Every driver in Wisconsin needs a car insurance policy to stay legal on the road. Not only will insurance prevent you from facing penalties and fines from law enforcement, but it will also protect your finances in the event of an accident. Medical expenses and repairs can be extremely costly. Luckily, a good insurance policy doesn’t have to be. 

Wisconsinites can find an affordable auto insurance policy just by comparing customized quotes from a variety of different insurance companies. And with Insurify, it’s quick and easy to see your estimated rates in one place. You’ll just need to answer a few questions about your vehicle and driving record, and our artificial intelligence technology will help you find the best deal. 

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Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Wisconsin 

Wisconsin law requires drivers to show proof of insurance at traffic stops and accidents if requested by law enforcement officers. Wisconsin doesn’t require that drivers show proof of insurance to obtain a driver’s license or registration, but drivers and vehicle owners are required to carry the following state minimum insurance coverage:

  • $10,000 in property damage liability coverage
  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage

>>>MORE: How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?

Property damage liability insurance covers the repair or replacement of the other driver’s vehicle in an accident you cause. It won’t cover your own repairs. Similarly, bodily injury coverage helps pay for medical bills for the other driver and their passengers in an accident you cause. It won’t help pay for your own medical expenses

Is state minimum car insurance enough in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin auto insurance laws require relatively low liability limits. The $10,000 in property damage coverage may not be sufficient if you become involved in an accident with a new vehicle that is declared a total loss. Furthermore, while the average bodily injury claim in 2019 was for $18,417, according to the Insurance Information Institute, medical care costs can often exceed the minimum amount of car insurance coverage in Wisconsin

Liability coverage also won’t cover repairs to your vehicle if you cause an accident. That’s why Wisconsin drivers should strongly consider purchasing collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Collision insurance covers repairs to your vehicle in a car accident you cause, while comprehensive insurance covers non-collision events, like theft and vandalism

Most drivers, and particularly those with high-deductible health plans, should also consider buying medical payments coverage, which helps pay for your hospital bills in an accident you cause. 

What is the penalty for driving without car insurance in Wisconsin?

All Wisconsin drivers are required to carry proof of insurance. Whether you’re driving in Milwaukee or Madison, the Department of Transportation requires you have a policy that meets the minimum limits of the state. 

If an officer requests proof of insurance and you don’t have it with you in your car, you can be fined up to $10. But if you’re caught driving a motor vehicle without an active insurance policy, the penalty is much worse. You can face a fine of up to $500 if you don’t have a policy with the right amount of coverage. And if you’re caught showing fraudulent proof of insurance, you can be fined up to $5,000. 

>>>MORE: Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Not only will you need to pay a fine for driving without insurance, but you’ll also have your driving privileges suspended until your insurer files an SR-22. And since an SR-22 requirement indicates you are a high-risk driver, you can expect your insurance premiums to increase as well. If you don’t have car insurance at the time of an accident, your registration and driver’s license could be suspended for up to three years. 

If you have any questions about whether your policy meets Wisconsin requirements, contact your insurance agent or the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance

Minimum Requirements in Wisconsin for SR-22 Policies

Wisconsinites previously caught driving uninsured will need to file an SR-22 with the DMV to reinstate their driving privileges. The SR-22 shows that you have an insurance policy that meets the state minimum auto insurance requirements. The insurance requirements for drivers with SR-22’s are the same as the state minimum, meaning that your policy should cover:

  • $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage

>>>MORE: Best Insurance for SR22

Additional Coverage Wisconsin Drivers Should Consider

About 13 percent of Wisconsin drivers do not have car insurance. If you are involved in a hit-and-run or are hit by an uninsured driver, you could be on the hook for your own medical bills and repairs unless you have underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This auto insurance coverage is strongly recommended. 

If you rely on your vehicle for work or your everyday activities, you should also consider roadside assistance. This can help you get back on the road more quickly after a flat tire, lockout, or other breakdown. And rental car reimbursement coverage can be helpful if your car needs more extensive repairs. 

>>>MORE: Car Insurance Estimator

While adding these coverages will increase your insurance costs, it’s still possible to save money on your annual premium by choosing the insurance company that offers you the lowest quote. In fact, Insurify users save up to $996 yearly by switching. Insurify can help you find the lowest insurance rates in your area, so you can get better coverage for less money. 

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Frequently Asked Questions: Wisconsin Minimum Car Insurance FAQ

Is car insurance mandatory in Wisconsin?

Yes. All Wisconsin drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability coverage and $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage.

In what situations do drivers in Wisconsin have the right to sue?

Wisconsin has a tort system, which means drivers can file suit against another driver that damages their property or causes them injury. Drivers have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury or property damage lawsuit and three years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Are there alternative proofs of financial responsibility in Wisconsin?

Yes. If you don’t want to carry a car insurance policy, a bond from an insurance company or a cash deposit with the DMV of $60,000 may be accepted instead.

Updated August 19, 2021

Lindsay Frankel is a full-time freelance writer specializing in personal finance and insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance, Coverage.com, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz. For the past year, she has written about car insurance for Insurify.