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Wisconsin law could raise car insurance premiums

Drivers in Wisconsin would be required to have a minimum of liability insurance under the budget plan proposed by the state's governor, but insurance industry groups say the mandate would raise car insurance premiums for consumers with moderate incomes.

Along with New Hampshire, Wisconsin is one of only two states that do not require drivers to have car insurance. Insurance groups oppose the budget proposal, saying the coverage limits are too high and will raise car insurance premiums by hundreds of dollars.

State senator John Lehman, a supporter of mandatory car insurance, said it is common sense for drivers to be required "to take financial responsibility for injury or damage one might cause in an accident."

Yet the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) said drivers who buy lower amounts of coverage, typically ones with lower income and fewer assets, would be most penalized.

"These provisions, which were buried in the budget bill, will hurt rather than protect consumers," said Deirdre Manna, PCI's vice president of industry, regulatory and political affairs. "Legislators need to understand that these misguided provisions would force Wisconsin families to pay hundreds of dollars more for car insurance they can't afford or don't need."

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