State legislators for Wisconsin passed new auto insurance laws that will take effect in the next weeks and months which would inevitably result in higher rates.
Starting November 1, all new policies will be required to have underinsured motorist (UM) and uninsured (UIM) coverage. At present, both are optional for Wisconsin motorists, but once they become mandatory, they will cover other motorists who have lower liability limits than the amount of damages in an accident. Under current laws, only bodily injury liability and property damage liability are required.
Motorists who are currently holding Wisconsin auto insurance policies will have to comply with the changes upon renewal.
Minimum worth of coverage will also increase from $50,000 per person to $100,000 per person in a single accident. The $100,000 worth of coverage per accident will jump to $300,000. Minimum level of coverage for uninsured motorists will likewise jump. Legislators say such changes are aimed at helping motorists meet the increasing medical costs in Wisconsin.
Stacking will also be allowed under new laws to give motorists maximum coverage during an accident. When a motorist stack his vehicle, he increases the limits for his vehicle coverage according to the number of cars he has insured. For instance, a motorist who engages in an accident will be able to file and receive claims for all of his insured vehicles, even if only one of his cars is engaged in the accident. A maximum of three vehicles can be stacked by a motorist through his uninsured and underinsured coverage.
Also, all drivers will be required to carry car insurance starting June 1 next year. Wisconsin is one of only two states in the country which currently do not have that requirement. For most drivers, that is also the time when they will have to purchase higher levels of liability insurance.
At present, drivers can settle with minimum liabilities worth $25,000 for causing injury or death of one person, $50,000 for injury or death of two people and $10,000 for property damage caused.
However, consumer advocacy groups warn drivers that mandatory increase in liabilities has its price. Advocates say increasing limits as high as 500 percent could double premium costs for motorists. But Wisconsin’s Commissioner of Insurance assures the public that costs will not go up higher than 20 percent.
As noted by analysts, Wisconsin was the 8th least expensive state for auto insurance three years ago. But they advise motorists not to panic despite an imminent increase in costs since there are many ways to save. Experts add that shopping around is still the best option for car owners so they can meet new prerequisites at the best prices.