Change is afoot for Wisconsin drivers. Starting on June 1, 2010, all drivers will be required by law to have car insurance. From that day forward, if you are caught driving without car insurance in Wisconsin, you have to pay a fine. Habitual offenders may lose their license.
Until this new law, which was passed by Governor Jim Doyle as part of the state budget, Wisconsin was one of only two states in the US that did not have mandatory car insurance laws (New Hampshire is the other hold out). Wisconsin drivers previously had to comply with the Financial Responsibility Law, which states that all drivers had to show that they had the financial means to pay for damages after an accident. The Financial Responsibility could be met through car insurance, a surety bond, or by filing a certificate of self insurance. Approximately 85% of drivers in Wisconsin carried car insurance anyway, but despite the fact that 100% of drivers had to comply with the Financial Responsibility law, uninsured motorists were often unable to meet the costs of damages after a collision.
Wisconsin car insurance companies are rejoicing at the new law, but not everyone is on board with the changes. Part of the debate is over the mandatory minimums required in the new law, which will take Wisconsin from having no insurance laws to having one of the highest mandatory minimum requirements in the country. Current Wisconsin car insurance holders, who once enjoyed one of the lowest car insurance rates in the country, are concerned that increased demand will drive the prices up. Others are simply concerned at the prospect of one more bill to pay during tough economic times.
Proponents of the plan believe that requiring car insurance will take an undue burden off of those who already maintain insurance. They further believe it is necessary to require insurance to help deal with increased medical costs. As the cost of health care increases, the cost of caring for people who have been injured in an accident skyrockets, often to an extent that makes uninsured drivers unable to pay. This is also the justification for higher mandatory minimums.
Popular or not, Wisconsin drivers have to comply with the law if they want to keep their license. Wisconsin car insurance companies are ready to work with the uninsured to get them on board with the law. Wisconsin car insurance rates will be determined by a number of different factors, including your credit score, driving record, and where you live. If you have never carried insurance before, this could also lead you to more expensive insurance costs; though in time and with a good driving record, your car insurance rate may come down.