61% $655
Reckless Driving $1,725 61% $655
Driving with a Suspended License $1,757 64% $687
At-Fault Accident $1,564 46% $494
Driving with an Open Container $1,486 39% $417
Operating a Vehicle Without Permission $1,585 48% $516
Passing a School Bus $1,409 32% $340
Improper Passing $1,396 30% $326
Following Too Closely $1,385 29% $315
Speeding $1,375 29% $305
Failure to Stop at a Red Light $1,385 29% $315
Illegal Turn $1,375 29% $305
Driving Wrong Way/Wrong Lane $1,351 26% $281
Failure to Yield $1,385 29% $315
Speeding in a School Zone $1,379 29% $309
Driving Too Slowly $1,369 28% $300
Distracted Driving $1,304 29% $234
Driving with Expired Registration $1,197 12% $128
Failure to Show Documents $1,197 12% $128
Not-at-Fault Accident $1,186 11% $117
Failure to Use Child Safety Restraint $1,144 7% $74
Failure to Wear a Seat Belt $1,174 10% $105
Driving Without Lights $1,144 7% $74

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in Wisconsin

If you only go to one car insurance company for a quote, it is unlikely you will get the best deal. If you want to make sure you get a cheap price you should get quotes from at least three different insurance companies. Quotes are free, there’s no obligation to buy. Our online tool at General.com will help you easily get multiple apples to apples quotes helping you save money with hardly any effort at all.

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