Drivers in Wisconsin have some unique benefits compared to other states: They enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and premiums are almost 30 percent lower than the national average. But while rates are relatively low throughout the Badger State, rates in metropolitan areas are on the rise, so you may pay more if you’re a city-dweller. You also want to keep in mind that the harsh Wisconsin winters and abundant wildlife can cause damage requiring comprehensive or collision coverage in addition to the minimum liability.
How We Found the Best Wisconsin Auto Insurance
To find the best auto insurance companies in Wisconsin we used a similar methodology to our review on nationwide providers. We started with the largest auto insurance providers in Wisconsin by market share: American Family, Progressive, State Farm, Allstate, and Geico. Then, we evaluated these top four based on their coverage options.
We made sure they each offered at least the required coverage in Wisconsin and other basic kinds of coverage many drivers are interested in: liability, uninsured motorist coverage, comprehensive, and collision. We checked each company’s website for how many of the supplemental coverage options (endorsements) and discount options they offered from our lists of the most common coverage add-ons.
We also evaluated each company’s site for its customer service, education, and navigation tools. Then, we consulted J.D. Power and Consumer Reports to see how each company’s customer service and claims service ratings stacked up and Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard & Poor’s for their most recent financial stability ratings for each company. Lastly, we tested online quote tools for each provider to see if we could get a quick and easy quote without commitment or hassle.
All of our top picks are financially stable, have good customer service reputations, and offer a range of discounts (10-15 of the 27 we looked for) and coverage options. Ultimately, the right pick for you will come down to which provider has specific discounts to suit your individual situation and the right premium to suit your budget.
The 5 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Wisconsin
American Family is another great all-around pick for your car insurance shopping journey. It has great customer reputation scores from JD Power and Consumer Reports, as well as stable financial ratings; you can not only rest assured that they can back up any future claims you need to make, but also feel confident that the process will be hassle-free.
American Family offers an impressive number of discounts — 15 of the 27 we looked for, including discounts for loyalty, insurance bundling, and “away from home” students who don’t need to be covered during their college semesters. It’s also the only company to offer a discount for a family plan, or what they call a “generational discount,” meaning if your parent is an American Family customer, you’ll get a discount when you start your own coverage.
American Family also comes in strong with endorsement options, offering 13 of the 20 we looked for and coming in second only to Allstate. American Family offers emergency road service, rental reimbursement, and gap coverage (they’ll help pay the difference between what you owe on your lease in the event it’s more than the value of the car). They also offers rideshare coverage, essential if you drive for a company like Uber or Lyft.
We were impressed by American Family’s website as well. It outlines all the necessary information you’ll need to choose coverage, and the quote tool offers three varying levels of coverage that you can customize to see how different coverage options affect your quoted premium.
State Farm also has a stellar reputation when it comes to customer service and claims experience, pulling in the same good ratings as our two top picks: 3/5 from JD Power for overall customer experience and claims experience and 89/100 from Consumer Reports. Its financial ratings from Moody’s, AM Best and Standard & Poor’s also match those of American Family. State Farm is a solid pick if it turns out to have the right discounts for you.
State Farm offers a good range of discounts, 13 out of the 27 we looked for, most notably for owning a new car, adding an under-25 driver, and being a student away at school. While it’s just a few endorsements shy of matching our top picks, with 11 out of the 20 we looked for, State Farm does offer all the standard ones, as well as an option for rideshare coverage for Uber or Lyft drivers. However, if you’re specifically looking for gap loan payoff or new car replacement, you’re out of luck with State Farm.
We like State Farm’s website, with its clear and insightful information on offered coverage and discounts as well as extra resources on being a safe and responsible driver. However, unlike most of our top picks, the site doesn’t offer a live chat customer service option, which makes getting a quick question answered during the process a little easier. Also, while there is an online quote tool for State Farm, you’ll need to enter your license number or social security number simply to get a quote, so if you’re wary of putting that kind of information online, you’ll have to call an agent for a quote.
Allstate is king when it comes to coverage options — so if you know you really want a customized insurance plan, check out this top pick. It’s especially worth a look if you lease your car, as it’s one of only two of our top picks to offer gap loan or lease payoff coverage, which covers what you owe on your lease if your car is a total loss, even if the value is less than that.
Allstate’s endorsements (16 of the 20 we looked for) cover everything from the basic options, like liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, to the unique: custom parts coverage, new car replacement coverage, and property protection, which covers you if you accidentally damage someone else’s property, like a building, fence, or parked car.
When it comes to discounts, Allstate offers 12 of the 27 we looked for, slightly fewer than our top three picks. While they do offer the popular multi-policy discount if you have other insurance products with Allstate, they don’t have a multi-car discount like all of our other top picks. That said, they do offer some uncommon perks, like a new car discount and an early signing discount among others, so their offerings may just work for you depending on your situation.
Like our other Wisconsin top picks, Allstate has solid customer service and claims ratings, earning the same 3/5 overall score from JD Power overall and just a tad lower 88/100 from Consumer Reports, just one point behind American Family and State Farm’s. While Allstate’s financial stability rating is slightly lower than most of our other top picks, that’s just because the Wisconsin top picks all have particularly high financial stability ratings — you can rest assured that Allstate has good, stable ratings in terms of its ability to pay out those claims.
The Allstate website has a lot of good educational information, including a clear outline of your options when it comes to coverage and discounts, plus additional resources to help you learn more about auto insurance in general. However, like State Farm It doesn’t offer a live chat with a customer service rep option or an FAQ section, both features that improved our experience on other websites.
Progressive has a standout website that makes shopping for auto insurance clear, quick and informative. It not only spells out all the coverage options and discounts on offer, it explains what they mean, plus Progressive has a fun take on FAQ, complete with bright cartoons and tons of answers to questions you’ll probably have during the insurance buying process. Progressive’s online quote tool makes it easy to not only get a quote but also to customize the coverage to see how various options can affect your quoted monthly premium.
With 13 out of the 20 endorsements we looked for, Progressive offers more than just the basics with unique coverage options like pet injury coverage, in case your furry friend gets injured in an accident, gap loan payoff in case you owe more on the lease for your totaled car than it’s worth, and custom parts and mechanical breakdown coverage.
Like our other top picks for Wisconsin, Progressive has a good reputation when it comes to customer service and claims experience ratings, with that same 3/5 that all our top picks received from JD Power and a slightly lower but still impressive 87/100 from Consumer Reports. Along the same lines, Progressive earned good and stable financial ratings from all three of the ratings agencies we checked.
Where Progressive falls somewhat behind is in discounts, offering just 10 of the 27 we looked for in our analysis, fewer than any of our other top picks. That said, it does offer some discounts that none of our other picks did, like one for being a homeowner, or adding a driver under 18.
Please note: Geico quotes can only be obtained from Geico.
Geico has everything we looked for in a Wisconsin auto insurer: generous discounts, abundant supplemental coverages, and backing from every third-party evaluator we could find. It has 15 of the 27 discounts we looked for, tied with American Family for the most of our top picks. It’s also the only top pick to offer discounts specifically for federal employees, veterans, and over 500 membership and employee groups. In addition to basic liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage, Geico’s most noteworthy supplemental coverages are for rental reimbursement, mechanical breakdown coverage, and accident forgiveness (the only other pick that offers accident forgiveness is Allstate).
All five of our top picks in Wisconsin earned a 3/5 rating from JD Power in overall and claims customer satisfaction ratings. Geico (along with American Family and State Farm) also earned 89/100 for overall customer satisfaction from Consumer Reports. Top marks from these satisfaction surveys mean you can look forward to an easy, supportive claims process in the event of an accident. Geico’s stable financial ratings also demonstrate that your insurance company will be around to back up their claims whenever you need them.
Guide to Wisconsin Auto Insurance
Rates are higher in cities
To see how your location can affect premiums, we got quotes for a single, employed, 37-year-old man driving a 2010 Toyota Camry in both Milwaukee and Grafton.
|Milwaukee (zip 53212)||Grafton (zip 53024)|
Example coverage: 100/300/100 liability, $5,000 medical expenses coverage, 100/300 for Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist liability coverage, and Comprehensive and Collision coverage: $500 deductible
While auto insurance rates in Wisconsin are relatively low compared to national averages, there are big discrepancies in rates for city-dwellers versus folks who live outside of central metropolitan areas. As you can see in the table above, premiums can vary from company to company even with the exact same coverage options and covering the same type of driver and car in the same location. But what might make an even bigger difference is where you actually live.
If you live in the metropolitan Milwaukee area, for instance, you can see that the price difference in premiums can be nearly double that of the same exact coverage situation for someone living in nearby Grafton.
Watch for deer
According to a recent study by State Farm, Wisconsin came in at number four for the most common states for deer-vehicle collisions. The national claim cost average for such a collision in the same year was $4,179, so you might want to consider comprehensive and collision coverage while you shop for auto insurance in Wisconsin.
Ask your agent which coverage options cover animal accidents (companies classify them differently) and see how this will affect your premium — for a few more dollars a month, it might just be worth it.
Accident responsibility is often split in Wisconsin
Negligence laws in most states usually just assign fault to one party or another in a vehicle accident. However, in Wisconsin, it’s not so cut and dry. There’s a comparative negligence law, which means responsibility for an accident is frequently shared between parties based on percentage of negligence.
This means you can only recover damages from someone else’s insurance if you are found to be less than 50 percent at-fault for the accident, and the amount of damages you can recover will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility. For example, if you were found to be 20 percent responsible for an accident in which you suffered $100,000 in damages, you may only be able to recover $80,000. One more reason to get as much insurance as you can afford to keep out-of-pocket costs down in the event of an accident.
Wisconsin Auto Insurance FAQ
What are average auto insurance rates in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin’s auto insurance rates are on the low side — on average $737 per year, compared to the nationwide average of $1,009. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your car, your coverage, and your address. Residents of central cities like Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay can also expect to pay more.
What is the minimum amount of auto insurance required by law in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, the minimum liability coverage is 25/50/10, meaning:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $10,000 property damage coverage per accident
Wisconsin also requires at least 25/50 Uninsured Motorist coverage (which covers you for $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident if you get in an accident and the person at fault is uninsured). Auto insurers also have to offer you at least $1,000 in medical expense coverage, which can help cover medical costs for you or your passengers following an accident, regardless of who is at fault (however, this coverage is not compulsory).
What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Wisconsin?
If you’re pulled over or involved in an accident in Wisconsin and can’t provide proof of insurance, you’ll face a fine for as much as $500, and you could also lose your license. And if you provide false insurance information, that number could go all the way up to $5,000.
The Best Wisconsin Auto Insurance: Summed Up
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