Here's what you need to know when driving in Wisconsin
Across the Badger State, there are 237,124 miles of road just waiting to be driven. We’ll get you prepped, then you take the wheel.
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Compare the best rates from 6 car insurance companies in Wisconsin.
Across the Badger State, there are 237,124 miles of road just waiting to be driven. We’ll get you prepped, then you take the wheel.
|Rank||Company Name||Avg. Annual Premium|
|7||Rural Mutual Insurance||$764|
|11||West Bend Mutual||$908|
|15||Auto Club Group||$958|
Drivers with good driving records typically enjoy lower car insurance costs than drivers with histories of speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUI citations. Wisconsin drivers without a recent moving violation can save 19% on their car insurance premiums, on average — compared to the national average of 17%. In addition to earning a cheaper premium for driving incident-free, you may qualify for a safe-driving bonus through your car insurance company. The amount of these discounts may vary, but they typically run between 5 and 10%.
|Rating Factor||$ Savings||% Savings|
|No Traffic Tickets||$256||19.89%|
Young drivers — aged between 16 and 25 — pay very high car insurance rates, with those aged 16-19 paying the most expensive premiums of all. Because of the risk presented by inexperienced drivers, teen drivers pay more than three times the national average for car insurance. In Wisconsin, the average teen driver pays $3,837 — less than the national average but more than three times more than an older driver in Wisconsin.
|Age||Annual Rate with Parents||Annual Rate Alone|
If you have a clean driving record — no at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably pay less for car insurance. Conversely, a bad driving record will cause your rates to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 38% after a DUI, 34% after an at-fault accident, and 19% after a speeding ticket in Wisconsin. The post-citation penalties assessed by car insurance companies after DUI violations and at-fault accidents in Wisconsin generally align with nationwide averages. If you have a clean driving record, be sure to check for good-driving discounts from your insurer.
|Rating Factor||Annual Rate||% Increase|
Each and every car insurer emphasizes its affordable prices. But as with any service, the cheapest car insurance policy is not always the preferable selection. Considering the financial stakes, it's worthwhile to do the due diligence to find a policy that can cover your vehicle completely in the event of an accident. Exercise some patience and look for a great value, rather than settling for the most affordable car insurance you find.
Compare top auto insurers' financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings to better understand the level of service you'll receive. Claims satisfaction — measured by J.D. Power — is rated on a scale of 2 to 5, with 5 being "among the best" and 2 being "the rest." Financial strength — calculated by A.M. Best and running from "Superior" to "Poor" — measures an insurer's financial stability and ability to satisfy its policy and contractual obligations.
|Insurance Company||Claims Satisfaction (J.D. Power)||Financial Strength (A.M. Best)|
The minimum allowed insurance in Wisconsin is $25,000 Bodily Injury per person, $50,000 Bodily Injury per accident, and $10,000 Property Damage per accident.
If you carry the minimum required coverage in Wisconsin, you can expect to owe an average of $405 each year. This average cost is cheaper than the U.S. average by 38%. If you opt for better auto insurance coverage, you can choose a policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, protecting against damages caused by car-versus-car crashes, theft, or weather incidents. It's worth noting that better insurance coverage has a cost: in Wisconsin, a comprehensive policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $895, 121% more than basic insurance coverage. For comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible, expect to pay 156% more than for basic liability-only coverage.
Compare typical rates for liability-only and comprehensive coverage levels below.
|Location||Liability-Only||Comprehensive — $1,000 Deductible||Comprehensive — $500 Deductible|
Liability coverage is legally required in Wisconsin and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Wisconsin, the minimum is listed as 25/50/10 and explained below:
Uninsured Motorist coverage is legally required in Wisconsin and pays for injury and lost wages that you or your passengers may suffer in the event that you are hit by an uninsured driver who is at fault. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into two categories. In Wisconsin, the minimum is listed as 25/50 and explained below:
These numbers reflect the minimum limits required in Wisconsin but higher coverage amounts are available with most companies.
Yes. Carrying an active car insurance policy is required by law in Wisconsin.
Yes. Because car insurance is required by law, you must have insurance on any vehicle you are registering.
Yes, and a classic car may require a unique car insurance policy. Because classic cars tend to have greater value and be used differently than new vehicles, you should get a classic car-specific insurance policy if you own a vintage vehicle.
Car insurance companies calculate your rate based on many factors, location of the vehicle being an important one. The cheapest car insurance is found in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and the most expensive in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
|Rank||City||Avg. Annual Premium|
|21||Fond du Lac||$934|
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The OWI lookback period in Wisconsin is 10 years for a second offense. There is a lifetime lookback period for any subsequent OWI offenses.
OWI offenders in Wisconsin face harsher penalties than described below for any OWI resulting in bodily injury or death or OWI with a minor under 16 years old in the car.
All OWI offenses include an OWI surcharge of $435, in addition to the fines below.
First-time OWI offenses in Wisconsin lead to:
If you’re driving at a speed “greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing,” you are breaking Wisconsin’s basic speeding law.
Reckless driving in Wisconsin is defined as endangering “the safety of any person or property by the negligent operation of a vehicle.” Generally speaking, if you drive in such a way that poses a serious risk of harm to a property or person, then you’re guilty of reckless driving.
Distracted driving in Wisconsin is taken very seriously and is separated into three categories:
Traffic laws forbid racing in Wisconsin. For the purpose of the law, drivers may be convicted for racing if they participate in a race or speed or endurance contest on any highway.
Wisconsin follows a fault-based system when it comes to car accidents. The person who is at-fault is responsible for covering financial loss due to injuries, lost income, and vehicle damage through their car insurance policy.
If you receive a ticket, your car insurance rates will probably rise. How much your rates rise depends on the violation's severity, your insurer's pricing standards, and differing local insurance regulations and risks. That's why tickets may have a different impact on insurance in your state compared to the national average.
Below is a snapshot of average car insurance rates in Wisconsin after a few common citations.
|Violation||Avg. Annual Auto Insurance Rate||% Insurance Rate Increase||$ Insurance Rate Increase|
|Hit and Run||$1,725||61%||$655|
|Refused Breathalyzer/Chemical Test||$1,568||47%||$498|
|Driving with a Suspended License||$1,757||64%||$687|
|Driving with an Open Container||$1,486||39%||$417|
|Operating a Vehicle Without Permission||$1,585||48%||$516|
|Passing a School Bus||$1,409||32%||$340|
|Following Too Closely||$1,385||29%||$315|
|Failure to Stop at a Red Light||$1,385||29%||$315|
|Driving Wrong Way/Wrong Lane||$1,351||26%||$281|
|Failure to Yield||$1,385||29%||$315|
|Speeding in a School Zone||$1,379||29%||$309|
|Driving Too Slowly||$1,369||28%||$300|
|Driving with Expired Registration||$1,197||12%||$128|
|Failure to Show Documents||$1,197||12%||$128|
|Failure to Use Child Safety Restraint||$1,144||7%||$74|
|Failure to Wear a Seat Belt||$1,174||10%||$105|
|Driving Without Lights||$1,144||7%||$74|
At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in the Wisconsin area, while also getting an insider view of the Badger State.
So, students, we want to see your favorite road trip destination(s) in your state— from your unique perspective. If it makes sense to hit the open road and be our virtual tour guide, that's great! But there are no limits to what we're looking for: a narrated animation, a slideshow of memorabilia, an illustrated map of the best roadside attractions on the way. This is a chance for you to showcase any place you love in as an original way as possible.
The length of the road trip to your feature destrination is inconsequential. So if you have an awesome spot in mind that's just two miles from home, we want to see it.
Applicants must be currently enrolled at or planning to attend a four-year university, graduate program, community college, or trade school located in the continental United States. Upon notification, winner(s) must supply a current proof of enrollment or letter of acceptance.
Your original video should not exceed 2 minutes
The video must be hosted on YouTube or Vimeo
Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org
your name, address, and phone number when you submit
Selected winner(s) will be awarded a check for $1,000
Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on December 31st, 2019
Winner(s) will be selected and notified by email by January 31st, 2020
The winner will be selected based on creativity in the content and presentation
*Upon notification, winner(s) must also supply a current proof of enrollment at a four-year university, graduate program, community college, or trade school located in the continental United States.
By participating, entrants represent that the video submitted is their sole and original work and does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any other party. In other words, no copyrighted music or images may be used.
Employees of The Zebra and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate in the contest.
Written credits for any technical or talent positions (e.g., editor, director, actors) should be included with your submission, along with any sources used to create the video.
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