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Wisconsin Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Wisconsin Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Wisconsin is located in the North Central portion of the United States and is considered to be a part of the Great Lakes region. Based on both overall area and population, it is slightly above average compared to other states. The state’s geography is very diverse with highlands in the north, plains in the central portion, uplands in the southwest, and ridges and lowlands in the southeast area. The state has officially been nicknamed “Badger State” in reference to lead miners of the 1830s that lived in caves and hillsides like “badgers.”

Eventually the nickname was given to all individuals from the state of Wisconsin and the badger was chosen as the state animal. The other official nickname given to this state is “America’s Dairyland” because it is among the top producers of dairy products in the United States and is famous for its Cheese. Various industries that have a strong economic influence in this state include agriculture, manufacturing, and health care.

Wisconsin Motorcycle Insurance

Are you a resident of Wisconsin that owns a motorcycle? If you want to drive your motorcycle on public roads in this state, you must follow legal requirements in place by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). The first thing that all individuals are required to do is establish financial responsibility before driving. Financial responsibility means that you have the necessary protection to cover any potential damages that you may cause in an accident. Accidents can cost a lot of money, so the state wants you to be financially prepared for one before you drive.

How to Establish Financial Responsibility in WI

In the state of Wisconsin, there are a variety of ways to establish financial responsibility. The most commonly utilized option is purchasing a liability insurance policy. Most people aren’t aware of various alternatives or find them too costly. However, it is nice to know all of your options as a resident in this state.

  • Liability Insurance: Buy a liability policy in compliance with the state-mandated coverage. This can be purchased from any state-authorized insurer.
  • Cash Deposit: Individuals are allowed to place a $60,000 cash deposit with the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT). This cash will be on hold by the state and used if you are ever involved in a crash.
  • Surety Bond: You may obtain a bond for the amount of $60,000 to be used in the event of an accident. The bond should be issued by a licensed insurance company.
  • Self-Insurance: If you have over 25 vehicles registered to your name, you can apply for self-insurance. This is an option geared towards owners of fleets and businesses, but if you own 25+ vehicles, you can qualify.

Motorcycles / Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

Do you know how your two-wheeled vehicle should be classified in Wisconsin? Many people get motorcycles mixed up with mopeds, scooters, etc. It is important to know the proper classification of your vehicle before you drive. Two-wheeled vehicles are defined differently depending on the state. The type of vehicle that you drive also affects whether you need to obtain insurance, registration, and the license necessary for operation.

Type 1 Motorcycle: A motor vehicle capable of speeds in excess of 30 mph on a dry level hard surface with no wind, and a power source as an integral part of the vehicle, while carrying an operator of at least 150 lbs. It must also be designed with two wheels in tandem, seating for the operator, and it may have a side-car attached. Or it must have no more than three wheels, seating for the operator and no more than three passengers, and it may NOT have an enclosed area for the operator.

Type 2 Motorcycle: A motor vehicle designed to have at least 3 wheels in contact with the ground with a curb weight less than 1,500 pounds, and a passenger and operator area with sides permanently enclosed with rigid construction and a top that may be convertible. Examples include: motorized golf carts, postal department mailsters, etc.

Motor Bicycle: A bicycle to which a power unit has been added to permit travel at 30 mph or less on a level, dry surface without wind and a 150 lb. operator.

Moped: Any vehicle (excluding a tractor) with a power source that is capable of speeds that do not exceed 30 mph on a level, dry, windless surface with a 150 lb. operator. This may be a bicycle-type vehicle with fully operative pedals and an engine that does not exceed 130 cc piston displacement. This may also include a Type 1 Motorcycle with an automatic transmission and an engine that does not exceed 50 cc piston displacement.

Note: A Class M license is NOT required to operate a moped, but a Class D license is required. If you have any additional questions regarding vehicle classification, licensing, insurance, and/or registration, be sure to contact the Wisconsin DOT at the following number: (608)-266-2353. They will help answer any questions and address concerns that you may have.

Wisconsin Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Assuming you plan on purchasing a liability insurance policy, below are the minimum amounts of coverage that you will need. In addition to getting a liability policy that provides coverage for bodily injuries and property damage, you will also need uninsured motorist coverage. It is important to keep these minimums in mind when shopping for a policy. You may want to consider increasing these coverage amounts for better protection.

Minimum Liability Insurance:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage per accident

Uninsured Motorist:

  • $25,000 per person

  • $50,000 per accident

It is important to recognize that the amounts listed above are the bare minimums in terms of coverage. If you are ever involved in a moderate or severe accident and only have the “minimum” coverage required, the costs may exceed these amounts. If the damage ever exceeds the amount of coverage that you have on your policy, you will need to pay the additional costs from your own savings. Most experts would recommend increasing your coverage limits.

Wisconsin Motorcycle Laws: Safety & Licensing Requirements

Each state has specific laws and licensing regulations that must be followed by motorcyclists. If you live in this state and plan on driving legally, you will need to know the laws. Before driving, you need to understand whether you need to wear a helmet, eye protection, and the type of licensing necessary to operate your vehicle.

  • Helmets: Individuals under 18 years of age and instructional permit holders must wear helmets. These helmets need to be in compliance with the DOT standards.
  • Eye Protection: All motorcyclists are required to use eye protection.
  • Headlights: Drivers are required to use headlights during the daytime. This is to help increase visibility and maximize safety.
  • License: In order to drive a motorcycle, you must obtain a Class M license. This will require that you pass a knowledge-based test, followed by a skills-based road (driving) test. You can also complete a Motorcycle Safety Course (BRC 1) and obtain a certificate from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation; this certificate qualifies you for a Class M license.

Proof of Insurance / Responsibility in WI

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation uses an electronic verification system to keep track of your insurance information. When you purchase an insurance policy, your insurer will send an electronic notification to the WisDOT. This allows your insurance coverage to be on file in the state’s database. Most top insurance providers do this automatically as soon as you buy coverage.

  • Insurance ID Card: Your insurance provider will issue you an identification card when you purchase a policy. This card is supposed to be kept with you at all times while operating your motorcycle.

You are also required to carry physical proof of insurance with you while driving. Although the state has implemented an electronic verification system, you still need an insurance identification card at all times while driving. This card contains important policy information that you will need to show law enforcement if you are pulled over.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in WI

If you attempt to drive without insurance, you will eventually get pulled over, and face penalties. Depending on whether you have been caught without insurance before will influence how you are penalized. If you are a second-time or repeat offender, your penalty will be more severe than committing a first-time offense.

  • Citations: You will be issued a fine of $10 for not having insurance with you while driving. If you have no insurance and are caught, the fine will be up to $500.
  • Calculated Damages: If you are involved in an accident and don’t have insurance, you will be held financially responsible. This means you will need to pay off all damages out of your own savings if you are “at fault.” Total damages and court costs will be assessed by legal officials.
  • Suspended License: In some cases, you may get your driver’s license suspended for a period of time. If you are involved in an accident and don’t have insurance, this usually results in an immediate suspension of your license.
  • Suspended Registration: In some cases, the registration of your vehicle may get suspended. This means that nobody will be able to drive your motorcycle until the suspension period has been served.
  • SR-22 Form: The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles will need proof of insurance before you are allowed to regain driving privileges. You may also need to post a security deposit with the WI DMV before they let you back on the road. In other words, you need to establish financial responsibility.
  • Reinstatement Fees: You may need to pay various fees to get your license and registration reinstated.

Note: In order to avoid legal penalization, you must always maintain adequate insurance coverage in compliance with the state laws and carry proof.

Wisconsin Motorcycle Insurance Companies

There are plenty of great insurers throughout the state of Wisconsin, but how do you find the one that best fits your needs? In order to find the company that is an ideal fit for you and your motorcycle, you will need to do some comparative research. In other words, you will want to gather information about various companies, compare coverage, and determine the overall cost of a policy. Your goal should be to find a reputable company that is offering you the most value for your money.

Perhaps the best place to start your search for a provider is online. Simply use the free quote box below (or at the top of the page) by entering your Zip Code. From here you will notice that the system generates a list of insurance companies based on your location. It is your job to get free quotes from each of these top providers. Once you have obtained quotes, you will be able to find one company that offers the most value and is the best fit for your bike!

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