Wis. Regulator Reminds Students to Review Auto Insurance Coverage

College students on lawnFall signals a rush of young adults returning to college campuses, and Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg is advising students and their parents to go over auto insurance policies in light of new laws.

Dilweg reminds students that, while they were away for the summer, the state made it a requirement for all motor vehicle operators to have liability protection for at least $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 in property damage.

Furthermore, students should be aware that state law requires them to carry proof of auto insurance coverage. Failure to carry proof comes with a $10 fine that can be waived if it is later provided. Motorists who are uninsured can face up to a $500 fine, and lying about having protection can prove to be even more costly; those who deceive law enforcement by attempting to provide false proof can be hit with up to a $5,000 fine.

The new changes also affected lesser-known areas of insurance law. Now, reducing clauses have been barred and consumers will be able to “stack” policies.

Prior to the new law, clauses were permitted that reduced the amount a policyholder could collect through underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage depending on the amount covered by the at-fault party’s policy.

Jennifer Edmonson, a writer for PostCrescent.com, gives this example: Say that a not-at-fault driver with $100,000 in UIM coverage incurred $200,000 worth of damages from an accident, but the at-fault driver only had $100,000 in coverage. Under the old law, the most a person could collect under a reducing clause would be $100,000. But, now, the driver with $200,000 in damages may be able to apply, in addition to the at-fault driver’s $100,000 in coverage, his or her own $100,000 in UIM toward the damages.

As for stacking, the new provisions mean that drivers with multiple policies can combine coverage from up to three Uninsured/UIM or medical payment policies in order to cover damages. Edmonson writes that, for example, a person with three policies with $100,000 limits could now access up to $300,000.

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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