All drivers in Wisconsin must have car insurance to protect them in the event they are injured or cause another harm in a crash. But how much coverage is enough?
Below, we discuss the state’s mandatory requirements and optional coverage that may help you avoid out-of-pocket costs after being injured in a crash. Contact us today to learn about your next steps after a crash and your eligibility for compensation. This initial consultation is 100 percent free.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
Wisconsin drivers are required to have a car insurance policy that carries bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
If you are involved in a crash, bodily injury liability coverage can help pay for injuries you cause another driver and his or her passengers or a pedestrian or bicyclist. The state’s minimum requirement is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
This coverage may also pay another person’s medical expenses if the crash was caused by you or a family member residing with you or someone with permission to operate your vehicle. This coverage, however, does not pay for any bodily injury you may sustain or damage to your vehicle.
Property damage liability coverage can help pay for the damage and cost of repairs if you cause damage to another car or property in a crash.
The minimum limit for property damage liability coverage in Wisconsin is $10,000. Your insurance will pay for damages caused if you were driving your vehicle, or it was being driven by someone else with your permission. However, your insurance will not cover any damage to your car. (You will need to carry collision insurance to help cover your vehicle in a crash.)
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can help protect you, your passengers or anyone included under your policy if you are hit by a driver with no insurance or a hit-and-run driver. It will also cover you or a loved one if you are injured as a pedestrian by one of these drivers. You never know when you might get into a crash with a driver who does not have insurance.
The state’s minimum is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Policyholders cannot purchase limits higher than their bodily injury liability coverage. This coverage also does not cover property damage to your vehicle.
Why You Should Carry More Than the Minimum
Many drivers choose to carry more than the minimum coverage, as it is often not sufficient in a crash. Expenses can quickly add up, especially in a crash that results in serious injuries and significant damages.
Although Wisconsin is a fault state, and the at-fault driver is responsible for covering your damages, his or her coverage could run out. If you have additional coverage, it could help you avoid significant out-of-pocket costs.
If the policyholder is deemed at fault and the expenses exceed the limits of his or her policy, he or she may be personally liable to pay out of pocket for the difference. However, he or she may not have the assets to cover your damages.
While having more coverage may cost you more in premiums, it is like to help save you time and money in the long run.
Other Insurance Coverage to Consider Buying
Under state law, car insurance companies are legally obligated to offer you other forms of coverage. The following coverages are optional and could help provide added protection in a crash:
- Collision coverage –This coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle, regardless of fault. If you collide with another vehicle, hit an object or flip your vehicle, your insurer will cover vehicle repairs or replacement up to the value of your vehicle before the crash.
- Comprehensive coverage – This coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle by something other than a crash. Examples include damage caused by fire, vandalism, theft, falling objects, etc. If you hit a deer or another animal, the cost to repair your vehicle will be covered.
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage – UIM coverage helps pay for your medical bills and other damages if you are injured in a crash caused by a driver with insufficient insurance. While not mandatory, the minimum coverage limits are $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident.
- Medical payments (MedPay) coverage – MedPay coverage helps pay for medical care and other related expenses you and your passengers sustain in a crash. This includes emergency services, hospitalization and surgeries. This coverage also pays for funeral expenses for anyone killed in a crash while driving or riding in your vehicle. You can buy coverage for $1,000 per accident. You can purchase higher limits, which is recommended.
Penalties for Having an Uninsured Vehicle
The penalties for driving without insurance in Wisconsin include fines and suspension of driving privileges. The state may impose a fine of $500 for failure to maintain the required auto insurance.
An SR-22 form must be filed by the car insurance company on behalf of the driver to have a driver’s license reinstated after suspension. This can be costly and time-consuming. An SR-22 must be retained for at least three years. Offering fraudulent proof of insurance may impose a fine of up to $5,000.
Call Us for Trusted Legal Help After a Crash
If you or a loved one have been involved in a crash, Sigman Janssen is here to help. An experienced Oshkosh-based car crash lawyer from our firm is prepared to pursue the maximum compensation possible under state law. To date, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients, including victims of car crashes.
A consultation is completely free and confidential. There is no risk in calling us and no obligation to retain our services. We only get paid if we help you recover compensation through a settlement or verdict.
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