Wisconsin drivers have low average rates for car insurance, but drivers with a DUI may see their rates increase significantly. If you have a DUI on your record, you may have to put in some extra work to find an affordable policy with the coverage types you want. Understanding Wisconsin’s DUI laws and collecting quotes from various companies may help you find a carrier that meets your needs.

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DUI laws in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a driving under the influence charge is referred to by the legal phrase “operating while intoxicated” (OWI). In Wisconsin, the terms OWI and DUI are often used interchangeably. There are a number of illegal practices and driving behaviors that could constitute an OWI in Wisconsin. These include:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
  • Driving under the influence of an intoxicant, restricted controlled substance or any other drug.
  • Driving with a detectable amount of a legally controlled substance in your blood.

A person can be charged and convicted of an OWI in Wisconsin if the requisite levels of alcohol or an illegal drug are detected in the blood. For drivers under the age of 21, any amount of alcohol in their system while driving is illegal and may result in penalties. For drivers with three or more prior OWI convictions, a BAC level over 0.02 can also result in an OWI.

A driver can also be charged for an OWI based solely on behavior observed by an arresting officer. This behavior may include weaving while driving or an inability to perform certain tasks after being pulled over and during a field sobriety test.

Penalties for an OWI conviction in Wisconsin are increasingly severe the more you have. A first or second conviction will result in a fine of up to $300 and a license revocation of six to nine months. A single OWI conviction does not carry potential prison time, but a second OWI within 10 years or a third offense or more could result in up to 15 years in prison, depending on frequency.

Consequences may increase if a minor under the age of 16 is in the car or if the driver causes harm or death to others. If the impaired driver kills another person while driving intoxicated, for example, they may be charged with a class C felony and face a fine of up to $100,000 and up to 40 years in prison.

Another factor that plays a role in determining your penalties is how many DUI or OWI convictions you have earned. How many DUIs is a felony in Wisconsin? If you have four or more within five years of your last conviction or a fifth OWI within your lifetime, you could face a felony charge that may result in jail time and higher fines.

How a DUI affects your car insurance in Wisconsin

The average insurance cost increase following a single OWI conviction in Wisconsin is 74 percent. Drivers with multiple convictions will likely see even more drastic increases and may have difficulty maintaining their policy or finding a new one.

Average insurance rates increase because insurers generally consider drivers with a DUI on their record to be high-risk. These drivers may be seen as more likely to engage in risky behavior, cause accidents and file claims.

Average annual full coverage premium before a DUI Average annual full coverage premium in Wisconsin after a DUI Percent increase
Wisconsin $1,292 $2,246 74%
National average $2,014 $3,091 53%

In addition to higher premium costs, Wisconsin drivers convicted of an OWI may also need to have an SR-22 filed by their insurance company. This certificate is mandated by the state and indicates that the driver meets the minimum car insurance requirements for Wisconsin. These requirements include liability coverage of 25/50/10 as well as uninsured motorist insurance and medical payments coverage.

Finding car insurance after a DUI in Wisconsin

Although the average insurance premium increase following a DUI in Wisconsin is 74 percent, all companies may weigh high-risk driving factors differently. Comparing quotes from various companies could help you find the best rates for your circumstances.

We compared average rates for some of Wisconsin’s largest insurers by market share and determined that the five below offer affordable rates to drivers with a DUI. Although your own rate is likely to be different, these companies may be a good place to start when you are looking for cheap car insurance after your DUI in Wisconsin. Speaking with a licensed insurance agent about your needs and seeking out potential discounts could also help you find a policy that fits within your budget.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage premium in Wisconsin before a DUI Average annual full coverage premium in Wisconsin after a DUI Percent increase
State Farm $917 $1,280 40%
Geico $927 $1,989 115%
Progressive $1,580 $1,878 19%
Allstate $2,027 $2,256 11%
USAA $937 $1,728 84%

Frequently asked questions

    • Whether or not your DUI is considered a felony in Wisconsin depends on the severity of your infraction and the number of times you have been convicted. Multiple OWI convictions may result in the classification of your infraction as a class C, D, E, F, G or H felony. If your OWI led to the injury or death of another person or persons, you are also more likely to be charged with a felony, which could lead to higher fines and potential jail time.
    • In Wisconsin, a DUI remains on your driving record for as long as you have your license. That doesn’t mean it will impact your insurance rates forever, though. Many insurance companies only consider a single DUI for 5-10 years when determining rates. If you have multiple infractions, however, your insurer may take them into consideration for a longer period. If you have been convicted of a DUI, you may want to gather quotes from several insurers before your policy renews each year to see if you can earn a lower rate by switching carriers.
    • Yes, in all likelihood you will be required to have your insurance company file an SR-22 with the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles to prove that you have purchased at least the minimum required amount of auto insurance to drive legally in Wisconsin. It’s possible that you may have to switch carriers following your conviction, since not all insurance companies are willing to file SR-22s for their policyholders. If your policy is through a company that does not handle SR-22 insurance, you will need to find another company to carry your insurance following your DUI conviction.
  • Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

    • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
    • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
    • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
    • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
    • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
    • $500 collision deductible
    • $500 comprehensive deductible

    To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

    These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

    Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.