McFarland: Jeff Engelkes has been selling American Family Insurance in McFarland for quite a while, and he admits he was a little surprised when he heard the Governor wanted to increase the minimum liability requirements for auto insurance. "There would be some that would choose not to have it if we had to have the higher limits."
Wisconsin does not require you to have auto insurance, but if you do get it the minimum amount of liability insurance is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Governor Doyle's budget would increase those minimums to $100,000/$300,000.
"It's going to have an impact on rates," says Andy Franken, President of the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance. He says the package of changes included in the budget would increase rates more than 33%. "This package will hit low and middle income families the hardest."
"The increase in the costs of the premiums is almost imperceptible," says Keith Clifford, a member of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. He says an increase in the minimums is long overdue, mainly because the cost of medical coverage has gone up.
Clifford says too many people face bankruptcy over medical bills racked up after an accident. In the end, the costs are passed on through the health care system. "Private health insurers, BadgerCare, medicaid are picking up burdens that ought to be bourn by liability insurance."
Jeff says that 7% increase may be too much for some people. "It may not seem like a significant amount, but for some individuals that could be the difference between choosing to have the coverage and not having the coverage."