A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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Miles of roadway62,073
Vehicles registered5,141,549
State population5,822,434
Most popular vehicleChevy Silverado 1500
Total driving-related deathsSpeeding Fatalities: 1,900
DUI Fatalities: 1,928
Average annual premiumsLiability $359.84
Collision $209.93
Comprehensive $126.34
Cheapest providersAmerican Family Insurance and USAA
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Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, is located in the north midwestern section of the nation. It’s surrounded by the Great Lakes of Michigan. The state alone produces most of the nation’s dairy products, with cheese being their most popular item.

Wisconsin is the 23rd largest state and is known as the Badger State.

If you’re a native of Wisconsin, there is even more to be proud of. But do you know what else you can be proud of? Picking the right insurance company for your car. Although you might have a car insurance company already, you may not like your rates, or you may want to get more coverage.

In this guide, we’re going to help you learn about insurance so that you can get the best rates and get a company that suits your needs. We’ll answer all the important questions so that you can be the best driver you can be.

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Table of Contents

Wisconsin Car Insurance Rates

In this portion of our guide, we’re going to cover the type of coverage that’s required for Wisconsin and how much the rates are for the coverage you need.

If you’re moving to the Badger State, take notes — this is going to be important for you before you get settled into your new home state. The coverage rates are going to differ from what you’re used to, and you may need more coverage than before.

How much coverage is required for Wisconsin’s minimum coverage?

Wisconsin requires liability insurance of 25/50/10. If you don’t know what liability insurance is, it’s the amount of coverage you need to pay for damages and injuries of the other drivers in case you’re in an accident. The 25/50/10 rule means:

  • $25,000 for bodily harm or death to one person
  • $50,000 for bodily harm to two or more people
  • $10,000 for property damage

This coverage doesn’t cover you or your vehicle. You’ll have to get comprehensive or collision insurance to cover yourself.

Wisconsin is an at-fault state. If a driver has damages to their car or suffers injuries because of a car accident, they can do a few things:

  • File a claim with their insurance company.
  • File a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance.
  • File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This will occur in civil court.

Comprehensive insurance helps you repair or replace your car if it’s damaged or stolen and not in a collision. Collision insurance helps you repair or replace your car if you’ve been in an accident.

As a driver, you can use an electronic version of your insurance to show to police officers and other drivers. You can download an electronic insurance card from your insurance company’s website, or you can pull it up on your app.

Make sure that your company offers this service. Not all companies allow you to have your insurance card digitally.

Do gender and age affect my car insurance in Wisconsin?

Do you know that your gender can affect your car insurance? In some states, insurers determine rates based on your gender and age. Rates for teenagers can be higher than adults who are 25 and older.

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$2,492.10
American Family Ins$958.90$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$2,174.00$2,277.36
Geico Cas$1,292.65$1,428.00$1,341.28$1,540.98$4,301.84$4,635.16$1,195.24$1,231.20
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$2,040.80
AMCO Insurance$3,597.48$3,785.31$2,981.78$3,141.26$7,388.96$11,333.17$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$1,345.30$1,345.30$1,195.81$1,195.81$3,833.87$4,845.21$1,516.77$1,732.41
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The company with the highest insurance rates for 17-year-old male drivers is AMCO Insurance. American Family Insurance has the lowest rate for teens, both male and female. The company that has the lowest rates for younger and older drivers is American Family. The company with the highest rates is AMCO.

This data is based on coverage purchased in Wisconsin.

What are the cheapest rates by ZIP code in Wisconsin?

Certain ZIP codes are most expensive than others. ZIP codes rates can be very different even though they are insured by the same company. In the table below you can see which ZIP codes in Wisconsin are more expensive.

ZIP CodeAverageAllstate P&CAmerican Family InsMid-Century Ins CoGeico CasSAFECO Ins Co of ILAMCO InsuranceArtisan and Truckers CasualtyState Farm Mutual AutoUSAA
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Below are the least expensive ZIP codes.

ZIP CodeAverageAllstate P&CAmerican Family InsMid-Century Ins CoGeico CasSAFECO Ins Co of ILAMCO InsuranceArtisan and Truckers CasualtyState Farm Mutual AutoUSAA
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ZIP codes that have American Family Insurance have lower rates than other companies. Geico and State Farm have the next best rates.

What are the cheapest rates by city in Wisconsin?

The table below lists the more expensive cites for insurance.

CityAverage Grand Total
Heafford Junction$3,569.38
Jump River$3,572.87
Shell Lake$3,246.88
Stone Lake$3,252.68
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Milwaukee has the highest rate with the total being $4028.92. Below are the less expensive cities.

CityAverage Grand Total
Combined Locks$2,518.18
De Pere$2,521.59
Elkhart Lake$2,564.46
Forest Junction$2,540.14
Green Bay$2,540.99
Little Chute$2,561.22
New Holstein$2,597.36
Sheboygan Falls$2,513.86
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The city with the cheapest rates is Kaukauna. Its rate of $2,491.30 is $1537.62 less than Milwaukee’s rate.

What are forms of financial responsibility in Wisconsin?

If you have insurance, you have to prove it. Proof of financial responsibility in Wisconsin is showing that you have liability insurance. You can also obtain a bond from an insurance company or give a $60,000 cash deposit to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

How much percentage of income are premiums in Wisconsin?

In 2014 Wisconsin households had an average disposable income of $39,433. The cost of insurance was $716.83. During this time residents in the Badger State paid 0.47 percent less than the national average. In 2013 the amount of disposable income was $37,835 per household — $1,598 less than the previous year.

In 2013, the cost of insurance was 0.57 percent less than the national average.

Insurance as a percent of income stays the same between 2013 and 2014. During 2012, residents had $209 more in disposable income and the cost of insurance was $22.98 less with the cost of insurance being 0.57 percent less than the national average.
Want to know how much of your income goes toward your car insurance? Use the calculator below.


What are the core coverages in Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin average for core coverage is $767.38, and the national average is $1,062.23.

Coverage TypesAverage Annual Costs
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The data in this table comes from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

What additional liability is available in Wisconsin?

Drivers should get additional liability coverage to cover themselves in accidents. You can get PIP, personal injury protection. PIP covers loss of income and income continuation benefits. Medical payment coverage, or MedPay, covers medical and funeral expenses that the car owner and others suffered because of a car accident. In this table, you can view the loss ratio, which is the ratio of claims paid out to premiums earned.

Loss Ratio201520142013
Medical PaymentsN/AN/AN/A
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage77.4268.4662.54
Personal Injury ProtectionN/AN/AN/A
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If a loss ratio is too high, carriers are not collecting enough premiums. If the loss ratio is low, the carrier is collecting more premiums than it needs. Loss ratios under 40 percent are low, ratios over 75 percent are high.

There is also uninsured motorist coverage that covers drivers when they are in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance. Underinsured coverage protects drivers when they are in an accident with a driver that doesn’t have enough insurance.

What add-ons, endorsements, and riders are available in Wisconsin?

Check out these links and discover more about the add-ons and additional coverage available in Wisconsin.

  • Guaranteed auto protection (GAP) — GAP insurance covers the value of the car’s worth and the financed amount of the vehicle before the accident.
  • Personal umbrella policy (PUP) — A PUP policy provides more liability that covers more than your insurance limits.
  • Rental reimbursement — Coverage that helps you pay for rental car costs while your car in the shop.
  • Emergency roadside assistance – service that helps you when your car breakdown on the road.
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance — Mechanical breakdown insurance pays for unexpected breakdowns.
  • Non-owner car insurance — Non-owner insurance is a liability policy for drivers who drive but don’t own a car.
  • Modified car insurance coverage — Modified car insurance is for custom changes to your car.
  • Classic car insurance — Classic car insurance is for older or antique cars.
  • Pay-as-you-drive or usage-based insurance — Pay-as-you-drive determines your rates by how many miles you drive.

Learn more about the type of insurance you can have or will need as a driver. Know what benefits you can have.

What is Wisconsin’s car culture?

Let’s talk about Wisconsin’s car culture.

Did you know Wisconsin was home to a few car manufacturers? This was back when cars were new and weren’t as popular as they are today. The most famous company to make Wisconsin its home was Nash Motors. The Kenosha plant, also located in Wisconsin, was the largest automobile producer outside of Detroit in the 1910s.

In 1901, William S. Harley designed an engine that could fit into a bicycle frame. This creation later led to the making of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles that you see on the road today.

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Best Wisconsin Car Insurance Companies

Many car insurance companies claim to be the best, but are they really telling the truth? This can be confusing and overwhelming when trying to find good car insurance. In this section, we’ll view which companies have the best rankings, ratings, and which has the most complaints.

What are the financial ratings of the largest car insurance companies in Wisconsin?

Here are the best financially rated companies.

This data comes from A.M. Best. A.M. Best is a company that rates car insurance on their financial rankings. Ratings range from A++ to D.

American Family Insurance GroupA
Acuity a Mutual Insurance CoA+
Allstate Insurance GroupA+
Erie Insurance GroupA+
Liberty Mutual GroupA
Progressive GroupA+
State Farm GroupA++
USAA GroupA++
West Bend Mutual Insurance CoA
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The companies with the best ratings are Geico, State Farm, and USAA.

Which car insurance companies have the best ratings in Wisconsin?

In this table, we’re going to view the best-rated car insurance companies. The ratings are based on a 1000-point scale that comes from J.D. Power and is based on the companies’ performance.

American Family825
Liberty Mutual792
Northwest Average816
PEMCO Insurance850
State Farm820
The Hartford833
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The best-rated company is USAA. USAA is for military personnel and their families. The next best-rated company is PEMCO.

Which car insurance companies have the most complaints in Wisconsin?

Every company has complaints, and car insurance companies are no different. In this table, you’ll see which company has the most complaints. This data is from 2019.

Acuity a Mutual Insurance Co18
Allstate Insurance Group334
American Family Insurance Group81
Erie Insurance Group48
Liberty Mutual Group167
Progressive Group105
State Farm Group1,547
USAA Group 277
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co 11
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The company with the most complaints is State Farm. West Bend Mutual has the least complaints.

What are the cheapest car insurance companies in Wisconsin?

Car insurance rates vary from state to state. Some of the companies might have a drastic price difference depending on what region you’re moving from. In the table below you’ll see Wisconsin’s cheapest insurance companies.

CompanyAverageCompared to State Average 
Allstate P&C$3,820.68$862.7422.58%
American Family Ins$1,513.26-$1,444.68-95.47%
Mid-Century Ins Co$3,777.49$819.5521.70%
Geico Cas$2,120.79-$837.14-39.47%
SAFECO Ins Co of IL$2,924.39-$33.55-1.15%
AMCO Insurance$5,224.99$2,267.0543.39%
Artisan and Truckers Casualty$3,128.91$170.975.46%
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,126.31-$831.63-39.11%
Total Average$2,957.94$0.000.00%
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USAA is the cheapest insurance in Wisconsin, but as stated before, it’s only for the military. The cheapest insurance company for the public is American Family Insurance.

Does my commute affect my car insurance rate in Wisconsin?

Having a long commute can affect your car insurance rates. If you have a long commute you may pay more for insurance.

Group10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.
American Family$1,487.57$1,538.96
Liberty Mutual$2,924.39$2,924.39
State Farm$2,074.01$2,178.62
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Nationwide charges the most for 10-mile commutes and 25-mile commutes. American Family Insurance charges you less for a 10-mile commute and a 25-mile commute.

While insurance companies charge more for a 25-mile commute, it isn’t much more than a 10-mile one. The cost difference for the two commutes with America Family Insurance is only $51.39.

Can coverage level change my car insurance rate with companies in Wisconsin?

The cost for a high, medium or low coverage level can vary depending on the company.

American Family Insurance$1,493.77$1,527.11$1,518.91
Liberty Mutual$2,688.32$2,951.27$3,133.59
State Farm$2,009.33$2,132.87$2,236.73
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American Family Insurance has the best rates for high, medium, and low coverage. Nationwide has the highest rates. American Family Insurance has a $25.14 difference between high and low coverage levels. Even though Nationwide has the highest rates for all the coverages, there is only a $315.74 difference between high and low coverage. Farmers has the highest increase from high to low coverage with the difference being $617.50.

How does my credit history affect my car insurance rate with companies in Wisconsin?

If you think your credit doesn’t affect your car insurance rates, think again. Having a good credit score will get you lower rates. Wisconsin’s average credit score is 725. The table is below are the rates according to your credit score.

American Family$2,026.23$1,334.71$1,178.86
Liberty Mutual$4,220.50$2,546.86$2,005.82
State Farm$3,171.35$1,820.90$1,386.69
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If you have bad credit, you’ll pay more for car insurance. Nationwide has the highest rates for drivers with poor, fair, and good credit. American Family Insurance has the lowest rates for all credit scores. Drivers who have American Family Insurance pay $847.37 less if they have good credit than if they have poor credit. The company with the highest difference in rates is Liberty Mutual, with $2214.68 between good and poor credit.

How does my driving record change my rates with car insurance companies in Wisconsin?

Having an accident or a speeding ticket on your driving is a bigger deal than you think. Your rates can increase if you don’t have a clean driving record.

GroupClean RecordWith 1 AccidentWith 1 Speeding ViolationWith 1 DUI
American Family Insurance$1,447.69$1,535.12$1,535.12$1,535.12
Liberty Mutual$2,235.20$3,178.56$2,985.72$3,298.08
State Farm$1,955.72$2,296.91$2,126.31$2,126.31
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If you have a clean driving record, you’ll have lower rates. Nationwide has the highest rates if you have one accident, one speeding ticket, or one DUI. Even for a clean driving record, Nationwide has the highest rates. Drivers get better rates with American Family Insurance.

With American Family Insurance you pay $87.43 more for having one ticket, one accident, and one DUI than a clean record. With Nationwide, you pay $1844.66 more for a DUI than a clean record driving record. You pay $692.14 more for a speeding violation or one accident.

Which car insurance companies are the largest in Wisconsin?

Every state has a large number of companies working to make sure they can provide insurance to residents. Some of these insurers are larger than others. Here is a list of the largest companies in Wisconsin.

GroupDirect Premiums Written Loss RatioMarket Share
Acuity a Mutual Insurance Co$111,548,00067.80%3.58%
Allstate Insurance Group$146,726,00059.92%4.71%
American Family Insurance Group$583,243,00059.38%18.73%
Erie Insurance Group$97,480,00077.43%3.13%
Liberty Mutual Group$78,174,00061.17%2.51%
Progressive Group$530,761,00058.50%17.05%
State Farm Group$468,020,00064.86%15.03%
USAA Group$72,958,00077.68%2.34%
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co$92,535,00054.56%2.97%
State Total$3,113,696,00063.08%100.00%
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American Family Insurance Group is the largest car insurance company in Wisconsin.

How many car insurance companies are available in Wisconsin?

Each state has domestic and foreign insurance companies that provide coverage. Domestic insurance companies are companies that operate in the state, while foreign insurance companies operate in one state, but have a license to do business in another. Wisconsin was as 174 domestic insurance companies and 813 foreign.

Wisconsin Laws

If you’re wondering what kind of laws Wisconsin has, don’t worry. We are going to cover them in this section.

The Badger State has laws that are specific to the state alone.

If you come from a state where these laws may feel familiar be aware there could be some minor differences. We will also cover windshield insurance, SR-22, insurance fraud, and other state-specific laws.

What are the car insurance laws in Wisconsin?

If you live in Wisconsin, you should become familiar with the car insurance laws. Knowing these laws can help you better understand your coverage and what it covers and what it doesn’t.

How Wisconsin Laws for Insurance are Determined

Each state creates its laws to determine how insurance companies will be run. In the Badger State rates and forms must be filed with the Wisconsin Insurance Department after they have been placed in use. This has to be done during a specific period.

Windshield Coverage

Having your windshield crack can be a pain, but figuring out how to fix it should be easy. If you have damage to your windshield you can use aftermarket parts, but if you refuse, you’ll have to pay the difference in parts.

You can also choose who you want to repair your windshield, but you’ll have to pay the difference in price.

High-Risk Insurance

If you are a high-risk driver, you may need an SR-22. An SR-22 is filed with the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles to prove you have the minimum liability insurance. You may be required to have an SR-22 if you have driving convictions on your driving record. An SR-22 is only required for a certain period of time. You will need to pay fees when you have an SR-22 filed.

Car insurance for drivers who need an SR-22 can be expensive. Drivers who have multiple driving convictions are considered high-risk drivers. Drivers who are high-risk will pay more for insurance. It is possible for high-risk drivers to find insurance and there are companies that will provide good rates.

Low-Cost Insurance

Wisconsin does not have a low-cost insurance program. Only California, Hawaii, and New Jersey have these programs.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Wisconsin

Insurance fraud is illegal everywhere, including Wisconsin. Insurance fraud is the deception of insurance companies for financial gain. Anyone can commit insurance fraud including insurance companies themselves.

Common fraud schemes are inflating claims, staging accidents, misrepresenting facts on an insurance application, and filing claims for injuries and damage that didn’t happen.

According to the Insurance Research Council, auto insurance fraud for bodily injury accounted for 15-17 percent of claims in 2012.

People who commit insurance fraud are:

  • Organized criminals
  • Professionals and technicians
  • Ordinary people

Contact the Wisconsin DMV if you suspect fraud.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Driver Information Section
P.O. Box 7983
Madison, WI 53707-7983

Email: Wisconsin DMV email service
Phone: (608) 264-7447
Fax: (608) 267-3812

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file and resolve a claim with your insurance company. Statue of limitations also applies if you file a lawsuit to preserve the claim. The statute for personal injury and property damage is three years.

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Wisconsin-Specific Laws

Every state has laws that reflect the area and culture. Here are some interesting laws in Wisconsin.

  • Livestock has the right of way.
  • You’re not permitted to sit on a car without the driver’s permission.
  • You can tie a horse to your car to avoid a parking ticket.

What are the vehicle licensing laws in Wisconsin?

Vehicles in Wisconsin can be registered in person or online. There are a few things you’ll need to have:

  • Proof of ID
  • Your application form
  • Your registration fee

You can also get temporary registration. If you’re a new resident or own a new car, you’ll have to register it with the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles.

The state of Wisconsin requires that you have state tags on your vehicle within two days of purchasing. These tags can be temporary or permanent, but not handmade.


Wisconsin, along with most states, is compliant with the REAL ID Act. If you have your ID, it can be verified by the gold star in the corner. The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005. The act created minimum security standards for driver licenses. This prevents federal agencies from accepting licenses that don’t meet this standard.

To get your REAL ID you must provide the following items:

  • Your name and birth
  • Your identity
  • Your citizenship or legal status in the United States
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your proof residency in Wisconsin

These documents should not be photocopied, faxed, or scanned.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

About 14.3 percent of drivers in Wisconsin are uninsured. The state is ranked 15th for the most uninsured drivers in the United States.

You should always have insurance when you drive. If you drive without it, you can face penalties. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you could face a $500 fine.

Teen Driver Laws

Teens might think they can jump behind the wheel and go, but in Wisconsin, there are stages they have to go through before they can drive.

Six months after their 15th birthday, teenagers can apply for their instruction permit and get authorization from a parent or guardian. Teens have to take a 30-hour educational course in a classroom. They should also have six hours of driving on the road themselves and six hours of observed driving as a passenger.

After they pass their vision and knowledge test, teens can receive their permit. Permit holders must drive 30 hours, 10 of them at night. Passengers are limited only to family members, and they must sit in the back seat. Permit holders are able to drive from midnight to 5 a.m.only if they are in the car with someone 25 years or older.

Teens with a permit can drive under the supervision of a licensed parent or guardian. When teens turn 16 and have held their permit for at least six months, they can apply for a probationary license.

A parent or guardian must sign off saying that they have driven the required hours. Before getting their license, teens must provide proof that they completed the education course and pass the road test.

Teens with probationary licenses can drive alone. For the first nine months, they must drive with a licensed adult if they drive between midnight and 5 a.m. Driving late at night is only permitted if teens are coming home from school or work.

Other than family members, only one other person can sit in the car.

Once teens turn 18, there are no more restrictions on their licenses.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

If you’re an older resident living in Wisconsin, you won’t have to renew your license often — just every eight years. Proof of adequate vision will be tested at every renewal. Licenses can’t be renewed online or in the mail.

New Residents

If you’ve moved to Wisconsin, you need to register your vehicle with the Wisconsin DMV after establishing residency. You can register your car in person or in the mail. Make sure you get the liability coverage that’s required for the state.

If you have a Class D or Class M you must get a Wisconsin driver’s license within 60 days of moving to the state. If you have a commercial license, or a Class A, B, or C license you’ll need to get your license in 30 days.

License Renewal Procedures

Licenses in Wisconsin should be renewed every eight years with proof of a vision test at every renewal. Licenses can’t be renewed online or in the mail.

Original licenses, reinstated licenses, and probationary licenses have to be renewed every two years. Licenses expire on the driver’s birthday. The Wisconsin DMV will contact you 90 days before your license expires.

Drivers must take a new license picture every eight years. Licenses issued to people in the military won’t expire if they are on active duty. Military licenses will expire 30 days after the return to Wisconsin or 90 days after being discharged.

The Wisconsin DMV mails all licenses. You’ll get a temporary paper license until your license comes in the mail.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

When you’re convicted of a traffic violation you’ll receive points on your driver record. The more points you have on your driving record, the more severe penalties you’ll have. If you receive 12 or more points on your record within a year, your driving privileges will be suspended.

Here are the penalties you can face for excessive points.

  • 12-16 points – Suspension for two months
  • 17-22 points – Suspension for four months
  • 23-30 points – Suspension for six months
  • 30+ points – Suspension for one year

Drivers that hold probationary license or permits can also get points on their record. These drivers can face:

  • Suspension for six months for having 12-30 points
  • Suspension for one year for 30 or more points

There are several ways you can get points on your record. Some violations are more points. For example, if you get a violation for reckless driving you can receive six points, while illegal passing is three points.

What are the rules of the road in Wisconsin?

As a driver, you should know the rules or the road because if you don’t, you may be violating  traffic laws. It’s time to look at some important rules.

Fault vs. No-Fault

As stated before, Wisconsin is an at-fault state. If you cause an accident, you’ll be responsible for your insurance covering the damages and injuries caused in the accident. If you’re at fault, you’re also responsible for the losses the other driver (s) suffered.

You’re probably wondering what the difference is between fault and no-fault. Under no-fault laws, drivers have to file a claim with their insurance agencies after a car accident. Drivers under these laws are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP). The no-fault system is intended to lower the cost of car insurance by handling small claims out of court. Only 12 states have no-fault laws.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

You should always wear a seat belt, and passengers in the car should always have a seat belt as well.

A seat belt violation is a standard offense.

Children who are under 8 but more than 80 pounds can use an adult seat belt. Children who are under  one should be in a rear-facing child seat. Anyone under three should be in a rear seat if it’s available.

A seat belt fine is $10. If you break the child seat belt law, the fine is  $75.

Riding in a cargo area of a truck isn’t permitted unless it’s for a parade, hunting, farm operation, or if an employee is on duty.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

If you’re driving slower than the rest of the traffic, you should keep right. When driving in the same direction as emergency vehicles with flashing lights, you should move to the next lane if it’s possible or reduce your speed.

Speed Limits

Here are the speed limits on roads in Wisconsin.

RoadSpeed Limit
Limited access roads70
Other roads55
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Sometimes we drive a little too fast. Speed limits can be lesser than we think. Speed limits will be much less in residential areas and school zones.


Wisconsin has two rideshare services: Lyft and Uber. It’s important as a rideshare driver to get rideshare insurance. As a rideshare driver, you need to protect yourself in case of accidents.

There are three periods in which you’ll need coverage.

  • Period One – when you’re online without a request
  • Period Two – when you’re online with a request and are either en route or waiting for your rider
  • Period Three – when you’re online with a rider in your car

Rideshare insurance covers you during period one where you’re at most risk of not having coverage. Lyft and Uber don’t cover you during this time. If an accident were to happen, you would have to pay out of pocket for damages and injuries. Rideshare coverage can help you bypass the $2,500 collision deductible from Lyft and $1,000 collision deductible from Uber.

Wisconsin has several insurance companies that provide coverage for rideshare drivers — Allstate, Erie, Farmers, Geico, and State Farm.

Allstate provides coverage during period one and fills the gap when your personal auto policy liability coverage limits are greater than what’s given by Lyft and Uber during periods one through three.

Farmers offers a rideshare policy add-on that extends to period one. You’ll need to use Lyft and Uber’s insurance policies during periods two and three.

Geico covers you whether you’re online or driving yourself. You won’t have to worry about coverage gaps. State Farm’s coverage extends its limits during periods one, two and three.

American Family Insurance offers rideshare policies that extend your personal policy to include period one. During periods two and three you’ll need to rely on Lyft and Uber.

Automation on the Road

If your car can park itself, it’s using automation, but there is more to automation than that. Automation is the use of technology to perform driving tasks. This can include the use of cameras, radars, and automatic braking. There are different levels of automation ranging from level zero (no automation) to level five (full driving automation). If you have a self-parking car, it’s level three.

  • Level 0 — The driver does everything.
  • Level 1 — The automated system assists the driver in performing a task.
  • Level 2 — The automated system can perform more than one task that can help the driver. The driver must monitor.
  • Level 3 — The automated system can perform all driving tasks without the driver. The driver must intervene if there is a failure that happens.
  • Level 4 — The automated system can conduct all the driving tasks with no driver input, just in certain conditions.
  • Level 5 — The automated system can perform all the driving tasks without driver input.

Wisconsin currently does not have any laws for automation.

What are the safety laws in Wisconsin?

Safety should always come first when it comes to driving. There are many laws that cover DUIs, marijuana, and distracted driving that you should be aware of. We’re going to cover the laws and penalties.

DUI Laws

Drunk driving is not just dangerous for you, but it’s also dangerous for other drivers and people around you. Wisconsin is only 0.1 less than the national average of 3.4 per 100,000 population for alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.

This table below is the penalties for driving under influence.

PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird Offense
Community ServiceNoNoNo
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
Jail TimeNone.
If passenger under 16 is present is vehicle 5 days to 6 months
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
License Suspension6-9 months2nd in 10 years, 12-18 months; 2nd in 11+ years, 6-9 months2-3 years
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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The penalties are different for offenses that happen within 10-11 years. Continued offenses can have harsher penalties. OWI stands for operating while intoxicated. The blood alcohol content limit is 0.08. A high BAC limit in Wisconsin can range from 0.17-0.25 . Wisconsin is ranked No. 5 for DUI arrests in the United States. The Badger State has 25,030 arrests for DUIs.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Just like alcohol if you’re caught driving under the influence of marijuana, you can face penalties and also can be charged with possession. Wisconsin has zero-tolerance for THC. Marijuana isn’t legal in Wisconsin.

OffenseJailFineLicense Suspension
1st OffenseNo$150 – $300No
2nd Offense5 days – 6 months$350 – $1,1001 year – 18 months
3rd Offense30 days – 1 year$600 – $2,0002 years – 3 years
4th Offense60 days – 1 year$600 – $2,0002 years – 3 years
5th Offense6 months – 6 years$600 – $10,000No
6th Offense6 months – 6 years$600 – $10,000No
7+ Offenses3 years – 10 years$25,000No
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The more offenses you have, the more likely you are to serve jail time and have your license suspended. You’ll be fined after every offense.

Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving is just as dangerous as a DUI. When you don’t have your eyes on the road, you’re putting you and others in danger. In Wisconsin, there is a handheld ban on highways. Drivers with a permit or intermediate license cannot use the phone or wireless devices while driving.

No driver, no matter the license type, can text and drive.

Having a cellphone in hand in a work zone is prohibited. In 2015, there 24,089 car accidents due to distracted driving. Although there are many things that take your eyes off the road, distracted driving is defined by texting and driving. Drivers who violate the law will be fined for their first offense.  Be sure to keep your eyes on the road.

Driving in Wisconsin

If you’re driving in Wisconsin, you’re probably wondering what the traffic is like and how long it takes to get places. Every state has different drivers and commute times. In this section, we will cover fatalities, EMS response times, commutes and congestion.

How many vehicle thefts occur in Wisconsin?

Having your car stolen can cause a lot of worries. Vehicle theft can occur anywhere and every car is at risk of being stolen. Some vehicles are more at risk for theft than others.

RankMake/ModelYear of VehicleThefts
1Dodge Caravan20021,035
2Honda Civic1998470
3Honda Accord1997450
4Chrysler Town & Country2002313
5Chevrolet Impala2007232
6Dodge Stratus2002209
7Toyota Camry2007191
8Chevrolet Malibu2015179
8Dodge Intrepid2002179
10Honda CR-V2000172
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According to the FBI, during 2017, most motor vehicle thefts occur in Milwaukee. It has had over 5,500 thefts. Many cities in Wisconsin have no vehicle thefts. For example, Norwalk and Barneveld have had zero thefts.

How many road fatalities occur in Wisconsin?

Driving recklessly can lead to the deaths of not only yourself but other people as well. Fatalities can be caused by speeding, drunk driving, and weather conditions.

Most Fatal Highway in Wisconsin

The most fatal highway in Wisconsin is Highway 94. The most fatal highway in a state is determined by the fatal crash rates. A fatal crash rate is based on the annual number of road fatalities and fatal crashes.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

Weather can affect the way you drive. If it’s raining or snowing, you should drive slower and be cautious. In the table below you’ll view fatal crashes by weather and light conditions.

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
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Most fatal accidents in Wisconsin occur when weather conditions are normal and it’s daylight.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

In this table, you’ll see the fatalities by each county.

Eau Claire461045
Fond Du Lac1012101116
Green Lake33100
La Crosse847129
St. Croix1212778
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Milwaukee County has the most fatalities of all the counties. Dane County has the second most fatalities. Pepin County has the least fatalities.

Traffic Fatalities

Rural areas and urban areas will have a different number of fatal accidents. Urban towns are more populous than rural ones.

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Most fatalities take place in rural areas. In 2016, rural areas had its worst year for fatal accidents with over 400 fatalities. In 2010, rural areas had their lowest numbers for fatalities. Fatalities in urban areas did not reach over 230 for the first time in nine years.

Fatalities by Person Type

In this table, you’ll see how many fatalities occur by person type.

Bicyclist and Other Cyclist4151174
Large Truck11891014
Light Truck - Other01100
Light Truck - Pickup6470557159
Light Truck - Utility6256857091
Light Truck - Van2725384035
Nonoccupants (Pedestrian)4557515656
Occupants (Passenger Car)209236250256229
Other/Unknown Nonoccupants08232
Other/Unknown Occupants119202315
Total Occupants384405458470443
Total Nonoccupants4980646662
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Passenger cars have the highest fatalities for person type. Light trucks have the lowest fatalities for person type.

Fatalities by Crash Type

Below you can view the crash type that causes fatalities.

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)*506566607613588
Single Vehicle279302338318316
Involving a Large Truck5556738573
Involving a Rollover147152170169143
Involving a Roadway Departure314344358325349
Involving an Intersection 140152171178133
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There are more accidents involving single vehicles than any other crash type. Fatalities involving a large truck have the lowest numbers for crash types.

Five-Year Trend For The Top 10 Counties

In this table, you’ll see the five-year trend for fatalities.

Brown County915182518
Chippewa County2911214
Dane County2930383241
Fond Du Lac County1012101116
Jefferson County12771313
Kenosha County176181816
Milwaukee County6681748668
Racine County1425171120
Rock County1318231330
Waukesha County2410272625
All Counties506566607613588
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After 2017, the number of fatalities decreases. The least number of fatalities occurred in 2014. Milwaukee County had the highest fatalities for the five-year trend. Chippewa County had the lowest numbers for fatalities for its five-year trend.

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Below is the number of fatalities caused by speeding.

Eau Claire02422
Fond Du Lac35426
Green Lake01000
La Crosse20363
St. Croix22111
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The county with the most fatalities from speeding is Milwaukee. Pepin has the least fatalities.

Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County

The data in this table will show you how many people were involved in fatal accidents that involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

Eau Claire11502
Fond Du Lac03324
Green Lake01100
La Crosse23252
St. Croix54205
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Milwaukee has had the most fatal crashes caused by alcohol-impaired drivers. Ashland has had the least number of fatalities.

Teen Drinking and Driving

Teens also get arrested for drinking and driving. Below is the number of arrests that occur for teens under 18.

Teens and Drunk DrivingStats
Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Per 100k Population1.3
DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)235
DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People182.50
U.S. Rank6
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The United States’ national average of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 residents is 1.2. The Wisconsin average is 0.1 more than the national average.

EMS Response Time

EMS response times are important. The more time it takes for an emergency vehicle to get to the hospital, the more likely they are to lose the patient. This table shows response times in minutes for rural and urban areas.

LocationTime of CrashEMS Notification to ArrivalEMS Arrival at Scene to Hospital ArrivalTime of Crash to Hospital
Urban4.385.5530.25 38.59
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The EMS responds quicker to urban areas than it does to rural areas. In rural areas, it takes almost an hour from the time of the crash to get to the hospital. There is over a 19-minute difference between the two response times.

What is transportation like in Wisconsin?

Residents of Wisconsin have different ways they travel around the Badger State. We will look at how many people own cars, what their average commute looks like and how much congestion occurs in traffic.

Car Ownership

Most Americans own two cars and so do many people in Wisconsin. The average number of cars in a Wisconsin household is two. The percentage of Wisconsin drivers that have two cars is 44.5 percent. The national average is 40.3 percent, 4.2 percent less than the Wisconsin average.

The number of drivers that have three cars is 22.1 percent. The national percentage of households with three cars is less than the Wisconsin percentage, by percent.

Also in Wisconsin, less than 5 percent of drivers have five or more cars. A little more than 2 percent have no car. Over 18 percent of residents have one car, and almost 9 percent have four cars.

Commute Time

We all hate traffic, but sometimes it can be unavoidable. The average commute time for the Badger State is 21 minutes.

The Wisconsin average commute is shorter than the national average of 25.7 minutes.

Only 1.58 percent have a 90-minute commute. A little over 4 percent of drivers have a commute that’s five minutes or less. When you look at neighboring states, the average commute time for Minnesota is 22.3 minutes. The average commute time for Illinois is 27.9 minutes. Wisconsin has one of the lower commute times compared to its surrounding states.

Commuter Transportation

Most drivers drive alone — 81.7 percent, to be exact. Another 7.52 percent carpooled, and 4.83 percent worked from home.

Public transportation and motorcycles are on a bit of a decline for residents. In 2017, 81.1 percent of residents in Wisconsin drove alone. Less than 8 percent carpooled, and 4.95 percent worked from home.

Traffic Congestion in Wisconsin

Traffic congestion is common around the world. Some places have more congestion than others. Madison, Wisconsin is the 164th  most-congested place in the world. Madison is also the 35th most-congested city in the United States. The cost of congestion is $939 per driver.

Drivers spent 67 hours in congested traffic in 2018. The table below covers the peak times.

Time of DaySpeed
Peak23.29 mph
Off Peak 31.47 mph
Free Flow35.36 mph
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In 2019, Milwaukee was ranked as the 400th most congested city in the world. As of 2019, the congestion level in Milwaukee was 13 percent It decreased by 1 percent from 2018. The table illustrates the congestion levels for different times of the day and congestion for highways.

Time of DayCongestion Level
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Non-highways have more congestion than highways. Also of not is the fact that drivers in Milwaukee experience more congestion in the evening.

The best day to travel was December 25. During Christmas day the congestion level was at its lowest, 1 percent. The worst day to travel was November 11. The congestion was 37 percent, its highest daily congestion.

If you’re going to work or coming home after a long day, you’re likely spending more time in traffic. Drivers spend an extra seven minutes in traffic in the morning per 30-minute trip. In the evening drivers spend nine extra minutes in traffic per 30 minutes.

Over 50 hours were spent in traffic per year. That’s equivalent to two days and 11 hours.

The best day to avoid traveling is Wednesday between 5-6 p.m. Other times that have heavy traffic are Monday through Friday, 7-8 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.  After 6 p.m., traffic gets lighter. The weekend has the lightest traffic congestion. When you go out on the weekend, you’re less likely to be in congestion.

In this table, you’ll see the traffic index.

Time (in minutes)23.88
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The traffic index is the time consumed in traffic. The time index is the amount of time needed to transport in minutes. The inefficiency index is the estimation of inefficiencies in traffic.

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We have reached the end of our guide. Now you’re equipped with the right material to be a better driver of the Badger State. You have a better idea of the type of insurance you want to get. Which part did you like the most?

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