AUTO INSURANCE Frequently Asked Questions

Is auto insurance mandatory in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin has a financial responsibility law.  It is designed to make sure that any motorist licensed to drive in Wisconsin has insurance or enough money to pay for damages to others that may be caused by a motor vehicle.  These requirements may be met through a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, a surety bond, personal funds, or certificate of self-insurance.

What are the minimum liability limits that I need to carry in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin requires $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident and $10,000 for property damage.  The law also requires uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury liability coverage.  You may want to protect your assets by purchasing more coverage than what is provided in the minimum policy required in Wisconsin.  Higher limits are available for an additional premium.

Does my auto insurance policy cover me if I rent a car?
When renting a car, you need insurance.  If you have adequate insurance on your own car, including collision and comprehensive, this may be enough. You may, however, be responsible for the loss of rents if the rental car is in an accident.  Your personal auto policy will not cover this.  Check with the car rental company on their requirements.  In this case, you may want to purchase the physical damage protection only.

What should I do if I have an accident?
Make sure that you and all of your vehicle occupants are not injured.  Obtain necessary medical attention for those that might be.  Call the police.  Determine whether or not your vehicle can be driven.  If not, ensure it is removed from the accident scene through available law enforcement.    Call your insurance agent or the insurance company to report the accident.

Does my auto insurance policy have a grace period?
Auto insurance policies do not have a required grace period.  The premium is due, at the insurance company, on the date identified on the premium notice.  If the premium is not received by that date, the policy automatically terminates.

What affects the price of auto insurance?
When determining the rate for an auto insurance policy, insurers separate drivers into categories called classifications.  Drivers are classified based on a number of different characteristics including, but not limited to, age and gender, martial status, where the vehicle is garaged, driving record, make and model of vehicle, prior insurance coverage and annual miles driven.  History has shown that drivers with certain characteristics, such as a poor driving record, have a greater chance of being involved in an accident, and the criteria (such as age and sex) are out of your control, others, such as driving record and type of vehicle driven, are within your control.

Can my insurance company cancel me because I had claims?
Yes they can and do!  Today especially insurance companies are canceling insurance due to numerous claims.  We would recommend that the small towing and windshield repair claims no longer be claimed as it will go against your record.  You should look at the coverage to be there for the larger claims.  We also recommend that you have higher deductibles for your comprehensive and collision coverage.  The insurance company looks at this favorably that you are more willing to share in a claim when you are at fault.

HOME OWNERS INSURANCE Frequently Asked Questions

What affects the cost of homeowner’s insurance?
The cost of homeowner’s insurance depends on the type of construction, the location, and the amount of insurance.  A brick building, for example, is more fire-resistant than a frame building and sometimes it costs more to insure a frame building.  Many insurers also charge less to insure a newer home than an older one because newer homes are less likely to sustain damages in storms and fires.  Some areas have greater crime and vandalism problems than others.
The building’s location affects the cost of coverage because some communities have better fire protection than others.  Insurance companies divide the state into rating territories.  Each city and locality in Wisconsin is given a fire protection classification ranging from 1 – 10, depending on the amount of fire protection in the area.  These rating classes depend on such factors as water pressure, access to fire department, and the training and skills of firefighters.  Most of the larger cities in Wisconsin are in classes 1-4, the lowest rating classes.  Small towns and rural areas have higher fire protection classes and generally higher prices.

Does my policy automatically pay the limit?
Many people misunderstand the meaning of a limit.  A limit is the most your insurance policy will pay for a loss.  Your loss may not be as high as the limit itself.  In that case, your policy covers only the amount of your actual loss.  You must also be prepared to substantiate what you have lost.

Last month our family dog bit a neighbor, and I turned the claim over to my insurance company.  Now, I got a notice from my insurance company stating that they are going to nonrenew my homeowner’s insurance.  Can they do this?
Under most circumstances companies are free to nonrenew insurance policies.  If someone has had multiple claims or the potential for additional claims the insurance company will often nonrenew a policy.  If an insurance company pays an insurance claim as a result of the actions of an animal kept on the premises, they may require the animal be removed as a condition of continuing insurance.

During a storm, a tree from my neighbor’s yard fell and destroyed my fence.  Does my homeowner’s policy pay for the damage or does my neighbor’s policy?
Generally, your own policy should cover such a loss.  The owner of the tree will only be responsible if you can prove the owner was negligent in causing the damage.  Insurers often deny these types of liability claims.  Your homeowner’s insurance policy may have a limited amount of coverage available to remove your neighbor’s tree (or your tree) that is blown over by wind and damages an insured structure on your property.  This will be explained in the Additional Coverages section of your homeowner’s policy.

If my roof was partially damaged by wind, does my insurance company have to replace my whole roof?
The insurance company is required to pay for the replacement of the part of the roof that was damaged by the wind.  But the insurance company will not be required to replace roofing that was not damaged.