No policy issued pursuant to the ch. 344 financial responsibility statutes may exclude coverage for persons related by blood or marriage to the operator as mandated by s. 632.32 (6) (b) 1. Bindrim v. Colonial Ins. Co. 190 Wis. 2d 525
, 527 N.W.2d 321
This section does not mandate insurance on the person (an operator's policy) and on all the vehicles such person may own (an owner's policy). It is incumbent upon the person seeking insurance to inform the insurance company of whether he or she wants an operator's policy, an owner's policy, or both. It is not the insurer's duty, absent instruction from the insured, to issue both types of policies. McKillip v. Bauman, 2005 WI App 165
, 285 Wis. 2d 646
, 702 N.W.2d 79
Motor vehicle liability policy" defined. 344.33(1)(1)
In this chapter, “motor vehicle liability policy" means a motor vehicle policy of liability insurance, certified as provided in s. 344.31
as proof of financial responsibility for the future, and issued by an insurer authorized to do an automobile liability business in this state to or for the benefit of the person named in the policy as the insured.
Motor vehicle liability policy.
A motor vehicle policy of liability insurance shall insure the person named therein using any motor vehicle with the express or implied permission of the owner, or shall insure any motor vehicle owned by the named insured and any person using such motor vehicle with the express or implied permission of the named insured, against loss from the liability imposed by law for damages arising out of the maintenance or use of the motor vehicle within the United States of America or the Dominion of Canada, subject to the following limits with respect to each such motor vehicle:
Twenty-five thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident.
Subject to the limit under par. (a)
for one person, $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any one accident.
Ten thousand dollars because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
Required statements in policy.
Such motor vehicle liability policy shall state the name and address of the named insured, the coverage afforded by the policy, the premium charged therefor, the policy period and the limits of liability, and shall contain an agreement or be endorsed that insurance is provided thereunder in accordance with the coverage defined in this chapter with respect to bodily injury and death or property damage, or both, and is subject to all the provisions of this chapter.
Certain types of coverage excluded.
Such motor vehicle liability policy shall not insure any liability under any worker's compensation law as provided in ch. 102
nor any liability on account of bodily injury to or death of any employee of the insured while engaged in the employment, other than domestic, of the insured, or while engaged in the operation, maintenance or repair of any such motor vehicle or any liability for damage to property owned by, rented to, in charge of or transported by the insured.
Provisions incorporated in policy by law.
Every motor vehicle liability policy shall be subject to the following provisions which need not be contained therein:
The policy may not be canceled or annulled as to such liability by any agreement between the insurer and the insured after the occurrence of any injury or damage covered by such motor vehicle liability policy.
The satisfaction by the insured of a judgment for such injury or damage shall not be a condition precedent to the right or duty of the insurer to make payment on account of such injury or damage.
The insurer shall have the right to settle any claim covered by the policy, and if such settlement is made in good faith, the amount thereof shall be deductible from the limits of liability specified in sub. (2)
The policy, the written application therefor, if any, and any rider or endorsement which does not conflict with the provisions of this chapter constitutes the entire contract between the parties.
Excess or additional coverage.
Any policy which grants the coverage required for a motor vehicle liability policy may also grant any lawful coverage in excess of or in addition to the coverage specified for a motor vehicle liability policy and such excess or additional coverage is not subject to the provisions of this chapter. With respect to a policy which grants such excess or additional coverage the term “motor vehicle liability policy" applies only to that part of the coverage which is required by this section.
Reimbursement provision permitted.
Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide that the insured shall reimburse the insurer for any payment the insurer would not have been obligated to make under the terms of the policy except for the provisions of this section.
Proration of insurance permitted.
Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide for the prorating of the insurance thereunder with other valid and collectible insurance.
The requirements for a motor vehicle liability policy may be fulfilled by the policies of one or more insurers which policies together meet such requirements.
Any binder issued pending the issuance of a motor vehicle liability policy shall be deemed to fulfill the requirements for such a policy.
Although the record owner's son loaned the car to another against the father's express wishes, the record owner's permission under sub. (2) was presumed as a matter of law when the son's custody and control was such that son was the car's real owner. Permissive use is to be viewed the same under sub. (2) or under the omnibus coverage of s. 204.30 (3), 1975 stats. [now s. 632.32 (3)]. Gross v. Joecks, 72 Wis. 2d 583
, 241 N.W.2d 727
Financial responsibility statutes mandate insurance on the person, not on the vehicles that the person may own. Cardinal v. Leader National Insurance Co. 166 Wis. 2d 375
, 480 N.W.2d 1
The requirements of this section do not apply to all automobile insurance policies issued in this state, only those that provide proof of financial responsibility under s. 344.31 or 344.32. Beerbohm v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. 2000 WI App 105
, 235 Wis. 2d 182
, 612 N.W.2d 338
An insurer's excess coverage was illusory in the context of its nonowned vehicle provision. This section requires policy limits of at least $25,000. The insurer's policy limited coverage to $25,000, but excess only. Because the policy's limit was equal to the statutory minimum, and stacking is prevented, the policy would never provide excess coverage. Janssen v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 2003 WI App 183
, 266 Wis. 2d 430
, 668 N.W.2d 820
The 10-day notice requirement in s. 344.34 results in a period of time in which the insurer owes coverage to the public despite the fact that its policy with its insured was not contractually in force. However, sub. (7) allows an insurer to recover from its insured any claims it paid that it would not have been obligated to pay but for the Financial Responsibility law. When the insured's policy lapsed 3 days before an accident, but the insurer did not send a notice of cancellation to the state under s. 344.34 until after the accident, the insurer had a responsibility to cover 3rd-party losses and was entitled to seek reimbursement from the insured under sub. (7). Acuity v. Albert, 2012 WI App 87
, 343 Wis. 2d 594
, 819 N.W.2d 340
The meaning of sub. (9) is plain: the minimum coverage requirements of the financial responsibility law can be satisfied only by one or more certified policies. In this case, there was only one certified policy. That policy was required to fulfill the financial responsibility law's requirements. Among other requirements, the policy must “insure the person named therein using any motor vehicle," which meant that the policy's exclusion for injury or damages “resulting from the ... use of a motorized vehicle with less than four wheels" could not apply. Hechimovich v. Acuity, 2014 WI App 14
, 352 Wis. 2d 513
, 842 N.W.2d 493
Notice of cancellation or termination of certified policy.
When an insurer has certified a motor vehicle liability policy under s. 344.31
or a bond under s. 344.36
, the insurance so certified shall not be canceled or terminated until at least 10 days after a notice of cancellation or termination of the insurance so certified has been filed in the office of the secretary. No insurance so certified may be canceled or terminated by the insurer prior to the expiration of 90 days from the effective date of the certification on the grounds of failure to pay a premium when due. Such a certified policy or bond subsequently procured shall, on the effective date of its certification, terminate the insurance previously certified. Any certification or recertification filed by the same insurer following cancellation shall be accompanied by a fee of $3 payable by the insurer.
The failure of an insurer to comply with the notice requirement under this section precludes the insurer from asserting that a previously certified policy had lapsed. Lang v. Kurtz, 100 Wis. 2d 40
, 301 N.W.2d 262
(Ct. App. 1980).
The 10-day notice of cancellation requirement only applied to liability coverage of a policy acquired to satisfy proof of financial responsibility. Uninsured motorist coverage cancellation took effect immediately. Nutter v. Milwaukee Insurance Co. 167 Wis. 2d 449
, 481 N.W.2d 701
(Ct. App. 1992).
The 10-day notice requirement in this section results in a period of time in which the insurer owes coverage to the public despite the fact that its policy with its insured was not contractually in force. However, s. 344.33 (7) allows an insurer to recover from its insured any claims it paid that it would not have been obligated to pay but for the Financial Responsibility law. When the insured's policy lapsed 3 days before an accident, but the insurer did not send a notice of cancellation to the state under this section until after the accident, the insurer had a responsibility to cover 3rd-party losses and was entitled to seek reimbursement from the insured under s. 344.33 (7). Acuity v. Albert, 2012 WI App 87
, 343 Wis. 2d 594
, 819 N.W.2d 340
This chapter not to affect other policies. 344.35(1)(1)
This chapter does not apply to or affect policies of automobile insurance against liability which may now or hereafter be required by any other law of this state. If such policies contain an agreement or are endorsed to conform to the requirements of this chapter, they may be certified as proof of financial responsibility under this chapter.
This chapter does not apply to or affect policies insuring solely the insured named in the policy against liability resulting from the maintenance or use by persons in the insured's employ or on the insured's behalf of motor vehicles not owned by the insured.
History: 1991 a. 316
Proof of financial responsibility may be evidenced by the bond of a surety company duly authorized to transact business within this state or a bond with at least 2 individual sureties each owning real estate within this state and together having equities equal in value to at least twice the amount of the bond, which real estate shall be scheduled in the bond approved by a judge of a court of record. Such bond shall be conditioned for the payment of the amounts specified in s. 344.01 (2) (d)
. The bond shall be filed with the secretary and shall not be cancelable except after 10 days' written notice to the secretary.
The bond constitutes a lien in favor of the state upon any surety's real estate which is scheduled in the bond and which is not exempt by law from execution. Such lien is effective as of the time when the secretary records the bond in the office of the register of deeds of the county wherein such real estate is located, as provided in s. 706.05 (1)
. Such lien exists in favor of any holder of a final judgment against the person who filed such bond, for damages resulting from the ownership, maintenance, use or operation of a motor vehicle after such bond was recorded, including damages for care and for loss of services because of bodily injury to or death of any person and damages because of injury to or destruction of property and the consequent loss of use thereof.
If the judgment rendered against the principal on the bond is not satisfied within 60 days after it has become final, the judgment creditor may, for his or her own use and benefit and at the judgment creditor's sole expense, bring an action in the name of the state against the company or persons executing the bond, including an action or proceeding to foreclose any lien that may exist upon the real estate of a person who has executed such bond. In the foreclosure of such lien, ch. 846
on the foreclosure of real estate mortgages shall apply as far as possible.
History: 1973 c. 189
; Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 776 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 1977 c. 29
s. 1654 (7) (c)
The direct action statute, s. 632.24, does not apply to actions in which the principal on a bond under this section causes injury. Sub. (3) requires obtaining a judgment against the principal before an action may be brought against the surety. Vansguard v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co. 188 Wis. 2d 584
, 525 N.W.2d 146
(Ct. App. 1994).
Money or securities as proof. 344.37(1)(1)
Proof of financial responsibility for the future may be evidenced by a deposit with the secretary by the person of $60,000 in cash, or in securities such as may legally be purchased by savings banks or for trust funds of a market value of $60,000. The secretary shall not accept any such deposit unless accompanied by evidence that there are no unsatisfied judgments of any character against the depositor in the county where the depositor resides.
Deposits made under this section shall be held by the secretary to satisfy, in accordance with this chapter, any execution on a judgment issued against the person making the deposit, for damages resulting from the ownership, maintenance, use or operation of a motor vehicle after such deposit was made, including damages for care and for loss of services because of bodily injury to or death of any person and damages because of injury to or destruction of property and the consequent loss of use thereof. Money or securities so deposited are not subject to attachment or execution unless such attachment or execution arises out of a suit for damages as set forth in this section.
Owner and leasing company may give proof for others.
Whenever any person required to give proof of financial responsibility for the future under this chapter is or later becomes an operator in the employ of any owner, or is or later becomes a member of the immediate family or household of the owner, the secretary shall accept proof given by such owner in lieu of proof by such other person. If the vehicle is leased to the employer, then the leasing company may file proof of financial responsibility on behalf of the person required to furnish such proof. When proof has been given as provided in this section, the person on whose behalf such proof was furnished may be granted a license, but only to operate those vehicles for which proof was so given. The department shall note such restriction on the person's license, including a designation of each vehicle for which proof was given.
History: 1977 c. 29
s. 1654 (7) (a)
Substitution of proof.
The secretary shall consent to the cancellation of any bond or certification of insurance or return any money or securities to the person entitled thereto upon the substitution and acceptance of other adequate proof of financial responsibility pursuant to this chapter.
Revocation or suspension for failure to maintain proof; other proof may be required. 344.40(1)(a)
Except as provided in par. (b)
, whenever any person whose operating privilege was suspended or revoked who has furnished proof of financial responsibility fails to maintain such proof at any time during the period when proof of financial responsibility is required, the secretary shall suspend or revoke such person's operating privilege for a period of time running from the date of suspension or revocation until such time as either satisfactory proof of financial responsibility is again furnished or the period during which proof was required to be furnished has expired.
Whenever any person who has furnished proof of financial responsibility fails to maintain such proof at any time during the period when proof of financial responsibility is required under s. 344.18 (1m)
or 344.19 (3m)
, the secretary shall suspend all of the person's registrations for a period of time running from the date of suspension until such time as either satisfactory proof of financial responsibility is again furnished or the period during which proof was required to be furnished has expired.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, whenever any proof of financial responsibility filed under this chapter no longer fulfills the purposes for which required, the secretary shall require other proof meeting the requirements of this chapter and shall suspend or revoke the operating privilege pending the filing of such other proof.
Whenever any proof of financial responsibility filed under s. 344.18 (1m)
or 344.19 (3m)
no longer fulfills the purposes for which required, the secretary shall require other proof meeting the requirements of this chapter and shall suspend all of the person's registrations pending the filing of such other proof.
Duration of proof; when proof may be canceled or returned. 344.41(1)(1)
Subject to the exceptions set forth in sub. (2)
, the secretary shall, upon request, consent to the immediate cancellation of any bond or certification of insurance, return to the person entitled thereto any money or securities deposited pursuant to this chapter as proof of financial responsibility and shall waive any requirement of the filing of proof of financial responsibility whenever, except as provided in sub. (1m)
, any of the following events has occurred:
The period during which proof of financial responsibility is required has expired; or
The person on whose behalf such proof was filed has died or has become permanently incapacitated to operate a motor vehicle; or
The person who has given proof surrenders the person's license to the secretary.
Subject to the exceptions set forth in sub. (2)
, the secretary shall, upon request, consent to the immediate cancellation of any bond or certification of insurance, return to the person entitled thereto any money or securities deposited pursuant to this chapter as proof of financial responsibility and shall waive any requirement of the filing of proof of financial responsibility under s. 344.18 (1m)
or 344.19 (3m)
whenever any of the following events has occurred:
The period during which proof of financial responsibility is required has expired.
The person who has given proof surrenders all of the person's registrations to the secretary.
The secretary shall not consent to the cancellation of any bond or the return of any money or securities if any action for damages upon a liability covered by such proof is then pending or any judgment upon any such liability is then unsatisfied, or if the person who filed the bond or deposited the money or securities has, within one year immediately preceding the request for cancellation of the bond or return of the money or securities, been involved as an operator or owner in any motor vehicle accident resulting in injury or damage to the person or property of others. An affidavit of the applicant as to the nonexistence of such facts, or that the person has been released from all liability, or has been finally adjudicated not to be liable for such injury or damages is sufficient evidence thereof in the absence of evidence to the contrary in the records of the secretary.
Whenever any person whose proof has been canceled or returned under sub. (1) (c)
desires reinstatement of that person's operating privilege prior to the expiration of the period during which proof of financial responsibility is required, that person shall again furnish proof of financial responsibility. Thereupon that person's operating privilege is reinstated as provided in s. 343.38
Whenever any person whose proof has been canceled or returned under sub. (1m) (b)
desires reinstatement of his or her registrations prior to the expiration of the period during which proof of financial responsibility is required, he or she shall again furnish proof of financial responsibility. Thereupon his or her registrations may be renewed or reinstated upon payment of the fee required under s. 341.36 (1m)
Submission of certifications and recertifications by insurers.
If the sum of certifications and recertifications under ss. 344.31
that are submitted by an insurer to the department in any year exceeds 1,000, the insurer shall pay to the department a transaction fee of $1.50 per certification or recertification that is not transmitted electronically to the department. The department shall promulgate rules establishing procedures for the collection of transaction fees under this section.
History: 1997 a. 27
; 2009 a. 245
See also ch. Trans 197
, Wis. adm. code.
PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF CHAPTER
Surrender of license and registration upon suspension. 344.45(1)(1)
Whenever a person's operating privilege or registration is suspended under this chapter, the department may order the person to surrender to the department his or her operator's license and the registration plates of the vehicle or vehicles for which registration was suspended. If the person fails immediately to return the operator's license or registration plates to the department, the department may direct a traffic officer to take possession thereof and return them to the department.
Any person who intentionally fails or refuses to return a license and registration plate or plates as required by this section may be required to forfeit not more than $100.
Transfer of vehicle ownership to defeat purpose of chapter. 344.46(1)(1)
No owner of a motor vehicle involved in an accident in this state which is reportable under s. 346.70
shall transfer the ownership or registration of any vehicle whose registration is subject to suspension or revocation under this chapter until all of the applicable provisions of this chapter has been complied with or until the secretary is satisfied that such transfer is proposed in good faith and not for the purpose or with the effect of defeating the purposes of this chapter.
Any person violating this section may be required to forfeit not more than $200.
This section does not apply to or affect the registration of any vehicle sold by a person who, under the terms or conditions of any written instrument giving a right of repossession, has exercised such right and has repossessed such vehicle from a person whose registration has been suspended or revoked under this chapter.