If you're a Wisconsin resident looking for insurance, you're in the right place. We've compiled all the info you need to help you find home, auto, life, health or long term care insurance right here on this page.
We recommend you read it over, contact the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance at (608) 266-3585 with any questions, and let us help you find the coverage you need today.
Auto insurance protects you and your family from financial loss resulting from automobile accidents. If you cause an accident, you may be responsible for the losses of anyone else involved. You may also be held liable for compensation regarding property damage, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering if others are injured.
Driving without car insurance can carry some stiff penalties. You may be forced to give up your home, your savings and future wages to help compensate for any losses you cause, so keep this in mind when tempted to forego auto insurance.
So what does your state require when it comes to car insurance? Wisconsin has in place a Financial Responsibility Law which requires all motorists to carry liability insurance. This protects and covers others on the road whose lives you might impact while driving.
According to the department of insurance, minimum liability requirements include:
- $25,000 for the death or injury of one person
- $50,000 for injury or death of two or more persons
- $10,000 for property damage
Some factors used to determine your insurance rates are within your control; others aren’t. Your state reports the following as the most important factors in setting insurance rates, so do what you can to affect these items positively:
- Your age, sex and marital status. According to statistics, young single men have a greater risk of getting into an auto accident, so will tend to pay more.
- Where you live. Generally, people living in metropolitan areas are at a greater risk for theft and auto accidents than those living in rural areas. Thus, city folks are more likely to pay a higher premium.
- Your car. The year, make and model of your car may influence your premium. The less it costs to repair or replace your automobile, the lower your premium will be.
- How you use your car. The more you drive your car, the more you will pay to insure it. Why? Frequent drivers are at an increased risk for auto accidents.
- Prior insurance coverage. Your auto insurance company will want to know if your previous coverage was cancelled for nonpayment. Any prior coverage will also tell your new insurer about your claims history.
No one wants to pay any more than necessary to insure themselves and their vehicles. Use these money-saving tips for maximum savings, prescribed by your state’s insurance department:
- Practice safe driving. Madison and Milwaukee recently ranked in the top 20 in Allstate's America's Best Drivers Report. Fortunately, in the world of car insurance, safe drivers receive discounts. If you have not had any violations in the last three to five years, your premium will be drastically lower than those with blemished driving records.
- Double up. Ask about discounts for insuring two or more vehicles with the same insurer. You may save up to 15 percent!
- Study hard. High school or college students who maintain a B average can save up to 20 percent on their auto insurance policy.
- Enjoy cold turkey. Some companies offer nonsmokers a 5 to 10 percent discount!
The state of Wisconsin has taken great provisions to help its residents get and stay insured, as shown in these measures passed by lawmakers:
- Coverage under a group plan cannot be denied or limited because of your health status. This protection is called nondiscrimination.
- If you own a small business and choose to purchase a group insurance plan, you cannot be turned down because of your group's age or health status. This is known as guaranteed issue.
- Most medical insurance policies are guaranteed renewable. This means that your individual health plan can’t be cancelled if you get sick.
If you do purchase individual Wisconsin health insurance, the cost will be largely determined by your health status. The more costly your health condition(s), the higher your premium is likely to be. Other factors used to determine the cost of your health plan are your age, gender and occupation.
If you are unable to get insured in the normal market, you may be eligible for the Wisconsin Health Risk Insurance Plan (HIRSP). HIRSP is a high-risk pool for individuals who cannot obtain regular health insurance due to medical conditions. For more information, or to apply, contact HIRSP Customer Service at (800) 828-4777.
BadgerCare is a health insurance program designed to assist low-income, working families with health care coverage. To be eligible for BadgerCare, you must comply with the following requirements:
- Your income must fall within BadgerCare guidelines
- You must have kids under the age of 19 living with you
- You must not be covered under any form of Wisconsin health insurance
Low-income families may also receive financial assistance through Wisconsin Medicaid, which offers coverage for families, pregnant women, and the elderly and disabled.
Additionally, Well Woman Medicaid provides full coverage for women who have been screened and diagnosed with breast and/or cervical cancer through the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP).
For more information on financial assistance programs for health insurance in your state, contact the following:
Wisconsin Health Risk Insurance Plan: (800) 828-4777
BadgerCare & Wisconsin Medicaid: (800) 362-3002
Wisconsin Well Woman Program: (800) 218-8408 or (608) 266-8311
Buying a home involves more than the purchase. It means budgeting for insurance premiums, utility payments, maintenance and upkeep, loan payments and property taxes. All these commitments can tear a hole in your pocket, so it's important to find the most extensive home insurance coverage possible at the best price.
According to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, more than 200 Wisconsin home insurance companies sell policies within the state, selling four types of coverage contained within one insurance policy. These include property damage, personal liability, medical payments and additional living expenses.
Outlined here are the details of each type and what they cover:
- Property damage: helps pay for damage to your home and personal property
- Personal liability: pays for legal fees and damage from non-auto-related accidents you or someone in your family cause
- Medical payments: pays medical expenses for anyone outside your own family accidentally injured in your home
- Additional living expenses: covers expenses you incur when your home is damaged and must be repaired, and you must move into a motel or apartment temporarily
Before you purchase a homeowners policy, MAKE SURE you have sufficient coverage of each type. This will help you avert financial disaster before it occurs.
Most Wisconsin homeowner's insurance companies offer the following types of policies that contain the coverages just discussed:
- Broad Form (HO-2): offers you coverage against specifically listed perils
- Special Form (HO-3): offers property and liability coverage for your home and other structures on your property. Protects against all risks specifically listed (e.g., fire, windstorm, hail, lightening and falling objects). Covers more risks than an HO-2 policy
- Tenants Form (HO-4): provides coverage for a renter's personal property and liability against the property of others. Also pays additional living expenses
- Comprehensive Form (HO-5): covers your home and personal property for everything not specifically excluded. Provides the broadest coverage, but is more expensive and not often offered.
- Condominium Form (HO-6): covers a condominium owner's personal property, personal liability, and any items not insured by the association's policy.
- Modified Coverage Form (HO-8): provides coverage for older homes whose replacement cost far exceeds market value.
State insurers also sell home insurance coverage to those living in mobile homes or on farms or ranches. A knowledgeable home insurance provider licensed in your state can answer your questions about any of these policies and help you determine what type of coverage you need in your particular situation.
Life insurance offers you a cost-effective method to care for your family when you can no longer do so yourself. It is an important tool to:
- Replace income
- Pay outstanding debts and long term obligations
- Contribute to charities or leave money for friends or family members
- Plan your estate
Most of us don’t realize until it’s too late how much our families depend on us. But if you have dependents, you should consider how they would survive if they no longer had your income to meet their needs.
Costs can mount quickly in your absence, especially if your family must pay off long term medical bills, estate taxes or funeral expenses associated with your death. In addition, as the price of a college education continues to climb, your children need the assurance that you’ve made provision for their future until they can financially stand on their own.
Elderly parents also present an important consideration. The rising cost of health and long term care insurance makes it absolutely necessary to make sure your parents are provided for in their later years…a chore most adult children take seriously. But how will your family do so if you pass away, too?
Life insurance provides you an opportunity to analyze your family’s needs and decide how you can act in their best interests now, before you die.
Once you are offered life insurance, you have to weigh all your policy options. Term life insurance is temporary, term-based insurance coverage for people 30 years old or younger. We recommend this type of policy if you are young and healthy. Although inexpensive, you get what you pay for: it provides your beneficiaries only death benefits—no cash savings. And, should you leave your company or forget a premium payment, your policy could be cancelled.
On the other hand, if you have a family and outstanding debt, you might consider permanent life insurance. These plans provide greater benefits for your loved ones, including cash savings, which build equity while you own the policy, and a death benefit. Some insurance companies may even allow you to take out a cash value loan against a permanent life insurance policy to help meet short-term financial goals. Just be aware that, whatever monies are still outstanding at the time of your death will reduce the amount of benefits your loved ones receive.