The Ultimate Wisconsin Car Insurance Guide (Costs + Coverage)

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Michael Leotta

Insurance Operations Specialist

Michael earned a degree in Business Management with an insurance focus, which led to a successful 25-year career in insurance claims operations and support. He possesses a high-level of business acumen across multiple areas of the insurance industry. Over the course of his career, he served in multiple roles supporting claims operations including: Claims Specialist, Claims Trainer, Claim Automatio...

Insurance Operations Specialist

Tim Bain

Licensed Insurance Agent

Tim Bain is a licensed insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with the best insurance coverage to meet their needs.  His insurance expertise has been featured in several publications, including Investopedia and eFinancial. He also does digital marking and analysis for KPS/3, a communications and marking firm located in Nevada. 

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UPDATED: Feb 16, 2024

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The Ultimate Wisconsin Car Insurance Guide (Costs + Coverage)

Wisconsin Statistics SummaryDetails
Road Miles 2014Total in State: 115,212
Vehicle Miles Driven: 60,053 Million
Vehicles 2014Registered: 5,059,004
Total Stolen: 9,919
State Population5,813,568
Most Popular VehicleSilverado 1500
Percentage of Motorists Uninsured14.30%
State Rank: 15th
Driving DeathsSpeeding (2017) Total: 180
Drunk Driving (2017) Total: 190
Average Premiums 2015 (Annual)Liability: $374.37
Collision: $226.00
Comprehensive: $136.81
Combined Premium: $737.18
Cheapest ProviderAmerican Family Insurance

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Welcome to America’s Dairyland. Nestled amidst the Great Lakes, positioned between Canada’s wide expanse and Chicago’s bustling streets, there’s Wisconsin.

Whether you grew up cheering on UW-Madison sports teams or recently found yourself in Milwaukee for work (or for a beer), you’ve likely come to love this state.

With a strong auto insurance policy, you too can drive up and down the roads, stop at a roadside stand for fresh curds, and make it to the Packers game just in time for a fresh brat.

Unfortunately, finding accurate, reliable information about car insurance companies can be a difficult task. 

How much will it cost? Who will provide the best coverage? What coverage is needed?

That’s why we’ve compiled all the details on Wisconsin’s numerous auto insurance providers and state laws.

We can help you find the coverage you need at the rates you deserve with transparent, straightforward information.

Whether you live in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, or Kenosha, simply enter your zip code to compare up to 10 free car insurance quotes from the leading providers in your area.

Table of Contents

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Wisconsin Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

It can be stressful to stare down the seemingly endless car insurance options that are out there. Thankfully, you don’t have to go insurance shopping alone.

Together, we’ll explore the coverage, rates, and add-ons available in the wonderful state of Wisconsin.

Simple sections link together to form our comprehensive guide to Wisconsin car insurance options. Find the coverage that fits your car, your lifestyle, and your budget.

If you’re ready to hit the road, climb into the driver’s seat. Let’s take a trip to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s Car Culture

Up north, people often measure distance in time, rather than miles. How long will it take to get to the Packers game in this weather? How long will it take to get to the fish fry in Oconomowoc?

Next time you’re driving in Wisconsin, you might just find yourself thinking and talking this way, especially in the winter, when snowy conditions can make driving difficult.

Spring, summer, and fall make for beautiful road trips, drives up to the lake, and — of course — tailgates. But winter can be a little tricky. Wisconsin has some of the coldest winters in the country.

Despite the weather, Wisconsinites stay positive. You’ve probably heard of “Minnesota nice,” but people in Wisconsin are known for their niceness too. Show up to any tailgate in Wisconsin, and you’ll be greeted with warm smiles, cold beer, and fresh cheese curds.

There are about 5.814 million residents in Wisconsin. That’s a lot of happy people driving on the roads.

When you get on the road to head home, you’ll experience the well-known politeness of Wisconsinite drivers. Don’t expect to see any rude gestures or unnecessary honking here in Wisconsin. The friendly roads are open to everyone.

Wisconsin’s Minimum Coverage

If you count up the total number of Wisconsin drivers, you’ll find that about 14.3 percent are uninsured. This might come as a surprise to Wisconsinites, as drivers in the state are required to carry car insurance.

Wisconsin operates like a traditional “fault” car accident state. This means that the person who is at fault for causing a car accident is also responsible for any harm stemming from the crash.

The at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy will absorb these financial losses up to the limits of the policy.

The owner of a motor vehicle in Wisconsin is required to carry liability insurance coverage on his or her vehicle. In some rare cases, a person can carry another form of financial security such as a surety bond or certificate of self-insurance.

The minimum amount of liability coverage a person is required to carry is:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the owner/driver
  • $50,000 for total injuries or death in an accident caused by the owner/driver
  • $10,000 for property damage in one accident caused by the owner/driver

This coverage pays the costs, including medical bills and property damage bills, of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians whose bodies are injured or vehicles are damaged in an accident you cause, up to the coverage limits.

Higher coverage limits can help protect you from paying out-of-pocket for damages and injuries.

Remember all of those uninsured motorists in Wisconsin? To deal with the problem, the state requires that all licensed motorists carry uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident.

If a Wisconsin driver chooses not to carry the above liability coverages, he or she could have their license and/or registration revoked and be subject to fines.

Forms of Financial Responsibility

Drivers in Wisconsin should take care to keep proof of insurance with them when operating a motor vehicle. When a driver is pulled over, he or she must show proof of insurance, which is usually found in the form of an insurance card.

In Wisconsin, it is legal to use an electronic copy of the insurance card. If a driver fails to show proof of insurance, he or she could be fined. Fraudulent proof of insurance could result in heavy fines and legal action.

Proof of insurance is not required for those registering a vehicle or applying for a driver’s license. It is required when reinstating a license after suspension or revocation.

Wisconsin’s Premiums as a Percentage of Income

The phrase “per capita disposable personal income,” has a simple definition. Disposable personal income is the money you have available after paying taxes. “Per capita” refers to the amount of money each individual has.

As of 2014, Wisconsin residents’ annual per capita disposable personal income is $39,433. The average cost of full auto coverage in Wisconsin (as of 2014) is $716.83.

That number is about 1.82 percent of a resident’s income. This is right in line with other states, where the percentage varies between 1-3 percent.

The table below outlines premiums as a percentage of income over a three-year period. Year-to-year, the number hasn’t shifted much at all.

Premiums as a Percentage of Income (2012-2014)
Full Coverage
Income 2014
Insurance as %
of Income 2014
Full Coverage
Income 2013
Insurance as %
of Income 2013
Full Coverage
Income 2012
Insurance as %
of Income 2012

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Core Coverage

When it comes to car insurance premiums, Wisconsin sports relatively low costs. The average resident pays about $737.18 for full coverage.

Many Americans living in other states pay upwards of $900 or even $1000 for their insurance. Wisconsinites seem to be getting a good deal.

Of course, the total amount pertains only to core coverage. There are many different types of coverage available to Wisconsin drivers., with varying costs. All are worth considering.

This table breaks down the annual costs of different core insurance coverages.

These statistics were reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2015. Since then, they have likely increased slightly.

Wisconsin Car Insurance TypeAnnual Costs in 2015

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Wisconsin’s Additional Liability Coverage

You now know the basic liability coverage requirements in the state of Wisconsin. You might, however, want to invest in additional liability coverage.

This can help protect you (and your bank account) in an accident. In Wisconsin, the at-fault driver pays for any damages.

Comprehensive and collision coverages pay to fix your car. These coverages are required in Wisconsin.

Property damage liability pays to fix the other person’s car. In Wisconsin, this is not required, but you may want to carry it just in case.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays your medical bills. It is required.

Bodily injury liability pays the other person’s medical bills. n Wisconsin, this is not required, but you may want to carry it just in case.

About 14 percent of drivers in Wisconsin are uninsured or underinsured. That means it is not likely that you’ll be in an accident with an uninsured driver, but it is possible.

For this reason, you may want to consider underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is completely optional in Wisconsin. Uninsured motorist coverage is required.

Now, what about loss ratios? A loss ratio helps you understand whether or not a car insurance provider is financially secure.

When you take a close look at companies’ loss ratios, you can see just how often various insurers pay out claims to their clients.

Companies with higher loss ratios, such as those over 100 percent, are more likely to provide you coverage when you need it. However, they may be less financially secure.

Companies with lower loss ratios won’t necessarily cover all of your expenses should you get into an accident. They are considered more financially secure, but they aren’t paying out claims.

The table below outlines the loss ratios for personal injury protection, medical payments, and UUM in the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Loss Ratio201320142015
Medical Payments (MedPay)81.26%74.64%74.72%
Personal Injury ProtectionN/AN/AN/A
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist62.54%68.46%77.42%

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Add-Ons, Endorsements, and Riders

Wisconsin requires drivers to carry liability insurance. But you may have heard about additional insurance options, like rental Wisconsin’s numerous auto insurance providers and GAP insurance. When it comes to add-ons, we’ve got you covered.

Click the links below to explore add-on options:

Wisconsin’s Male vs. Female Rates

Are men charged more for insurance premiums? Or are men and women charged at the same rate?

The answer to these questions can vary from state to state. Each state makes its own laws regarding demographics and car insurance. In Wisconsin, males are charged slightly more for car insurance across the board.

The biggest changes can be seen during the teenage years. Teenage and young adult drivers pay significantly more for car insurance than older drivers do.

Teenage boys pay the most. The table below gives you a clearer picture of rates compared to age and gender.

CompanyMarried 35-year old femaleMarried 35-year old maleMarried 60-year old femaleMarried 60-year old maleSingle 17-year old femaleSingle 17-year old maleSingle 25-year old femaleSingle 25-year old male
Allstate P&C$2,260.76$2,382.47$2,088.63$2,308.36$7,334.19$9,404.12$2,294.78$2,492.1
American Family Ins$958.9$1,002.57$907.25$914.15$2,844.04$3,134.61$1,135.28$1,209.31
Mid-Century Ins Co$1,914.63$1,915.25$1,697.53$1,797.98$9,058.32$9,384.83$2,174$2,277.36
Geico Cas$1,292.65$1,428$1,341.28$1,540.98$4,301.84$4,635.16$1,195.24$1,231.2
SAFECO Ins Co of IL$1,770.81$1,933.28$1,431.26$1,626.57$5,989.99$6,720.07$1,882.36$2,040.8
AMCO Insurance$3,597.48$3,785.31$2,981.78$3,141.26$7,388.96$1,1333.17$4,379.28$5,192.67
Artisan and Truckers Casualty$1,760.63$1,676.02$1,442.61$1,504.23$6,692.88$7,551.66$2,112.73$2,290.54
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,345.3$1,345.3$1,195.81$1,195.81$3,833.87$4,845.21$1,516.77$1,732.41

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Wisconsin’s Car Insurance Rates by Zip Code

Location plays a surprisingly major role when it comes to car insurance rates. In the tables below, we’ve broken down average car insurance rates by Wisconsin zip codes. You can search for your own zip code to see the average rate for your area.

Cheapest ZIP Codes in Wisconsin CityAverage by ZIP CodesMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
54130KAUKAUNA$2,491.30Nationwide$4,220.90Farmers$3,365.95American Family$1,325.23Geico$1,652.89
53081SHEBOYGAN$2,494.36Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,449.82American Family$1,282.73USAA$1,631.12
54136KIMBERLY$2,506.22Nationwide$4,220.90Farmers$3,392.03American Family$1,324.07Geico$1,648.45
54311GREEN BAY$2,510.86Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,349.88American Family$1,428.76Geico$1,670.01
53085SHEBOYGAN FALLS$2,513.86Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,570.64American Family$1,300.22USAA$1,633.42
54113COMBINED LOCKS$2,518.18Nationwide$4,220.90Farmers$3,392.03American Family$1,320.94Geico$1,652.89
54301GREEN BAY$2,519.58Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,474.80American Family$1,312.84Geico$1,683.22
53083SHEBOYGAN$2,521.05Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,499.01American Family$1,261.88USAA$1,631.12
54115DE PERE$2,521.59Nationwide$4,176.89Allstate$3,373.77American Family$1,356.11Geico$1,670.01
53044KOHLER$2,525.46Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,570.64American Family$1,261.88USAA$1,631.12
54304GREEN BAY$2,526.11Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,474.80American Family$1,399.48Geico$1,683.22
54956NEENAH$2,538.80Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,674.96American Family$1,316.63Geico$1,648.45
54123FOREST JUNCTION$2,540.14Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,399.89American Family$1,289.92USAA$1,751.92
54302GREEN BAY$2,540.45Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,474.80American Family$1,544.78Geico$1,683.22
54303GREEN BAY$2,541.33Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,474.80American Family$1,385.56Geico$1,683.22
54952MENASHA$2,541.36Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,396.10American Family$1,329.05Geico$1,648.45
54313GREEN BAY$2,545.82Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,349.88American Family$1,325.38Geico$1,670.01
54915APPLETON$2,552.14Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,683.58American Family$1,308.75Geico$1,648.45
54110BRILLION$2,556.05Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,423.05American Family$1,289.92USAA$1,751.92
54155ONEIDA$2,556.22Nationwide$4,176.89Allstate$3,353.35American Family$1,356.11USAA$1,788.03
54140LITTLE CHUTE$2,561.22Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,683.58American Family$1,323.76Geico$1,652.89
53020ELKHART LAKE$2,564.46Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,469.07American Family$1,343.88USAA$1,633.42
54914APPLETON$2,568.06Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,674.96American Family$1,397.78Geico$1,648.45
53073PLYMOUTH$2,570.18Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,570.64American Family$1,315.70USAA$1,633.42
54913APPLETON$2,573.22Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,674.96American Family$1,349.38Geico$1,652.89

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Almost all of the most expensive zip codes can be found in Milwaukee.

Most Expensive ZIP Codes in Wisconsin CityAverage by ZIP CodeMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
53206MILWAUKEE$5,102.46Nationwide$9,162.87Allstate$6,835.70American Family$2,057.23USAA$2,851.01
53216MILWAUKEE$5,010.47Nationwide$9,051.09Allstate$6,835.70American Family$2,095.87USAA$2,859.72
53205MILWAUKEE$4,815.48Nationwide$9,162.87Allstate$6,645.94American Family$2,013.75USAA$2,851.01
53212MILWAUKEE$4,770.80Nationwide$9,162.87Allstate$6,785.91American Family$1,964.02USAA$2,851.01
53210MILWAUKEE$4,751.86Nationwide$9,051.09Allstate$6,331.60American Family$1,989.90USAA$2,859.72
53233MILWAUKEE$4,657.36Nationwide$9,162.87Allstate$6,464.17American Family$2,012.43USAA$2,851.01
53204MILWAUKEE$4,566.46Nationwide$9,162.87Allstate$6,645.94American Family$2,007.62USAA$2,851.01
53218MILWAUKEE$4,508.38Allstate$6,983.45Farmers$6,282.99American Family$2,102.37USAA$2,331.50
53209MILWAUKEE$4,400.48Allstate$6,983.45Farmers$6,282.99American Family$1,764.77USAA$2,247.46
53203MILWAUKEE$4,379.97Nationwide$9,162.87Farmers$5,501.63American Family$2,015.65USAA$2,851.01
53208MILWAUKEE$4,254.76Allstate$6,321.24Nationwide$6,195.71American Family$2,053.73USAA$2,244.28
53215MILWAUKEE$4,169.07Allstate$6,308.98Nationwide$6,195.71American Family$2,045.70USAA$2,449.64
53202MILWAUKEE$4,107.54Nationwide$9,162.87Allstate$4,886.72American Family$2,012.80USAA$2,311.63
53225MILWAUKEE$3,983.62Nationwide$5,835.34Allstate$5,734.60American Family$1,905.69USAA$2,331.50
53224MILWAUKEE$3,958.34Allstate$5,987.59Nationwide$5,835.34American Family$1,939.50USAA$2,281.41
53223MILWAUKEE$3,957.10Allstate$5,987.59Nationwide$5,835.34American Family$2,016.17USAA$2,281.41
53222MILWAUKEE$3,782.96Nationwide$5,835.34Allstate$5,719.90American Family$1,816.85USAA$2,260.05
53211MILWAUKEE$3,747.76Nationwide$6,195.71Allstate$4,883.51American Family$1,922.76USAA$2,127.31
54818BRILL$3,647.62Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,667.48American Family$1,585.14USAA$2,090.03
53219MILWAUKEE$3,629.96Nationwide$6,195.71Farmers$4,649.36American Family$1,861.10USAA$2,073.02
54434JUMP RIVER$3,572.87Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,797.61American Family$1,557.59State Farm$2,072.49
54532HEAFFORD JUNCTION$3,569.38Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,797.61American Family$1,442.50State Farm$2,072.49
54439HANNIBAL$3,561.28Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,797.61American Family$1,453.20State Farm$2,072.49
53214MILWAUKEE$3,554.42Nationwide$6,195.71Farmers$4,649.36American Family$1,987.16USAA$2,060.76
53207MILWAUKEE$3,515.05Nationwide$6,195.71Farmers$4,649.36American Family$2,015.05USAA$2,075.48

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Wisconsin’s Car Insurance Rates by City

It’s can also be helpful to look at car insurance rates by city. The tables below give you a window into the average rates paid by drivers in each city across Wisconsin.

Cheapest Cities in Wisconsin Average by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
Kaukauna$2,491.30Nationwide$4,220.90Farmers$3,365.95American Family$1,325.23Geico$1,652.89
Sheboygan$2,494.36Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,449.82American Family$1,282.73USAA$1,631.12
Kimberly$2,506.22Nationwide$4,220.90Farmers$3,392.03American Family$1,324.07Geico$1,648.45
Sheboygan Falls$2,513.86Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,570.64American Family$1,300.22USAA$1,633.42
Combined Locks$2,518.18Nationwide$4,220.90Farmers$3,392.03American Family$1,320.94Geico$1,652.89
Howards Grove$2,521.05Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,499.01American Family$1,261.88USAA$1,631.12
De Pere$2,521.59Nationwide$4,176.89Allstate$3,373.77American Family$1,356.11Geico$1,670.01
Kohler$2,525.45Nationwide$3,861.19Farmers$3,570.64American Family$1,261.88USAA$1,631.12
Bellevue$2,525.66Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,412.35American Family$1,486.77Geico$1,676.62
Ashwaubenon$2,535.96Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,412.35American Family$1,362.43Geico$1,676.62
Neenah$2,538.80Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,674.96American Family$1,316.63Geico$1,648.45
Forest Junction$2,540.14Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,399.89American Family$1,289.92USAA$1,751.92
Green Bay$2,541.34Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,474.80American Family$1,385.56Geico$1,683.22
Menasha$2,541.36Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,396.10American Family$1,329.05Geico$1,648.45
Brillion$2,556.05Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,423.05American Family$1,289.92USAA$1,751.92
Hobart$2,556.22Nationwide$4,176.89Allstate$3,353.35American Family$1,356.11USAA$1,788.03
Allouez$2,561.19Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,576.57American Family$1,333.95Geico$1,683.22
Little Chute$2,561.22Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,683.58American Family$1,323.76Geico$1,652.89
Elkhart Lake$2,564.46Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,469.07American Family$1,343.88USAA$1,633.42
Plymouth$2,570.18Nationwide$4,174.98Farmers$3,570.64American Family$1,315.70USAA$1,633.42
Appleton$2,570.34Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,679.27American Family$1,367.48Geico$1,649.56
Greenville$2,573.51Nationwide$4,220.90Allstate$3,674.96American Family$1,318.93Geico$1,652.89
Chilton$2,578.45Nationwide$4,174.98Allstate$3,418.28American Family$1,311.89USAA$1,751.92
Cleveland$2,585.53Nationwide$4,175.53Farmers$3,469.07American Family$1,337.15USAA$1,615.95
Suamico$2,588.38Nationwide$4,176.89Farmers$3,515.06American Family$1,340.49Geico$1,670.01

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So, who is paying the most and the least for car insurance across Wisconsin? The residents of Kaukauna, WI, located just east of Appleton, have the lowest rates.

Nearby Kimberly and Combined Locks also top the list for low prices. Sheboygan, on the banks of Lake Michigan, also has low rates.

You can probably guess which city has some of the highest rates. That’s right: Milwaukee. Urban areas in any state tend to have high car insurance rates. Milwaukee and the surrounding communities have rates that are almost double those near Appleton. Yikes.

Most Expensive Cities in Wisconsin Average by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
Brown Deer$4,178.79Allstate$6,485.52Nationwide$6,015.52American Family$1,890.47USAA$2,264.43
Milwaukee$4,161.26Nationwide$7,219.59Allstate$5,621.38American Family$1,973.06USAA$2,434.41
Brill$3,647.62Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,667.48American Family$1,585.14USAA$2,090.03
Jump River$3,572.87Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,797.61American Family$1,557.59State Farm$2,072.49
Heafford Junction$3,569.38Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,797.61American Family$1,442.50State Farm$2,072.49
Hannibal$3,561.27Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,797.61American Family$1,453.20State Farm$2,072.49
Galloway$3,475.38Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$5,117.13American Family$1,557.59USAA$2,046.34
Mikana$3,466.47Farmers$5,843.46Nationwide$5,667.48American Family$1,585.14USAA$2,090.03
St. Francis$3,461.08Nationwide$6,195.71Farmers$4,649.36American Family$1,759.85USAA$2,049.94
Bayside$3,396.38Nationwide$4,938.69Allstate$4,883.51American Family$1,672.72USAA$1,955.86
Elmwood Park$3,363.02Nationwide$5,481.23Allstate$4,580.92American Family$1,795.49USAA$2,140.26
Greenfield$3,358.65Nationwide$5,357.70Farmers$4,606.33American Family$1,714.21USAA$2,010.57
Cudahy$3,345.01Nationwide$6,195.71Farmers$4,649.36American Family$1,620.79USAA$2,049.94
Hertel$3,344.17Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,574.93American Family$1,595.78State Farm$2,116.33
Webster$3,292.41Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,574.93American Family$1,594.49USAA$2,133.57
Hayward$3,264.76Nationwide$5,797.61Farmers$4,176.65American Family$1,519.25USAA$2,155.89
Minong$3,262.41Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,176.65American Family$1,586.80USAA$2,133.57
Gordon$3,261.36Nationwide$6,056.27Farmers$3,991.81American Family$1,606.76USAA$2,167.16
Spooner$3,257.94Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,198.52American Family$1,574.94USAA$2,133.57
Stone Lake$3,252.68Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,176.65American Family$1,595.06USAA$2,133.57
Springbrook$3,252.01Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,176.65American Family$1,595.06USAA$2,133.57
Trego$3,251.33Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,176.65American Family$1,597.88USAA$2,133.57
Shell Lake$3,246.88Nationwide$5,946.74Farmers$4,014.10American Family$1,568.99USAA$2,133.57
Maplewood$3,246.07Progressive$7,590.37Nationwide$4,497.68American Family$1,344.11State Farm$1,778.65
Kenosha$3,245.87Nationwide$5,377.01Allstate$4,602.37American Family$1,726.42USAA$2,238.51

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Don’t fret too much, Milwaukee residents. In addition to location, there are a number of other demographic factors that figure into your overall car insurance rate. We will cover those a little later on.

Now that you have a general understanding of rates and demographics, let’s review your options for car insurance in America’s Dairyland.

Best Wisconsin Car Insurance Companies

From silly commercials to innovative mailers, it seems like car insurance companies will do anything to earn your attention—and your business. There are several big companies vying to be your insurance provider, as well as smaller, locally-owned businesses.

With all of this pressure, it can be hard to know which route to take. Thankfully, we’ve already done the research. We’re here to provide you with an unbiased, comprehensive, and honest look at all of your car insurance options.

That way, you can feel calm and confident about choosing an auto insurance provider in the great state of Wisconsin.

– The Largest Companies Financial Rating

When shopping around for car insurance, it’s always a good idea to take a look at companies’ financial ratings.

These ratings give you an understanding of how well a company is doing. They can help increase or decrease your confidence in different brands.

We’ve compiled the ratings from AM Best in an easy-to-read table. Remember: this rating indicates the financial strength and credit-worthiness of each insurer. The table below covers the ten largest auto insurers in Wisconsin.

CompanyAM RatingDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
American Family Insurance GroupA$583,24359.38%18.73%
Progressive GroupA+$530,76158.50%17.05%
State Farm GroupA++$468,02064.86%15.03%
Allstate Insurance GroupA+$146,72659.92%4.71%
Acuity a Mutual Insurance CoA+$111,54867.80%3.58%
Erie Insurance GroupA+$97,48077.43%3.13%
West Bend Mutual Insurance CoA$92,53554.56%2.97%
Liberty Mutual GroupA$78,17461.17%2.51%
USAA GroupA++$72,95877.68%2.34%

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The letter grades in financial ratings follow a traditional scale, wherein A is higher and B is lower.

The plus signs indicate financial strength. The strongest providers, from a financial perspective, are those with the highest letter grades and most plus signs.

As you can see, Wisconsin’s biggest insurance providers also have high ratings! All of them are in the A, A+, and A++ range.

– Companies with Best Customer Service Ratings

While financial strength is a great way to size up a company’s worthiness, it’s not the only way to compare options. You also want a company that can provide excellent customer service.

Car Insurance North Central Region Customer Reviews

In the North Central region, which comprises Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, the standout auto insurance company is Auto-Owners Insurance, followed by Country Financial and Cincinnati Insurance.

They are the top three highest-ranked companies in the region in terms of customer satisfaction.

Companies with the Most Complaints in Wisconsin

It’s great to know which companies should be at the top of your list. It’s perhaps even more helpful to know which companies should be avoided. Complaint rankings can help you figure that out.

Complaints don’t necessarily paint the clearest picture of every aspect of an insurance company, but they do signal some issues with human resources and perhaps with the size of the company.

Of course, the more customers a company has, the more complaints they are likely to accrue.

CompanyNational Median Complaint RatioCompany Complaint Ratio 2017Total Complaints 2017
American Family Insurance Group10.7973
Progressive Group10.75120
State Farm Group10.441482
Allstate Insurance Group10.5163
Acuity a Mutual Insurance Co10.265
Erie Insurance Group10.722
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co10.336
Liberty Mutual Group15.95222

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In Wisconsin in 2017, the top three companies in terms of complaints were State Farm Group, Liberty Mutual Group, and Allstate Insurance Group. It is worth noting that both Geico and USAA did not provide statistics.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Wisconsin

As you sift through the long list of car insurance companies available to Wisconsinites, you might feel like you’re flipping through the stats of a football team. There are many factors to consider!

We know that one major factor when it comes to auto insurance is price. Luckily, we’ve done that research too. When it comes to car insurance companies, there’s a wide range of rates.

The table below shows Wisconsin car insurance companies, along with their average rates. These will help you compare options when it comes to your wallet.

Allstate P&C$3,820.68
American Family Ins$1,513.26
Mid-Century Ins Co$3,777.49
Geico Cas$2,120.79
SAFECO Ins Co of IL$2,924.39
AMCO Insurance$5,224.99
Artisan and Truckers Casualty$3,128.91
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,126.31

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Commute Rates by Company

If you’ve got enough grit to brave the cold Wisconsin winters, it’s likely you’ve got the endurance to make it through a long commute. Maybe you commute to Milwaukee for work, or even to Chicago.

Or perhaps you live in the country and commute to a nearby town. No matter where you live, you probably enjoy a long, flat commute that is often interrupted by snowfall. Ah, gotta love Wisconsin.

Did you know that your commute time can affect your auto insurance rate? We’ve compiled the following statistics to give you a window into a commute’s impact on Wisconsin car insurance rates:

Company10 Miles Commute
6000 Annual Mileage
25 Miles Commute
12000 Annual Mileage
Liberty Mutual $2,924.39$2,924.39
State Farm $2,074.01$2,178.62
American Family$1,487.57$1,538.96

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You’ll want to look closely at those numbers. Shaving just 15 miles off your daily commute could save you a pretty penny.

Coverage Level Rates by Company

Once you decide which company you want to trust with your auto insurance, you’ll need to choose how much coverage you want.

Not so fast, though. You may want to first take a look at a comparison chart that shows the three coverage levels by company. That way, you’ll know which company is most affordable at each tier, and how a tier jump will affect the bottom line.

Do we have that comparison chart? You betcha!

CompanyLow CoverageMedium CoverageHigh Coverage
Liberty Mutual$2,688.32$2,951.27$3,133.59
State Farm$2,009.33$2,132.87$2,236.73
American Family $1,493.77$1,527.11$1,518.91

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Credit History Rates by Companies

Just like you shop around for car insurance companies, the insurers do plenty of their own arithmetic, especially when it comes to your rates. Plenty of factors, from location and gender to age and driving record, influence the quotes you’ll receive.

In Wisconsin, it is legal for auto insurance companies to use your credit score as a factor when determining your rate. The better your credit history, the less you will have to pay for auto insurance. The lower your score, the more you may end up paying.

To help make sense of this, we’ve made a chart that shows full coverage insurance costs broken down both by company and by credit score.

As you can see, Good and Fair scores receive similar rates. A score of “Poor” usually results in a significant increase.

CompanyGood Credit History Fair Credit HistoryPoor Credit History
Liberty Mutual$2,005.82$2,546.86$4,220.50
State Farm$1,386.69$1,820.90$3,171.35
American Family$1,178.86$1,334.71$2,026.23

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Let’s take a quick look at Wisconsin. The average credit score here is 696. The average Wisconsinite carries 2.8 credit cards. The average balance on those cards is $5,363.

So, the next time you think you’re alone with your credit card debt, think again. Plenty of your fellow citizens carry debt.

Driving Record Rates by Company

If you are hoping to lower your car insurance rate, one of the best things you can do is to pursue a clean driving record. Avoid tickets, moving violations, speeding, accidents, and driving while intoxicated.

We usually avoid the above incidents because we want to stay safe and avoid a fine. But a clean driving record can also positively impact your insurance premium.

If you haven’t had many auto accidents, your rate is likely to be lower. If you have a spotty driving record, companies will quote you a higher rate.

The table below shows just how much your driving record can change your rate.

CompanyClean RecordWith One Speeding ViolationWith One AccidentWith One DUI
Liberty Mutual$2,235.20$2,985.72$3,178.56$3,298.08
State Farm$1,955.72$2,126.31$2,296.91$2,126.31
American Family$1,447.69$1,535.12$1,535.12$1,535.12

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Largest Car Insurance Companies in Wisconsin

There are plenty of large car insurance companies across the United States. But do you know which ones do lots of business in Wisconsin?

We’ve compiled a list of the top-10 largest auto insurers in the state. You might recognize a few names, but others may surprise you.

CompanyDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
American Family Insurance Group$583,24359.38%18.73%
Progressive Group$530,76158.50%17.05%
State Farm Group$468,02064.86%15.03%
Allstate Insurance Group$146,72659.92%4.71%
Acuity a Mutual Insurance Co$111,54867.80%3.58%
Erie Insurance Group$97,48077.43%3.13%
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co$92,53554.56%2.97%
Liberty Mutual Group$78,17461.17%2.51%
USAA Group$72,95877.68%2.34%

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Find the Cheapest Insurance in Wisconsin Cities

This section helps residents of Wisconsin cities like Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine find affordable insurance options. Comparing rates allows individuals to secure suitable coverage at competitive prices.

Find the Cheapest Insurance in Your City
Green Bay, WI
Kenosha, WI
Madison, WI
Milwaukee, WI
Racine, WI

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Number of Insurers by State

Most of the largest car insurance providers operate all over the country. Smaller companies concentrate on one region or just one state.

Domestic providers are local to the state of Wisconsin. A so-called “foreign” provider operates on a national level.

If you plan to move to a different state in the next couple of years, you may want to choose a foreign provider. If you’re a Wisconsinite for life, it might make sense to go domestic.

Wisconsin Property & Casualty InsuranceNumber of Insurers
Foreign 813

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State Laws

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of car insurance in Wisconsin, you might feel ready to get behind the wheel. Before you do that, though, you’ll want to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the state’s laws.

Did you know that laws regarding auto insurance, road safety, and driving differ from state to state? Whether you are taking a road trip or planning a big move, now’s the time to read up on Wisconsin’s laws.

Car Insurance Laws

When it comes to legal jargon, laws about insurance can be some of the worst. You want to make sure you have the right coverage to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, but it’s hard to know what exactly is required.

That’s why we’ve done the work for you. Keep reading to get a detailed overview of car insurance laws in Wisconsin.

How State Laws for Insurance are Determined

Each state has its own legislative branch that makes laws regarding automobiles and auto insurance. States determine the type of tort law and threshold that applies within their borders, as well as the type and amount of liability insurance required.

The state of Wisconsin requires liability insurance and sets minimums. Wisconsin has its own Department of Motor Vehicles that is in charge of almost everything involving drivers, cars, car insurance, registration, and driving in Wisconsin.

Windshield Coverage

The windshield is one part of the car that is regulated by various state laws. Why? Well, it’s a pretty important, and expensive, part of the car. There are regulations regarding broken and cracked windshields, as well as auto insurers’ obligations to customers’ windshields.

In Wisconsin, insurers are allowed to use aftermarket parts when repairing and replacing windshields. Car owners can refuse the parts but must the pay the difference.

Car owners also have the right to choose their own windshield repair vendor, as long as they pay the quoted difference.

High-Risk Insurance

There is a special category of drivers labeled “high-risk.” These drivers maybe have had major traffic infractions or a series of minor infractions. Younger drivers and those who have had a DUI are often considered high-risk.

Sometimes high-risk drivers have trouble finding auto insurance, even if such insurance is required in Wisconsin.

In America’s Dairyland, the “insurer of last resort” is the Wisconsin Automobile Insurance Plan, or WAIP. Since 1946, the program has insured drivers who aren’t able to find an insurer through the traditional market.

WAIP isn’t an insurance provider. It’s an entity that is responsible for assigning drivers to insurers in the state.

The number of drivers each company is assigned is based on their market share. A company with a larger market share will take on more high-risk drivers.

When you apply for WAIP, you must show proof that you have been unable to obtain other auto insurance in the last 60 days. You must also have a valid driver’s license and a car that is registered in Wisconsin.

WAIP will cover you for four years or until you are able to find an insurer on your own.

You’ll want to keep a clean driving record and find another insurer quickly, as the premiums on WAIP can be significantly higher than traditional insurance plans.

Low-Cost Insurance

Wisconsin offers a program for high-risk drivers, but it does not offer a similar program for low-income families or individuals who are struggling to pay for car insurance.

California, New Jersey, and Hawaii all offer government-funded programs designed to help lower the costs of car insurance for families with limited incomes.

However, there are other ways to lower your costs.

Some insurers offer discounts for government employees. Others offer savings if you bundle your auto insurance with other types of insurance or if you pay your premium upfront.

Of course, the easiest and smartest way to lower your car insurance premium is to shop around. It’s worth it to compare rates and find the best deal.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Wisconsin

Let’s take a moment to talk about fraud.

Insurance fraud can happen across a wide variety of industries, including automobile insurance. Fraud can be committed by policyholders, applicants for insurance, claimants, and even insurance professionals.

Misrepresentation of facts on an insurance application counts as fraud, as well as submitting claims for damage or injuries that never occurred.

Oftentimes, fraud consists of “padding” or inflating claims in order to get more money from insurance companies.

Other examples of auto insurance fraud include setting fire to your own vehicle, using a false Social Security number on an application, or giving a false address in order to secure a cheaper rate. If you can believe it, some people actually stage fake accidents.

Insurance companies themselves can commit auto insurance fraud by refusing to pay valid claims or selling bad insurance policies.

Wisconsin is one of 10 states that does not have an insurance fraud bureau to deal with situations like these. However, the state does consider insurance fraud to be a crime.

If you suspect a person or a company of insurance fraud, contact the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. The office is located at 125 South Webster Street, Madison, WI 53703.

You can also call them at 1-800-236-8517 or utilize this online complaint form.

Statute of Limitations

If you’ve been involved in a real accident, you may want to issue a claim. The statute of limitations describes the amount of time you have after a vehicle accident to issue a claim.

In Wisconsin, you have three years to issue a claim related to personal injury. You also have three years to issue a claim related to property damage.

That may sound like a long time, but the days and months fly by when you’re dealing with the after-effects of an automobile accident. It is best to file as soon as possible in order to receive support from your insurance company.

State-Specific Laws

Though auto insurance is required of all drivers in Wisconsin, there is one legal way you can get by without car insurance.

Self-insurance is an option for those who can prove that they have the ability to pay the damages an insurer would under a standard insurance policy. AKA: you have enough money to be your own insurance company.

To qualify for this, you must provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of a $60,000 deposit to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. For those who own more than 25 vehicles, there is an application process.

Vehicle Licensing Laws

Just like every other state, Wisconsin has its own vehicle licensing laws.

They cover who can obtain a license, what the renewal process looks like, and other restrictions that might be placed on a licensed driver. Let’s take a look at vehicle licensing laws in Wisconsin.

Real ID

One of the most notable licensing laws concerns REAL ID. The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005, set federal standards for the issuance of drivers licenses.

Wisconsin offers both compliant and non-compliant IDs. Wisconsin drivers with REAL IDs should have no trouble when it comes to flying or traveling across the United States with their licenses. Look for the star in the upper corner of the license.

Federal agencies accept identification cards and driver’s licenses from Wisconsin at federal facilities, including nuclear power plants.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

As we’ve seen, the state of Wisconsin requires all drivers to have auto insurance. Proof of insurance must be in the vehicle or accessed digitally (on a smartphone/tablet).

In Wisconsin, the penalty for driving without insurance is a fine of up to $500. In addition to that fine, at-fault drivers may end up paying thousands of out-of-pocket dollars in damages.

Teen Driver Laws

Do you remember the thrill of getting your driver’s license as a 16-year-old? Or even the joy of obtaining a learner’s permit? That first taste of driving is awesome, but it’s also an especially dangerous time.

In Wisconsin, certain restrictions have been put in place to help protect teen drivers and those on the road with them. It’s important to be aware of these restrictions, whether you are a teenager, know a teen, or simply drive on public roadways.

Requirements for Getting a License in WisconsinDetails
Minimum Entry Age15, 6 months
Mandatory Holding Period6 months
Minimum Supervised Driving Time30 hours, 10 must be at night
Minimum Age16
Unsupervised Driving Prohibited Midnight - 5 a.m.
Nighttime Restrictions9 months or until age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 16, 9 mos.)

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Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

Many states have passed additional requirements that are specific to older drivers. These rules seek to help older drivers and those that know and love them.

In Wisconsin, the regulations for the general population and older population are identical. All drivers must renew their licenses every eight years. Proof of adequate vision is required for all drivers at every renewal.

Finally, all renewals must be done in-person at the DMV. There are no online or mail-in renewals for any drivers, no matter their age.

New Residents

Welcome to Wisconsin. We love new neighbors. That friendliness extends to the DMV and driver’s licensing procedures.

New Wisconsin residents are required to apply for a WI license within 60 days of establishing residency. Those with a CDL must apply within 30 days.

If you have held a valid license within the last eight years, you will not be required to take a written or driving exam.

If you have been previously convicted of a serious driving offense, you may have to bring proof of insurance in addition to the other documents needed in order to obtain a license.

License Renewal Procedures

All drivers must renew their licenses every eight years. Proof of adequate vision is required for all drivers at every renewal, but most drivers will not need to take a written or driving exam at the time of renewal.

All renewals must be done in-person at the DMV. There are no online or mail-in renewals.

Negligent Operator Treatment System

In Wisconsin, moving violations are tracked with a point system. More demerit points earn you more penalties.

If you accumulate 12 or more points over the course of a year, your driver’s license will be suspended. For those with a regular driver’s license, the points system looks like this:

  • 12-16 points assessed – two-month suspension
  • 17-22 points assessed – four-month suspension
  • 23-30 points assessed – six-month suspension
  • More than 30 points assessed – one-year suspension

For those with a probationary license, or for those who have never been issued a license, the timeline is compressed:

  • 12-30 points assessed – six-month suspension
  • More than 30 points assessed – one-year suspension

Point total can be reduced by attending a traffic safety course. Violations range from the two-point “defective speedometer” to the six-point “attempting to elude an officer.”

Points are not assessed for convictions in other states. However, out-of-state convictions will be filed on the individual’s driving record. Certain convictions will require the state to take action.

Rules of the Road

Once you’re licensed to drive, you want to hit the road. Of course, it’s not a free-for-all on the Wisconsin highways, even on game days.

There are state-specific laws and regulations that keep traffic moving safely, efficiently, and with respect for everyone on the road. It’s time to check out some of the most important rules of the road and laws in the state of Wisconsin.

Fault vs. No-Fault

States can fall into two camps when it comes to auto accidents. In no-fault states, no blame is assigned for accidents and insurance companies cover drivers’ medical expenses automatically.

Wisconsin, on the other hand, is an at-fault state. (Most states in the US are at-fault states).

That means when an auto accident occurs in Wisconsin, the blame will be placed on someone. The party who caused the incident or accident is financially responsible for all damages to other parties.

This is why it’s smart (and legally required) to carry auto insurance in Wisconsin.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

When it comes to car accidents, seat belts save lives. Below is an overview of seat belt laws in Wisconsin. They’ve been in effect here since the 1980s, so there’s no excuse not to use your seat belt in this state.

Safety Belt Laws in Wisconsin Details
Effective Since12/01/87
Primary Enforcement yes; effective 06/30/09
Age/Seats Applicable8+ years in all seats
1st Offense Maximum Fine$10

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Small children are precious cargo. Just like seat belts, car seats keep kids and infants safe. Below is an overview of car seat laws in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Car Seat RequirementsDetails
Must be in child safety seatchildren younger than 1 and all children who weigh less than 20 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing child restraint; children 1 through 3 years who weigh at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing or a forward-facing child restraint; children 4 through 7 who both weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are less than 57 inches tall are required to be in a forward-facing child restraint or booster seat
Adult safety belt permissible8 years and younger and more than 80 pounds and 57 inches or taller
Maximum fine 1st offense$75
Preference for rear seatChildren 3 and younger must be in a rear seat, if available

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Many of today’s seats and cars feature the LATCH system. This video gives an overview of the safety system that saves lives.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

You might think you know the rules of the road. Then you travel to another state, and the highway traffic moves a little bit differently.

Sometimes it can be tough to know which lane to use. Each state has different rules and guidelines when it comes to lane usage.

In Wisconsin, the laws are clear. Drivers should stay to the right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around them.

Speed Limits

Accidents are bound to happen when vehicle drivers are not following posted speed limits. Accidents can even be made worse– sometimes much worse– when accidents involve vehicles traveling at high speeds.

It is best to always be on the lookout for speed limit signs, no matter where you are, and to keep each state’s general speed limit laws in mind.

Luckily, Wisconsin’s speed limits are simple:

Type of RoadwaySpeed Limit
Rural Interstates70 mph
Urban Interstates70 mph
Other Limited Access Roads 70 mph
Other Roads55 mph

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Do you remember a time before ridesharing? Nowadays, it can seem like Lyft and Uber have been around for decades, when these companies are actually relatively young.

The practice of ridesharing continues to become more popular each year, both with drivers and riders. It can help save on the cost of gas and vehicle upkeep, it can get you places faster, and it helps the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road.

If you or someone you know is considering getting into the ridesharing business, you should note that only a few of Wisconsin’s insurance providers offer coverage for rideshare drivers.

Those providers are:

  • Allstate
  • Geico
  • Farmers
  • State Farm
  • American Family Insurance

Some of these coverages are simply extensions to your regular insurance policy. As with your usual auto insurance, it can be helpful to shop around for rideshare insurance to see which company can offer the best quote.

Automation on the Road

Many residents of Wisconsin and other states are excited about autonomous features and even driverless cars on our roads. This state, along with the University of Wisconsin, is hoping to be a hub for driverless technology.

Facilities and test tracks throughout the state provide “proving grounds” for autonomous vehicles. The UW-Madison campus was chosen by USDOT as one of just a few official locations for vehicle testing.

During his time in office, Governor Scott Walker spearheaded a steering committee on autonomous vehicle testing and deployment.

At this time, the state of Wisconsin has not passed legislation concerning the testing or deployment of autonomous vehicles, but residents can expect to encounter testing vehicles in specific locations, especially near the UW-Madison campus.

Safety Laws

In addition to rules that govern driving in Wisconsin, there are a number of regulations that cover impaired driving, distracted driving, and other safety issues.

It’s important to drive defensively and always be as safe as possible while on the road. Let’s take a look at the laws around alcohol, drugs, and other things that can impair driving.

DUI Laws

Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is no joke. Intoxicated drivers cause accidents every year, and many of them are fatal. In 2017, 23,541 people were arrested in Wisconsin for driving under the influence.

That same year, there were 190 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state. That’s almost a third of total driving fatalities in 2017.

Each state creates its own laws when it comes to intoxicated driving. In Wisconsin, the formal name for the offense is OWI, or Operating While Intoxicated.

Check out the table below for an overview of DUI laws in Wisconsin.

Name of OffenseOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)
BAC Limit0.08
High BAC Limit0.17-.199; 0.2-0.249; 0.25+
Criminal Status1st municipal offense, 2nd-3rd misdemeanors, 4th in 5 years and 5th-6th anytime class H felony, 7th-9th class G felony, 10th+ class F felony
Look Back Period 10 years

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If you are caught drinking and driving, you can face serious consequences, such as jail time, license revocation, and steep fines. The table below outlines the consequences for those caught driving while intoxicated in Wisconsin.

Type of Repercussion 1st Offense2nd Offense3rd Offense
License Revoked6-9 months. If 2nd in 10 years: occupational license can be applied for in 45 days. If 2nd in 11+ years: occupational license can apply immediately.2nd in 10 years, 12-18 months; 2nd in 11+ years, 6-9 months2-3 years
Jail Timenone, unless passenger under 16 in vehicle: 5 days - 6 month
2nd in 10 years: 5 days - 6 months, safe streets options: 5-7 days; passenger under 16 in vehicle: 5 days - 6 months. 2nd in 11+ years, none.
45 days -1 year; safer streets option: 14 days - 1 year
Fine$150-$300 +$365 OWI surcharge2nd in 10 years: $350-$1100 +$365 surcharge. 2nd in 11+ years: $150-$300 +$365 surcharge
$600-$2000 +$365 OWI surcharge
OtherIID required for HBAC, alcohol assessment required, 6 points on licenseIID required, alcohol assessment required, 6 points on licenseIID required, alcohol assessment required, 6 points on license

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Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

When you see the phrase “driving while intoxicated,” you might think of alcohol. But in many states, driving under the influence of marijuana is considered a major offense.

With the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana occurring in many states, it is critical that you know the marijuana-impaired driving laws across the country.

Wisconsin has tough laws when it comes to marijuana and driving. Additionally, marijuana use of any kind is illegal in Wisconsin. Drug laws prohibit both the use and possession of marijuana.

It is also illegal to drive a car while under the influence of marijuana. You can be arrested for a marijuana-related OWI if police suspect there is marijuana in your system. They might see you driving erratically or deem you otherwise unsafe as a driver.

You can also be charged with an OWI if police find any trace of marijuana in your bloodstream. You don’t have to be obviously impaired.

Remember: You can test positive for marijuana up to a month after you smoke or ingest it. In Wisconsin, you cannot have any amount of a drug in your system when driving.

Driving under the influence of marijuana in Wisconsin will get you fined between $150 and $300 on your first offense.

A second offense will net a fine between $350 and $1,100, up to six months in jail, and at least one year (and up 18 months) of license suspension. The fines and jail time increase on third and fourth offenses.

In Wisconsin, a fourth OWI offense is considered a Class H felony.

Distracted Driving Laws

No one should be If your eyes are not on the road, you could be putting yourself at risk of a dangerous accident.

As smartphones and tablets make their way into the hands of more and more US citizens, drivers are bound to want to use them in the car. Unfortunately, this can cause accidents– many of them deadly.

In order to discourage distracted driving, the state of Wisconsin has instituted a number of laws and regulations concerning phone use while driving.

There is a ban on using hand-held cellular devices while driving through construction areas. This ban applies to all ages.

Additionally, those holding a learner’s permit or an intermediate/probationary license are banned from cell phone use while driving.

Texting while driving is illegal for all Wisconsin drivers.

This short PSA on distracted driving was created by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

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Driving in Wisconsin

Driving in new places can be tough. Even though road trips and new experiences are fun, there are some stresses that come with driving in a new-to-you state.

We’re here to help make driving in Wisconsin a pleasant experience. Whether you’re headed to downtown Milwaukee or taking a leisurely drive up north, you should be able to handle the state’s roads easily and comfortably.

Next, we’ll take an even deeper dive into some facts and figures that impact driving in Wisconsin.

Vehicle Theft in Wisconsin

Vehicle theft: It might just top the list of things no one wants to experience. Unfortunately, it does happen, and not just to luxury vehicle owners. Many cars stolen in Wisconsin are run-of-the-mill models.

These are the top stolen vehicles in the state for 2017.

Make/ModelYear of VehicleThefts
Dodge Caravan20021,035
Honda Civic1998470
Honda Accord1997450
Chrysler Town & Country2002313
Chevrolet Impala2007232
Dodge Stratus 2002209
Toyota Camry2007191
Chevrolet Malibu2015179
Dodge Intrepid2002179
Honda CR-V2000172

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Dodge Caravan is the #1 stolen vehicle. Yes, a minivan! The 2002 version was stolen the most, but other versions were also stolen. Sedans and CR-Vs were commonly stolen too.

If you are especially concerned about vehicle theft,  consider the cities where theft is most likely to occur. You may find that you are more or less worried than you really need to be.

CityNumber of Motor Vehicle Thefts
Balsam Lake1
Beaver Dam1
Beaver Dam Township0
Beloit Town4
Big Bend2
Black River Falls0
Blue Mounds1
Brookfield Township6
Brown Deer42
Campbell Township3
Chippewa Falls14
Cottage Grove2
Cross Plains2
Cuba City1
Delavan Town3
De Pere4
Eagle River3
Eagle Village0
East Troy0
Eau Claire84
Elkhart Lake0
Elk Mound0
Elm Grove4
Everest Metropolitan0
Fall Creek0
Fall River0
Fond du Lac31
Fort Atkinson4
Fox Lake0
Fox Point5
Fox Valley Metro7
Geneva Town0
Genoa City0
Grand Chute19
Grand Rapids2
Green Bay88
Green Lake0
Hales Corners8
Hartford Township0
Hazel Green0
Iron Ridge0
Iron River1
La Crosse56
La Farge0
Lake Delton8
Lake Geneva7
Lake Hallie9
Lake Mills3
Linn Township1
Lyndon Station0
Maple Bluff3
Marathon City0
Marshall Village2
Menomonee Falls40
Menomonie 212
Milton Town0
Mineral Point1
Mount Horeb0
Mount Pleasant24
Mukwonago Town0
New Berlin4
New Glarus2
New Holstein0
New Lisbon0
New London0
New Richmond5
North Fond du Lac4
North Hudson2
North Prairie0
Oak Creek55
Oconomowoc Lake0
Oconomowoc Town0
Oconto 23
Oconto Falls2
Park Falls0
Pewaukee Village2
Pleasant Prairie13
Port Edwards0
Port Washington1
Prairie du Chien2
Racine 2129
Rib Lake0
Rice Lake14
Richland Center3
Ripon Town2
River Falls19
River Hills0
Rome Town0
Sauk Prairie1
Sheboygan Falls0
Shorewood Hills5
South Milwaukee21
Spring Green0
Spring Valley1
St. Croix Falls2
Stevens Point5
St. Francis6
Sturgeon Bay3
Sun Prairie21
Three Lakes1
Town of East Troy0
Town of Madison26
Town of Menasha14
Twin Lakes3
Two Rivers6
West Allis184
West Bend17
West Milwaukee43
West Salem1
Whitefish Bay18
Wild Rose0
Williams Bay0
Wisconsin Dells11
Wisconsin Rapids30

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As you may have expected, Milwaukee is the epicenter of vehicle theft in Wisconsin. Oshkosh, Oak Creek, Racine, and Superior also have fairly high levels of theft.

Road Fatalities in Wisconsin

Fatalities are not a pleasant subject. No one wants to consider the worst-case scenario when they’re out for a drive.

However, it can be helpful to take a look at what the research says about the risks and realities in Wisconsin. Once we know the stats, we can make choices to keep ourselves safe.

There are many ways to think about road fatalities. We’ll look at a few that might give you insight into where, when, and how fatal road accidents occur.

Most Fatal Highway in Wisconsin

Each state has a highway that can be considered the most fatal. These long, busy stretches of road are some of the most dangerous, and often some of the most heavily trafficked as well.

The Wisconsin section of I-94 has seen 115 fatal highway accidents over the last decade. It also happens to be the oldest section of highway in the state.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

Weather and light can contribute to automobile accidents and accident-related deaths.

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal

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Are you surprised by what this table shows? Most fatal accidents actually occur during normal weather, rather than icy or otherwise wintry conditions. Many occur in darkness, too. If you must drive in the dark, it is best to choose areas that are well-lit.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Another way we can look at automobile accident fatalities is by comparing the counties where they occur.

This table lists the top 10 counties for fatal car crashes.

County Name20132014201520162017
Milwaukee County4666817486
Dane County3529303832
Waukesha County2824102726
Brown County99151825
Walworth County1112142421
Dodge County914111220
Outagamie County1313131420
Kenosha County191761818
Shawano County5106816
Marathon County19915915

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Milwaukee county tops the list, followed by Dane and Waukesha counties. The county order has remained consistent from year to year, while some counties have fluctuating stats.

Shawano county, for example, saw a huge leap in auto accident fatalities in 2017.

Traffic Fatalities

Now we’ll turn to rural and urban traffic fatality rates in Wisconsin, using data provided by the NHTSA.

As you can see, fatal car accidents in Wisconsin are much more likely to occur in rural areas, even across a nine-year period.

Road Type2008200920102011201220132014201520162017

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This may be due in part to the fact much of Wisconsin is considered “rural.”

Fatalities by Person Type

One can also examine fatalities by crash type. Incidents occur both on and off the roadway. Not all crashes involve two cars. There might be just one vehicle involved or many.  No two incidents look exactly alike.

Person Type20132014201520162017
Passenger Car213209236250256
Light Truck - Pickup6464705771
Light Truck - Utility7162568570
Light Truck - Van2727253840
Light Truck - Other10110
Large Truck13118710
Other/Unknown Occupants191192023
Total Occupants409384405458470
Total Motorcyclists8573818577
Bicyclist and Other Cyclist10415117
Other/Unknown Non-occupants20823
Total Non-occupants4949806466
Total 543506566607613

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In Wisconsin, most deaths occur in passenger cars and light trucks. There have been very few fatalities involving bus accidents, bicyclists, or large trucks.

Fatalities by Crash Type

Another helpful way to look at the stats is to consider crash type.

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)543506566607613
Single Vehicle285279302338318
Involving a Large Truck8355566982
Involving Speeding178168167212180
Involving a Rollover153147152170169
Involving a Roadway Departure344314344358325
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)136140152171178

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As we can see from the table, many crashes involve just one vehicle. Road departures are fairly common.

Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties

The part of Wisconsin in which one lives not only has an impact on car insurance rates, but can affect how many fatal crashes a person might see each year.  We’ve crunched the numbers to see the five-year trends for Wisconsin’s counties.

County Name20132014201520162017
Milwaukee County4666817486
Dane County3529303832
Waukesha County2824102726
Brown County99151825
Walworth County1112142421
Dodge County914111220
Outagamie County1313131420
Kenosha County191761818
Shawano County5106816
Marathon County19915915

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Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

There’s a reason why speed limits are posted at all times. Speeding is not only dangerous for the driver of a car, but for everyone else on the road. Unfortunately, speeding is often a major factor in fatal car accidents.

In this table, you can see the number of fatalities in crashes that involved speeding, broken down by county.

County NameFatalitiesFatalities Per 100,000 Population
Adams County0130004.9714.9800
Ashland County0102106.25012.796.45
Barron County0210004.412.200
Bayfield County2141013.236.6826.76.690
Brown County6361152.361.172.334.241.91
Buffalo County0101007.5507.60
Burnett County2213313.1113.146.6119.719.54
Calumet County000130002.015.99
Chippewa County212023.171.583.1503.13
Clark County121342.895.822.918.6811.53
Columbia County421437.073.531.777.035.24
Crawford County003100018.376.140
Dane County108111191.961.552.112.071.68
Dodge County251432.275.671.144.583.42
Door County102103.6207.323.660
Douglas County211124.572.
Dunn County7455415.99.0811.3111.288.95
Eau Claire County102420.9801.963.891.93
Florence County01111023.0123.0123.0722.88
Fond Du Lac County235421.962.944.913.911.95
Forest County3102133.0110.99022.1711.15
Grant County521129.813.871.921.923.85
Green County212335.422.715.428.158.14
Green Lake County00100005.3500
Iowa County4001116.98004.264.22
Iron County2001134.310017.6517.63
Jackson County000130004.8814.61
Jefferson County242022.364.742.3702.36
Juneau County3122011.
Kenosha County750934.182.9805.361.78
Kewaunee County100114.91004.914.89
La Crosse County0203601.702.555.07
Lafayette County1100265.960011.95
Langlade County0100005.19000
Lincoln County202027.0607.1807.18
Manitowoc County452014.976.252.5201.26
Marathon County1143438.152.962.222.962.21
Marinette County311137.272.442.462.487.44
Marquette County02022013.27013.2113.07
Menominee County01100022.2722.1700
Milwaukee County23263440382.42.713.554.193.99
Monroe County311226.652.222.214.414.38
Oconto County212125.352.675.342.675.33
Oneida County230205.638.505.650
Outagamie County231341.111.650.551.622.15
Ozaukee County202112.2902.281.131.13
Pepin County01000013.7000
Pierce County102122.4504.882.414.77
Polk County0324106.924.639.242.3
Portage County421045.682.841.4205.68
Price County101227.2807.3614.914.88
Racine County3512561.542.576.162.563.06
Richland County120005.6111.28000
Rock County4451022.492.483.16.191.23
Rusk County102006.96014.1800
Sauk County163211.599.524.743.141.56
Sawyer County0111006.116.146.120
Shawano County0303407.2607.339.77
Sheboygan County344242.623.483.471.743.47
St. Croix County222112.342.312.291.141.13
Taylor County110114.94.904.934.92
Trempealeau County0110003.393.3900
Vernon County05120016.563.36.550
Vilas County101304.6804.6713.980
Walworth County434583.892.913.94.867.76
Washburn County3020219.16012.89012.69
Washington County165620.754.493.734.471.48
Waukesha County91111472.282.780.253.521.75
Waupaca County6044211.5207.747.793.9
Waushara County122224.128.298.348.298.21
Winnebago County431222.361.770.591.181.17
Wood County103401.3504.095.460

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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC = .08+) by County

Speeding is dangerous, but it isn’t the only important factor to consider.

Each year, too many fatal car accidents across Wisconsin are caused by those who have been drinking and driving.

FatalitiesFatalities Per 100,000 Population
Adams County0122204.979.981010.01
Ashland County100006.260000
Barron County301006.5802.200
Bayfield County3042119.84026.713.396.66
Brown County3268111.180.782.333.084.2
Buffalo County02010015.107.60
Burnett County2103213.116.57019.713.03
Calumet County0111102.022.012.012
Chippewa County404016.3406.3101.57
Clark County4314511.588.722.9111.5714.42
Columbia County303825.3105.314.063.49
Crawford County0101006.1206.140
Dane County15139882.942.521.721.511.49
Dodge County142321.144.542.283.432.28
Door County110003.623.64000
Douglas County311026.862.292.304.62
Dunn County404419.0909.059.022.24
Eau Claire County211501.970.980.984.860
Florence County01000023.01000
Fond Du Lac County103320.9802.942.941.95
Forest County3112133.0110.9911.1122.1711.15
Grant County221413.923.871.927.691.92
Green County300118.13002.722.71
Green Lake County00110005.355.370
Iowa County201118.4904.244.264.22
Iron County1011117.16017.4917.6517.63
Jackson County201239.7304.879.7714.61
Jefferson County311363.541.181.183.557.07
Juneau County4123215.063.87.611.387.53
Kenosha County6809103.594.7705.365.93
Kewaunee County100114.91004.914.89
La Crosse County323352.571.72.552.554.23
Lafayette County2001411.99005.9623.89
Langlade County03100015.585.2500
Lincoln County212247.063.567.187.1814.37
Manitowoc County4101124.9712.511.261.262.53
Marathon County526213.711.484.431.480.74
Marinette County220224.844.8704.964.96
Marquette County00111006.616.616.53
Menominee County1030022.9066.5200
Milwaukee County17222820191.772.292.922.092
Monroe County211214.432.222.214.412.19
Oconto County127332.685.3418.688.017.99
Oneida County5213214.075.662.838.485.67
Outagamie County222391.
Ozaukee County101121.1501.141.132.26
Pepin County02000027.39000
Pierce County0225104.884.8812.072.39
Polk County0336406.926.9413.869.21
Portage County430045.684.26005.68
Price County100117.28007.457.44
Racine County4311432.051.545.652.051.53
Richland County150105.6128.1905.710
Rock County2571341.253.114.358.052.46
Rusk County002000014.1800
Sauk County374314.7811.116.324.721.56
Sawyer County0142106.1124.5412.236.09
Shawano County0125402.424.8712.219.77
Sheboygan County232231.742.611.741.742.6
St. Croix County154201.175.784.592.280
Taylor County102004.909.8500
Trempealeau County3140210.173.3913.5606.79
Vernon County0220306.626.609.75
Vilas County3013014.0404.6713.980
Walworth County467863.895.816.827.785.82
Washburn County00102006.45012.69
Washington County224311.51.52.992.230.74
Waukesha County8948112.
Waupaca County416327.681.9311.615.843.9
Waushara County131144.1212.444.174.1416.41
Winnebago County543232.952.361.771.181.76
Wood County305254.0606.822.736.84

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It’s never worth the risk. Don’t drink and drive.

Teen Drinking and Driving

Combine the effects of alcohol with the immature driving skills of a teenager, and you have a recipe for disaster. In Wisconsin, there are 1.3 under-21 alcohol-related driving deaths per 100,000 people. That’s higher than the national average of 1.2.

In 2016, Wisconsin police made 235 DUI arrests…involving people under the age of 18. That puts Wisconsin at #6 in the country for teen DUI arrests.

EMS Response Time

Car accidents can be horrible, but they aren’t always fatal. If emergency medical services can reach you quickly, you are more likely to survive a bad accident.

In the table below, you can see the difference in EMS response times across urban and rural parts of Wisconsin.

Time of Crash to EMS NotificationEMS Notification to EMS ArrivalEMS Arrival at Scene to Hospital ArrivalTime of Crash to Hospital ArrivalTotal Fatal Crashes

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In general, an EMS response is faster in an urban area where hospitals, ambulances, and other medical services are close at hand. In urban areas, crash victims arrive at hospitals faster.


Now that we’ve explored what it’s like to purchase insurance and deal with car accidents in Wisconsin, it’s time to take a look at car ownership, commute times, and traffic congestion in the Badger State.

Car Ownership

When it comes to car ownership, Wisconsinites fall right in line with the rest of the United States. The average Wisconsin household owns 2 vehicles.

Car ownership Wisconsin

Commute Time

If you’re moving to Wisconsin for work, you’re in luck! The average worker in the state has a shorter commute time (21.1 minutes) than workers across the country (25.5 minutes).

Wisconsin’s neighbors in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan all have longer commute times. Just over 1 percent of Wisconsinites have “super commutes” lasting 90 minutes or more.

Graph showing commute time in Wisconsin

Commuter Transportation

How to Wisconsin residents get to work? Maybe we can expect Wisconsinites to be up on the latest podcasts and music, because most of them drive alone. About 7 percent carpool. Even fewer work from home or choose to take public transportation.

Traffic Congestion in Wisconsin

Each year, INRIX creates a detailed scorecard on traffic congestion across the world’s cities. You may be wondering what the organization has to say about Milwaukee and Madison.

You’re in luck– we ran the numbers.

The great city of Milwaukee ranks 171st out of 220 cities worldwide. It ranks 37th out of cities in the United States.

In 2018, the average Milwaukee driver spent 61 hours sitting in traffic. The cost to each driver is estimated to be $846.

During the worst portions of the morning and afternoon commutes, Milwaukee drivers can travel up to 32 mph. Off-peak, it goes up to 46 mph. In free-flowing traffic, the average speed returns to about 50 mph.

Now let’s consider Madison. It fares a little worse than Milwaukee. Madison ranks 164th out of 220 cities across the globe. It ranks 35th in the U.S.

In 2018, the average driver in Madison spent 67 hours sitting in traffic. The cost to each driver is estimated to be $939.

During the worst portions of the morning and afternoon commutes, Madison drivers can travel up to 23 mph. Off-peak, it goes up to 31 mph. In free-flowing traffic, the average speed returns to about 35 mph.

You made it! Now you know everything (well, almost everything) there is to know about driving like a Cheesehead.

Did we miss anything? Did we hit the nail on the head? Are you now contemplating a move up north?

If you’re feeling ready, go ahead and enter your zip code below to compare free quotes for your Wisconsin car insurance.

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