Mandatory state vehicle insurance
|Motor-vehicle insurance is required for all motorists,
except for trailers or semi-trailers, in the state of Wisconsin,
effective June 1. The requirement was included in the last state of
Sections 344.01 and 344.62 of the Wisconsin Statutes provide that, with
certain exceptions, a person may not operate a motor vehicle on the
state’s highways unless the owner or operator has a liability insurance
policy in effect for the motor vehicle.
At Fort McCoy, visitors must be prepared to show proof of insurance,
which may be in the form of an insurance card or letter from their
insurance company, when they apply for a visitor’s pass, said Sgt.
Domenic Modica of the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services (DES)
Employees will need to show proof of insurance when they register their
vehicle for the first time or renew their registration at Fort McCoy.
Otherwise, as in the rest of Wisconsin, it is a secondary enforcement
law. Motorists cannot be stopped by a law enforcement officer solely to
determine if they are driving without proof of insurance.
Law enforcement personnel can ask motorists for proof of insurance
during a traffic stop or inspection made for other purposes. A driver
may not be arrested or taken into physical custody merely for failing to
display proof of insurance. (Wisconsin Statute 344.65 (3)).
Motorists in the state of Wisconsin must have coverage, according to the
Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), in the following minimum
• $50,000 for injury or death of one person;
• $100,000 for injury or death of two or more people in any one
• $15,000 for damage to others’ property.
There is no requirement that a vehicle have in place either collision or
comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage to a vehicle
resulting from an accident involving another vehicle, an object such as
a tree, or a rollover. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage from other
causes, such as fire, vandalism, water, hail, glass breakage, wind,
falling objects, or hitting a bird, deer, or other animal. Among those
exempted from the requirement to carry liability insurance are those who
have a bond or deposit of cash or securities on file with the DOT,
qualified self-insurers, and governmental units. Act 28 prohibits an
insurer from placing an applicant for motor vehicle insurance coverage
in a high-risk (and more expensive) category solely on the basis of the
applicant having not previously had motor vehicle insurance.
For more information about mandatory vehicle insurance in Wisconsin,
visit the website
Effective, Jan. 1, 2017 and at five-year intervals thereafter the DOT
will adjust the liability amounts that must be carried to reflect
changes in the consumer price index (inflation).
Driving without having a motor-vehicle insurance policy may result in a
forfeiture of not more than $500. (Wisconsin Statute 344.65 (1) (a)).
Failure of a driver to have proof of insurance in one’s immediate
possession and to display the proof when required by a law enforcement
officer may result in a citation with a penalty of a $10 forfeiture.
However, a person may not be convicted of failure to show proof of
insurance if he or she subsequently produces proof that valid insurance
was in effect when the ticket was issued either at the time of the
person’s appearance in court in response to the ticket or in the office
of the traffic officer who issued it (Wisconsin Statute 344.65 (1) (b)
Displaying fraudulent, false, or invalid proof of insurance for the
purposes of creating the appearance of satisfying the requirement to
show proof may result in a forfeiture of not more than $5,000. Also
prohibited is possessing, forging, falsifying, counterfeiting, or
fraudulently altering any proof or policy of insurance or other
insurance document. (Wisconsin Statute 344.64 and 344.65 (2)).
Effective June 1, there is no requirement that motorists provide proof
of insurance when they obtain their driver’s license or are registering
a vehicle, unless that information is requested by Department of Motor
Vehicles and is a requirement before reinstatement of a driver license
after a suspension or revocation.
While not all states require drivers to buy liability insurance to show
financial responsibility, 49 states (plus Washington, D.C.) do. New
Hampshire is the only state that does not have compulsory auto insurance
liability laws, as of June 2010.
For more information about motor-vehicle insurance requirements in the
Fort McCoy community, call the Fort McCoy Traffic Safety Section at
(Information in this story is compiled from the Wisconsin Department
of Motor Vehicles. Story submitted by the Fort McCoy Directorate of