State Senator Targets Wisconsin Car Insurance Law

Justice ScalesAccording to a Wisconsin newspaper, the new state senate president, Mike Ellis, wants to roll back one of the major changes recently made to Wisconsin car insurance law. The Post-Crescent reported that the senator intends, with the help of fellow lawmakers, to bring the state-required minimum levels of coverage back down to their previous levels.

Before June 2010, the state did not require that Wisconsinites have auto insurance before being able to drive legally. If they did have coverage, though, policies were required to provide for 25/50/10 coverage, meaning that they had to have at least $50,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage per accident with at least $25,000 of protection per injured person and $10,000 worth of property damage liability per accident.

But as the summer started, a law went into effect requiring all drivers in the state to have in place a policy with coverages of at least 50/100/15 — nearly double the previous requirements.

Although Sen. Ellis is in favor of the change to a mandatory car insurance system — Wisconsin had been only one of two states in the nation without compulsory car coverage — he asserts in the interview that premiums have increased as a result of the heightened coverage requirements, and he insists that this is unacceptable.

The car coverage law does rank Wisconsin’s new minimum levels among the highest in the 50 states — it has company with Alabama and Maine. But Wisconsin’s average expenses on policies have ranked among the lowest in recent years. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners estimated that in 2007 the average Wisconsinite spent $582 to insure a vehicle, making the state’s average the sixth cheapest nationally for that year.

Other legislators have been vowing to repeal the increase since before it was signed into law, so whether Sen. Ellis can generate momentum to address this issue is yet to be seen.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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