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Wisconsin Car Insurance Laws and Requirements (Updated August 2022)

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Charlie Mitchell

By: Charlie Mitchell

Edited by Jackie Cohen

Last Updated June 17, 2022

Wisconsin law dictates the minimum requirements for insurance coverage that all drivers must carry. All drivers in Wisconsin must hold 25/50/10 in liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. Additionally, drivers can pick from a long list of additional coverages for added protection.

Quick Facts

  • Car insurance is required by law in Wisconsin.
  • Drivers in Wisconsin must carry 25/50/10 in liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
  • If caught driving uninsured, drivers face $500 in fines and potential jail time.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Wisconsin

The minimum car insurance requirements in Wisconsin[1] are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per accident

Wisconsin has a traditional “at-fault” approach to automobile insurance predicated on liability insurance. State law requires Wisconsin drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage and property damage coverage, and in the event of an accident, the driver who is at fault pays for the damages with their liability insurance.

Why is car insurance required in Wisconsin?

Auto insurance protects drivers from financial liability in the event of an accident. Depending on a policy’s specific coverage limitations, car insurance may cover everything from vehicle damage to medical bills.

Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily injury liability is part of your liability car insurance coverage. If you cause an accident, this coverage will help cover the other party’s medical expenses. This type of coverage will not cover your own medical expenses for injuries sustained in a car accident you caused. Bodily injury liability coverage is required in Wisconsin.

Property Damage Liability

Property damage liability is the other half of your liability car insurance. It covers repair costs and damage expenses to the other cars involved in an accident you caused. This coverage does not cover damage to your own car in an accident you were at fault for. Property damage liability coverage is required in Wisconsin.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If an uninsured (or underinsured) driver causes an accident and you suffer bodily injury, uninsured motorist coverage will cover your medical expenses. If the at-fault driver surpasses their bodily injury liability coverage limits, your underinsured motorist coverage will cover the rest of your medical expenses. Uninsured motorist coverage is required in Wisconsin.

See More: Cheap Car Insurance in Wisconsin

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Is state minimum car insurance enough in Wisconsin?

The minimum required car insurance coverage in Wisconsin provides drivers with a solid foundation of auto insurance coverage, but it may not be enough for everyone. These minimum limits are rarely enough to see you through the financial aftermath of a bad car accident. Insurance experts encourage policyholders to choose higher liability limits on their car insurance policy at least equal to their net worth.

If you reach beyond the Wisconsin auto insurance requirements, you’ll have higher insurance costs in the short term. But if you are one day at fault in an accident that totals a car worth $50,000 and causes emergency surgery or a long hospital stay, you’ll be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in total costs. And those insurance premiums will feel worth it.

The minimum amount of liability insurance under Wisconsin law won’t protect most drivers after serious car accidents, so if you can try to go beyond the minimum insurance requirements, it’s wise to do so.

Optional Car Insurance Coverage for Wisconsin

Wisconsin drivers who want to be protected in any situation should consider bolstering the minimum car insurance coverage with the following supplemental car insurance coverages:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage covers damages to your car after a collision with another vehicle or object. If your vehicle is a total loss, collision coverage will reimburse you for the actual cash value of your vehicle. This is a great addition to the required property damage liability coverage in Wisconsin, which applies only to the damages to the other driver’s vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage

Complementing your collision coverage, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that occurs during an event that is not a collision with another vehicle or object. This may apply in situations of vandalism, theft, weather damage, or a run-in with an animal. Adding comprehensive and collision coverage together creates a full-coverage car insurance policy.

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Other Supplemental Coverage

For an affordable rate, Wisconsin drivers can purchase medical payments coverage, which gives an extra boost to cover your hospital bills and health insurance deductibles should something terrible ever happen to you on the road. Rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance are additional coverage options that lots of insurance companies offer for cheap.

See More: Average Cost of Car Insurance in Wisconsin

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Wisconsin

It is illegal to drive in Wisconsin without the minimum car insurance coverage. Wisconsin drivers are required to provide proof of insurance if law enforcement requests it during a traffic stop or after an accident. If you don’t have insurance at that time, the following penalties apply:

  • A fine of up to $500
  • A citation for a traffic violation

If you provide law enforcement with proof of insurance that is found to be fraudulent, you could be fined up to $5,000.

See More: High-Risk Car Insurance in Wisconsin

Minimum Requirements for High-Risk Drivers in Wisconsin

If your driver’s license is revoked, you are guilty of a hit-and-run, or you lose your registration, the Department of Transportation of the state of Wisconsin will probably require you to prove financial responsibility—meaning that you have adequate liability coverage—before reinstating your license or registration.

This takes the form of an SR-22 certificate, which your insurance agent files with the Wisconsin DMV on your behalf. Your auto insurance requirements for minimum amounts won’t be higher, but your rates will probably increase based on your driving record.

More Information for High-Risk Drivers in Wisconsin

DUI Insurance in Wisconsin

SR-22 Insurance in Wisconsin

Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance in Wisconsin

Car insurance companies weigh different factors to determine what to quote drivers on their car insurance policies. Minimum coverage generally means lower car insurance rates. It also means low coverage limits, which may cost you if you’re ever involved in an accident. Here are the cheapest car insurance quotes for minimum coverage in Wisconsin.

Insurance CompanyMonthly Quote for Minimum Coverage
Progressive$66
Travelers$68
Dairyland$110
Bristol West$118
Nationwide$140
Liberty Mutual$112
Disclaimer: actual quotes may vary based on the policyholder's unique driver profile.

How to Find Cheap Car Insurance in Wisconsin

If you’re on a really tight budget, you might need to stick with the minimum insurance limits so that your motor vehicle can operate on the road legally. To find the bargain you deserve on your auto insurance, try out Insurify’s easy-to-use website. You can compare car insurance quotes personalized to your coverage preferences, location, and driving record. It’s a great way to save.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes. The office of the commissioner of insurance in Wisconsin requires all drivers to carry a 25/50/10 liability coverage at a minimum. Uninsured motorist coverage is also required.

  • No. Wisconsin car insurance operates on an at-fault or “tort” model. In the event of a car accident, the at-fault party pays for the damages with their liability insurance.

  • Yes. Uninsured motorist protection is required for all Wisconsin auto insurance policies.

  • No. But if you are required by the DMV to prove financial responsibility with an SR-22, you need to have auto insurance before registering a car in Wisconsin.

  • The Wisconsin auto insurance market is a large market with many players. Whether you’re in Madison or Ashland, there’s an insurance company that can provide you with a good deal. Insurify is great at helping you compare car insurance quotes in one place so you can find your best match without too much hassle. Try it—it’s fast and free.

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Charlie Mitchell
Charlie Mitchell
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Insurance Writer

Charlie Mitchell is a journalist, researcher, and writer specializing in personal finance subjects. He holds a degree from Middlebury College. His work can be found in Vox, Mother Jones, The New Republic, and other publications. Charlie uses his expertise in home, renters, and auto insurance subjects to help inform people to make better financial decisions. Connect with Charlie on LinkedIn.

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Sources

  1. State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation. "State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements." Accessed June 16, 2022