When Wisconsin’s 2010 budget was signed last June, it also entailed drastic changes in Wisconsin auto insurance regulations.
Starting November 1, minimum liability requirements for Wisconsin motorists are going up. Currently, the formula is set at 25-50-10. That translates to $25,000 worth of coverage for personal injury, $50,000 for accident occurrence, and $10,000 for property damages. Under the new regulations, the formula will be reset to $50,000 for personal injury, $100,000 for occurrence, and $15,000 worth of coverage for property damage.
State legislators say changes are necessary in providing protection for residents who sustain physical injuries and property damages during accidents. Legislators say changes are not drastic at all since 80% of Wisconsin motorists already hold the new minimum requirement.
85th Assembly District Rep. Donna Seidel (D) says $25,000 worth of coverage rarely sell these days. She added that costs worth that much in 1982 already equals what motorists would pay today for $105,000. She cited the escalating costs of healthcare as the major reason for changes, adding that it is only reasonable for minimums to go up.
However, those on the opposing side warn motorists that changes could spur auto insurance costs to skyrocket.
86th Assembly District Rep. Jerry Petrowski (R) says a dramatic increase in premium rates will soon take place. He reported that some of his constituents were already paying $500 more each year because of the changes.
Another policy change concerns Wisconsin residents who own two or more vehicles. Under the new uninsured, underinsured motorist laws, vehicle owners will be required to “stack” money from all registered vehicles.
Industry specialists explained that under present rules, drivers who store $500,000 on each of their uninsured motorist policies, and got hit by an uninsured driver, will get that amount upon filing a claim. As new changes take effect, those who have $500,000 on their car which meets an accident will be able to claim $1,000,000. This is because the other $500,000 which is set for another vehicle will become claimable when a policyholder meets an accident.
Experts say that such change is good since it provides greater protection on the part of motorists. However, they warn that premium rates could go significantly higher because auto insurance companies will have to pay two or three times more than that what they used to pay.
Starting the 1st of July next year, Wisconsin motorists will be mandate by law to carry insurance, which is another reason experts cite for the imminent skyrocketing of auto insurance costs.