We all know the cost of health care in the US has been steadily rising for the past couple of decades. In some states, the minimum liability insurance requirements have not been updated to keep pace with these inflationary costs. In Wisconsin, however, new legislation has recently been enacted which accomplishes two primary goals:
1. Revise Wisconsin insurance laws that favor insurers over consumers
2. Provide greater protection for WI residents involved in accidents
These new laws fall under “The Truth in Auto Insurance” initiative. In the state, motorcyclists are required to carry motorcycle insurance if they plan to ride legally on the street. The legal mandate to carry insurance on all Wisconsin vehicles is aimed to decrease the percentage of residents who are underinsured or uninsured – currently about 10% of the Cheese State’s population.
Another change in Wisconsin motorcycle insurance law is liability coverage increases, which have been doubled in some areas. Here is the breakdown of state minimums for liability coverage:
– Bodily Injury Liability Limit for Single Individual in Accident: $50,000 – doubled from $25,000
– Bodily Injury Liability Limit for All Individuals in an Accident: $100,000 – doubled from $50,000
– Property Damage Liability Limit: $15,000 – up from $10,000
For motorcyclists, uninsured motorist coverage, often abbreviated as “UIM/UM,” is highly recommended. This coverage will help to protect you in the event you are involved in accident in which the “at-fault” party does not carry an insurance policy, or is underinsured. As we touched upon earlier, a full 1 in 10 Wisconsin motorists are not insured. UIM/UM coverage is particularly important for motorcycle riders, as the risk of injury on a two-wheel vehicle is much higher than in a vehicle. Moreover, automobile drivers are often at fault in accidents with motorcycles.
Recent Wisconsin motorcycle insurance increases have affected underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage as well. The minimum coverage is now $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per accident. Additionally, there are two more consumer-centric changes to UM/UIM policy. For one, if you have additional insurance policies, you can access them if your motorcycle insurance policy does not fully cover you. This represent a repeal of “anti-stacking” legislation which largely served the interest of insurance companies. Additionally, if the driver at fault in your accident is underinsured, the money you are awarded from what liability coverage they do have can no longer be subtracted from the proceeds from your own UM/UIM policy.
Some Wisconsin consumers are understandably upset about these legislative changes, as they will result in an increase on monthly premiums for most residents. After all, more motorcycle insurance coverage translates to higher prices. However, Wisconsin motorcyclists and motorists alike should remember that these price increases come with significantly improvements in protections for responsible drivers on Wisconsin’s roads.