How Car Insurance Costs Compare In Wisconsin

Wisconsin, a state which is many parts rural and many parts urban has some interesting car insurance price trends. The most fascinating however is the large discrepancy between prices in Milwaukee and the rest of the state. While the average price for our sample 30 year old male driver was $1,128 per year, the rate in Milwaukee was nearly 90% greater, and 74% greater than the next most expensive city.

Overall, Milwaukee rates are 74% higher than anywhere else in the state

The next most expensive city was only 16% over the state average. Below we explore Wisconsin's least and most expensive cities for car insurance, and take a deeper look at Milwaukee's steep price.

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Table of Contents

The Most Expensive Cities in Wisconsin

1. Milwaukee

  • $2,143 per year
  • 90% higher than state average

2. Superior

  • $1,305 per year
  • 16% higher than state average

3. Cuday

  • $1,305 per year
  • 16% higher than state average

4. Ashland

  • $1,275 per year
  • 13% higher than state average

5. Racine

  • $1,258 per year
  • 12% higher than state average

As we say above, Milwaukee is significantly higher in price than anywhere else in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee price tag is in the same range as other large cities such as Los Angeles, and Dallas. With those cities however, their states are overall more expensive, and are far closer to the average than Milwaukee.

The Least Expensive Cities in Wisconsin

1. Sheboygan

  • $945 per year
  • 16% lower than state average

2. Janesville

  • $961 per year
  • 15% lower than state average

3. Manitowoc

  • $974 per year
  • 14% lower than state average

4. Plymouth

  • $984 per year
  • 12% lower than state average

5. Green Bay

  • $993 per year
  • 12% lower than state average

The five cities, located in the eastern portion of Wisconsin only 50 to 100 miles away from Milwaukee are the cheapest in the state. Interestingly on the list is Green Bay, the state's third largest city.


Why is Milwaukee So Much More Expensive Than the Rest of Wisconsin?

We cannot say for certain why Milwaukee is a full 90% more expensive than the state average. We can point out some key facts and statistics however that may shed light on the discrepancy.

Milwaukee Stands Above The Rest

As we talk briefly above, Milwaukee's price tag is not anything unusual for a city of its size. What is peculiar is how much greater it is than every other city in the state. We took a look at five similar sized cities as Milwaukee and explored how they stacked up to pricing in their state. As you can see from the table to the right, neither city had as big a price difference from the state average as did Milwaukee. The only one that comes close is Baltimore, which is 73% greater than the Maryland average. The key difference between Milwaukee and Baltimore however is that Baltimore is only 32% more expensive than the next most expensive city, while Milwaukee is a full 74%.

How Similar Cities Rank

RankCityPop.Rate% From Average
3Las Vegas623,747$2,21139%

The Most Car Thefts

Milwaukee has more car thefts than any other city in Wisconsin--by far. Going by 2012 FBI data, we found Milwaukee had 4,803 thefts in total. Wisconsin's next largest cities, Madison and Green Bay, did not even have a combined 500 car thefts in the same year. Car thefts are costly, and when they happen, they are filed as a comprehensive auto insurance claim. As a result, a high degree of car thefts may lead to higher comprehensive premiums for people with cars in Milwaukee.

Number of Car Thefts by City

RankCityTheftsYearly Rate
4Green Bay109$992

The Highest Amount of Commuters

Milwaukee is one of the urban centers of Wisconsin, and as such, gets many commuters every year. People from all over the eastern portion of Wisconsin travel into Milwaukee every day, and the higher congestion on a daily basis may be a contributing factor to the high prices. More cars, means more accidents, which means higher premiums for people in that area. The table to the right shows the number of commuters who came to each of those counties between the years of 2009 and 2013.

Counties That Get The Most Commuters in Wisconsin

1Milwaukee County456,003
2Dane County299,526
3Waukesha County222,221
4Brown County138,964
5Winnebago County93,637

The Most Fatal Car Accidents

In Milwaukee, there are many more fatal accidents than anywhere else in Wisconsin. According to FARS 2014 data, nearly 50 fatal car crashes happened in Milwaukee, about 10x than anywhere else. Any car accident with a fatality is usually much costlier than a non-fatal one. The more expensive an accident, the more expensive rates will be for people in that area.

Cities With Most Fatal Accidents

RankCityFatal Accidents

How Cities in Wisconsin Rank for Car Insurance Costs

RankCityAnnual RatePercent Difference From Average
8South Milwaukee$1,2218%
9Oak Creek$1,2138%
10Rice Lake$1,2127%
12New Richmond$1,1946%
17River Falls$1,1653%
22New Berlin$1,1310%
25Lake Geneva$1,121-1%
29Chippewa Falls$1,099-3%
33Menomonee Falls$1,085-4%
37Eau Claire$1,079-4%
42Sun Prairie$1,062-6%
43De Forest$1,057-6%
44La Crosse$1,057-6%
47West Bend$1,054-7%
48Fort Atkinson$1,052-7%
49Wisconsin Rapids$1,051-7%
50Port Washington$1,048-7%
53Stevens Point$1,040-8%
54Beaver Dam$1,040-8%
57Lake Mills$1,036-8%
59Fond Du Lac$1,029-9%
62Green Bay$993-12%


We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 66 towns and cities in Wisconsin. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, had a good credit score and a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in Wisconsin. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.

Coverage TypeWisconsin MinimumStudy Limits
Body Liability$25,000 per person/ $50,000 per Accident$50,000 per person/ $100,000 Per Accident
Property Damage$10,000 Per Accident$50,000 Per Accident
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist BI$25,000 per Person/ $50,000 per Accident$50,000 Per Person/ $100,000 Per Accident
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist PDNone$50,000 Per Accident
Personal Injury ProtectionNoneNone
Comprehensive and CollisionNone$500 Deductible

Car Thefts

This metric was taken from 2012 data from Uniform Crime Reporting and gave the number of car thefts in each city.

Number of Commuters

We took a look at data which gives the number of commuters from each county in each state between the years 2009 and 2013. To get the totals in the table above, we summed up the number of commuters that entered each county.

Fatal Accidents

For this data we took a look at FARS (Fatal Analysis Reporting System) which keeps track of fatal accidents across the country. We found the data here.

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

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