Wisconsin Car Insurance: How to Shop for the Cheapest Rates
Wisconsin, also known as “America’s Dairyland”, where many residents refer to themselves affectionately as “cheese heads”. That’s because fully one-fourth of all the state’s farm income is from dairy farming.
And as luck would have it, it’s also the home of relatively low auto insurance rates.
The average rate – with “full coverage” – is $1,351 per year.
Below is our guide to help you find the right balance of coverage and premium.
Average Car Insurance Rates in Wisconsin
Statewide average premiums in Wisconsin for three popular car insurance coverage levels (all premium information we’ll be providing comes from our sister site, CarInsurance.com.)
- “Full coverage” –100/300/100***, with comprehensive and collision coverage, including a deductible of $500: $1,351 per year
- Liability only, with 50/100/50: $415 per year
- Liability only, using the state minimum coverage levels: $373 per year
***100/300/100 refers to liability coverage levels.
- The first number represents bodily injury or death to one person in a single at-fault accident.
- The second number represents bodily injury or death to two or more people in a single at-fault car accident.
- The third number refers to property damage caused to other vehicles in an at-fault accident.
Full coverage also includes collision and comprehensive coverage, which pays for repairs to your vehicle no matter who is at fault.)
Factors that Will Affect Your Wisconsin Car Insurance Premium
Below are the major factors that will determine the premium you’ll pay for Wisconsin car insurance.
Gender will typically play a role when determining your rate.
However, there’s not much difference in Wisconsin.
A 30-year-old male will pay $179 per month for full coverage, while a 30-year-old female will pay $176 per month for the same policy.
Just like any other state, rates are higher for drivers under the age of 25, and Wisconsin is no different.
An 18-year-old male driver living in Milwaukee will pay $261 a month, or $3,132 per year, for state minimum coverage. A 30-year-old male also living in Milwaukee with the same coverage will pay $60 a month, or $720 per year.
In a smaller city, such as Madison, an 18-year-old male will pay $162 a month, or $1,944 per year for state minimum coverage, while a 30-year-old male will pay $37 a month, or $444 per year for that same coverage.
Insurance rates will usually start to go up once you reach the age of 65. A 75-year-old male will pay $78 per month, or $936 per year, while a 30-year-old male with the same policy will pay $60 per month, or $720 per year. Although the difference is small, it still shows how rates start to rise after the age of 65.
Your driving history will be the biggest factor in determining your insurance rate.
Speeding 10-15 miles over the limit will produce a 16% premium increase; 16 to 29 miles over the limit will result in a 25% increase, though exceeding the speed limit by 30 or more miles will fetch the same 25% premium increase.
The average increase in Wisconsin is 46% for a DUI/DWI first offense. Repeat offenses will be much higher and carry serious penalties, including loss of driving privileges.
At-fault accidents will also bring an increase in your premium. A typical car insurance premium in Wisconsin will increase by 33% after an accident claim that’s determined to be your fault.
That average may not apply to you since it’s just an average.
Bodily injury, as well as property damage, will come into play, as well as the fact that each insurance company assesses risk differently.
Your credit score will be something insurers look to when determining your rate.
Drivers in Wisconsin with bad credit will pay 60% more on their premium than drivers with good credit.
It’s important to compare company rates to find the right premium, since not all judge credit history the same.
A policy with liability limits of 100/300/100 is $1,351 per year, while liability coverage limits of 50/100/50 is $415.
State coverage for minimum liability is $373 per year.
Carrying the lowest liability levels may not be enough. Your net worth should determine your liability limits.
For example, if your net worth is less than $50,000, you might be able to take the state minimum coverage.
If your net worth is between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 50/100/50. If it's more than $200,000, choose at least 100/300/100.
You don’t want to find yourself with too little coverage. A major lawsuit or claim could force you to pay any out-of-pocket expenses if your policy limits are exceeded.
The covered vehicle(s)
An older vehicle will usually cost less than a brand-new vehicle to insure.
Brand-new cars or certain vehicle types, like SUVs, pickup trucks, sports cars, and luxury cars will cost more to insure than a 12-year-old sedan.
With an older vehicle, you may not need collision and comprehensive coverage, at least if the vehicle is worth less than $3,000. And with a lower-priced new car, the rate will be less expensive than for a higher-priced new car.
The insurance company
The same premium between companies can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars more or less depending.
That’s why shopping around and comparing will be a critical part of finding the coverage you need.
Below are the average statewide premiums for full coverage (100/300/100) by six major carriers operating in Wisconsin:
- GEICO: $663 per year
- State Farm: $914 per year
- Mid Century: $1,021 per year
- Artisan & Trucker: $1,176 per year
- Allstate: $1,484 per year
- Amco: $2,851 per year
As you can see, Amco – the most expensive provider – charges premiums that are more than quadruple those of GECIO, the cheapest provider.
Average Wisconsin Car Insurance Rate Based on City
Where you live will be one of the variables that makes up your rate.
Even within the same state, there can be major variations in premium levels from one city or town to another.
With the statewide average premium at $1,351 in Wisconsin for 100/300/100 coverage, average premiums on a local level are as follows:
- Green Bay: $1,014
- Kenosha: $1,272
- Madison: $1,107
- Milwaukee: $1,337
- Racine: $1,284
More populated areas such as Milwaukee bring in more traffic and potential for accidents.
Rural and more remote areas are considered lower risk and will have lower rates. Rates in rural areas should be lower than in the cities listed above.
Auto Insurance Laws in Wisconsin
Car insurance laws in Wisconsin require that drivers carry minimum liability coverage limits of 10/25/50 on their vehicle.
The minimum car insurance requirements in Wisconsin are listed below:
- Minimum bodily injury liability, one person: $25,000
- Minimum bodily injury liability, one person: $50,000
- Minimum property damage liability: $10,000
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury: $25,000/$50,000
Basic Information on Optional Coverages in Wisconsin
As is the case in virtually every other state, there’s a wide range of optional coverages available to add to your policy in Wisconsin. The most popular include:
While the personal property damage portion of a car insurance policy covers the cost of repairs to the other driver’s vehicle when you are determined to be at fault, it will not cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle.
You can add collision coverage specifically for that purpose. If you have a loan or a lease on your vehicle, it will be required by your lender.
This provision will cover your vehicle for damage sustained while it’s parked.
This includes theft, damage from falling objects, and weather-related hazards, like storm damage, or even animal strikes.
Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
If your car is ever stolen or totaled in an accident this add-on can help you cover the loss by paying off the lease or loan.
It’s not required (except by lenders on cars with loans greater than 80% of the vehicle’s value) but it is recommended if you believe you owe more on your car than it’s worth.
MedPay (medical payments)
MedPay offers medical and funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident up to $25,000, no matter who's at fault.
It provides you and your passengers with coverage of medical expenses if your health insurance limits are exceeded.
Despite state laws to prevent it, a large number of drivers have no car insurance. Many more have only minimal coverage. This provision will protect you if you’re involved in an accident with either type of driver.
Tips to Get the Best Rates on Wisconsin Car Insurance Policies
Below are the most popular strategies to get the best rates on car insurance in Wisconsin:
Your driving record will play a large role in determining your premium.
Drive safe and avoid any violations or at-fault accidents. A clean driving history for 3 years or more will provide you with the best rates available.
As we saw above, the difference between two insurance companies can easily be $1,000 (or more) for the same coverage.
Shop around and see who has the best rates.
Complete a safe driver course
If you have a poor driving history, your insurance company may allow you to complete an approved safe driver course.
It could lower your premium by 10% or more. Just make sure the course is one specifically approved by your carrier.
You’ll need to weigh the cost of the course (yes, you’ll pay for it) against the savings on your premium.
Don’t keep too much liability coverage
If you're new to driving, full liability coverage may not be necessary. The state minimum may be enough.
Most insurance companies provide multiple discounts on premiums.
Check with your insurer to see how many discounts they have available. Take advantage of any and all that apply to you.
You can pay 60% more for car insurance in Wisconsin for having poor credit.
Keeping your credit clean for at least the last two or three years will help you secure a better rate.
Keeping your assets protected is a real priority with car insurance. With such low rates in Wisconsin, it should be easy to get a great rate with enough coverage.
Find a company that will provide you with the best coverage to fit your needs, at the lowest possible premium.