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Auto Insurance Minimums in Wisconsin

Auto insurance minimums in Wisconsin set the baseline levels for car insurance coverage in the state. As of 2010 Wisconsin requires auto insurance protection for its drivers. It is important for every motorist in the state to be aware of minimums for coverage and to abide by these minimums to avoid punitive consequences. And of course, it is also good to know about all of the optional coverage available to drivers in the state.

Liability insurance is required for all drivers in the state of Wisconsin, as it is for nearly all motorists across the country. Wisconsin liability auto insurance protects the covered driver from having to directly take on financial responsibility in the wake of an at fault car accident. Liability coverage takes care of injury and property damage related costs, less deductible. It offers extremely important protection for covered motorists, usually at a fairly affordable cost. For this reason, drivers are encouraged by most industry experts to carry coverage in excess of state requirements.

Liability Insurance Minimums in WI

Liability auto insurance is mandatory for all drivers in Wisconsin and many other states such as Washington D.C., including both property damage and bodily injury protection. The state also sets specific minimum limits of coverage for each part of a liability policy. Wisconsin drivers carry split limit plans, unlike motorists in certain states mandating single limit protection. Property damage insurance protects drivers against the cost of repair or replacement to other vehicles, buildings, fences, or any other property not owned by the covered driver. The minimum for this part of the policy is $15,000.

For bodily injury, the state mandates at least $50,000 for the injury or death of one person victimized by a negligent covered driver in an accident. For accidents involving multiple injured victims, the limit is $100,000 [1]. Each part of the policy includes its own deductible. The deductibles for each insured policy holder influence the cost of their coverage while also affecting the real value of the plan. For smaller claims, high deductibles essentially eliminate the possibility of even filing a claim. So, drivers who elect higher deductibles are basically choosing for forgo protection against smaller claims, in addition to choosing to personally handle larger chunks of big claims. This is a factor that state motorists should bear in mind when they make choices with their deductibles and vehicle insurance rates.

WI Requirements Regarding Proof of Insurance

In addition to requiring auto insurance, the state of Wisconsin also stipulates specific requirements for drivers regarding carrying proof of insurance for their vehicles. According to the guidelines of new laws going into effect in 2010, drivers are required to show proof of insurance at accidents and traffic stops if they are asked to do so by law enforcement officials. This requirement pertains to automobiles, but not to trailers or semis.

There are fines in place for drivers who fail to carry auto insurance, as well as punitive consequences for failure to show proof of insurance when asked to do so at the scene of an accident or traffic stop. Motorists who provide what are found to be fraudulent proofs of insurance face much stiffer fines. There is no requirement to show proof of insurance while registering a vehicle or renewing an existing registration at the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles unless for some reason someone at the DMV specifically requests it of an auto owner. This proof, however, is required for any driver attempting to register a vehicle after getting their license back following a revocation or suspension for any reason [1].

Effects of New Insurance Laws

In many cases, the new laws on auto insurance minimums in Wisconsin that took effect in 2010 had no effect on most motorists. The majority of drivers in the state already carried auto insurance on their vehicles, and the state already had minimum prescribed limits in place prior to the new insurance rules going into effect. There are higher limits than were previously required, so the drivers who carried state minimum liability plans were affected by these changes. And of course those who were previously driving without insurance now face new legal consequences for doing so.

For drivers in the state and all over the country, legal compliance is a serious issue. The cost of owning and operating an automobile is very high. Even a cheap vehicle that you paid cash for and carry minimal insurance on can still cost a significant amount. Since driving requires this kind of investment right off the top, it is critical to make sure you're not also adding other expenses to these expenditures. Getting into and staying in compliance with law matters. But aside from legal matters, the simple but critical protection offered by Wisconsin car insurance is reason enough by itself for state drivers to go ahead and make the investment in a solid policy.

[1] http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/vehicles/ins-req.htm Retrieved 2010-07-14.

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