Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Uninsured motorists/safety responsibility law

The uninsured motorists/safety responsibility law was enacted in 1945 to protect those who suffer damages in accidents caused by uninsured motorists. The program provides an incentive for motorists to carry liability insurance or otherwise satisfy accident damages. If the damages are not paid, your driver’s license and/or vehicle registration privileges are suspended.

The law applies to all drivers and owners of motor vehicles who are involved in reportable accidents in Wisconsin.

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) checks for insurance coverage on all drivers listed on an accident report. If all motorists in an accident are insured, no action is taken. If you are perceived to be at fault and uninsured, the other parties involved should complete the appropriate evaluation forms.

DMV calculates damages

When the Wisconsin DMV receives an injury and/or property damage evaluation report, the accident report is reviewed to determine if you appear to be at fault. If so, a total for the damages, any injuries and estimated court costs are calculated.

Owners of uninsured vehicles

You are still liable even if you were not driving when your uninsured vehicle was involved in an accident. The registrations of all your vehicles may be suspended. If your vehicle was stolen and proper proof is submitted to the DMV, you may be released from liability. (See Wis. Stat. 344.14 and Wis. Admin. Code 100.09.)

Citations pending

Citations issued as a result of an accident are not considered in the safety responsibility law. Whether a citation is upheld or dismissed does not absolve you from responsibility in the accident. However, if you win a civil lawsuit regarding liability for the accident, you will become eligible to reinstate.

Notice of suspension and safety responsibility (SR) requirements

The DMV sends notices of suspension to the driver who appears to be at fault in the accident. The registered owner(s) of the uninsured vehicle, if different than the driver, also receives a notice of suspension. The notice states the driving and/or vehicle registration privileges will be suspended unless the driver and/or owner does any one of the following:

  • Files proof of insurance showing liability insurance was in effect at the time of the accident.
  • Posts a security deposit with the Wisconsin DMV to cover the cost of the accident plus court costs.
  • Enters into an installment agreement to pay for the damages or injuries (form MV3128).
  • Submits evidence that the parties involved have settled the damage or money claims directly by filing a release of liability form (MV3041) with the Wisconsin DMV.
  • Requests a hearing if they believe a judgment in the amount claimed could not be rendered or if they believe they were not at fault.

SR suspension

A safety responsibility suspension remains in effect until you comply with one of the safety responsibility requirements listed above. However, if a suspension takes effect before a hearing is requested, the suspension will continue, pending the outcome of the hearing.


You may reinstate suspended privileges if you comply with one of the above options or if within one year of the suspension the Wisconsin DMV has not received notification of a pending lawsuit.

Reinstatement requires:

  • Filing of proof of insurance for three years
  • Payment of a reinstatement fee, which includes reinstatement of driving privileges and/or
  • A reinstatement fee of vehicle registration privileges
Questions? Contact us: dotuninsuredmotorist@dot.wi.gov  
Call: (608) 266-1249

Last modified: May 29, 2013

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