The least-populous state in the country also has some of the best roadside attractions: Devil's Tower, The Grand Tetons, and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, for starters. But it also has its share of danger. Narrow rural roads and a widely dispersed population raise the risk of fatal crashes, according to traffic safety experts. With that in mind, Wyomingites should pay close attention to insurance laws and other rules of the road.
Wyoming Vehicle Insurance Requirements
Wyoming gives its residents options when it comes to buying car insurance. For example, your car insurance company must include coverage against uninsured motorists, but you are free to opt out of it. Before you waive that coverage, you should know that nearly eight percent of Wyoming drivers don't carry proper coverage. And because Wyoming roads are more dangerous than most, a good insurance plan could be a wise investment.
Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Wyoming?
Every owner of a vehicle on Wyoming roads must have either car insurance or a bond/cash deposit that proves that they're ready to cover the costs of an accident. Not many people choose the bond or cash options, which leaves car insurance as the main way to go.
Proof of Insurance
Wyoming drivers must be able to show proof of insurance (or their security bond/cash deposit) for each vehicle they want to register with the DMV. The state uses an online verification system for instant checks to confirm coverage.
You'll also have to pull out your insurance card (or a copy of it on your smartphone) when a police officer asks for it or after any accident involving another driver.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements
Wyoming requires at least these levels of liability coverage, which will cover other people for damage that you may cause:
- $25,000 per accident for injury or death
- $50,000 for all injuries or deaths
- $20,000 for property damage
The minimum uninsured motorist coverage will cover $25,000 for injuries and $50,000 per accident, but it doesn't cover any property damage. You can opt out of it, but you'll have to do so in writing.
Alternatives to regular insurance
Wyoming allows motor vehicle owners to put down a $25,000 bond or cash deposit per car or truck as an option to buying insurance.
Drivers who've been in multiple accidents or have a DUI or moving violations on their record may have difficulty getting an insurance company to cover them. Drivers classified as "high risk" may find help through the Wyoming Automobile Insurance Plan. Any insurance agent licensed in Wyoming can help with the application of this plan.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Wyoming?
If you can't show proof of insurance, you have seven days to provide it. Failure to do so can bring the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $750.
- Up to six months in jail
- Driver's license suspension
- Filing a form SR22 from the insurance company
An SR22 form is a guarantee from an insurance company that the driver has coverage through the expiration date on the form, which is usually three years.
If the DMV suspends your driver's license for operating without insurance, you'll have to pay a reinstatement fee of $50.
How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need?
Living in a high-crash state, Wyoming drivers may want to consider auto insurance coverage that provides protection beyond the state-required minimum.
Wyoming Lack Vehicle Insurance? 7.8% National Average: 13 % (Source: Insurance Research Council - latest data, 2015)
Additional coverage includes:
- Collision insurance, which pays for vehicle repairs no matter who caused the accident.
- Comprehensive insurance, which covers repairs from theft, fire, natural disasters and hitting a deer or other animals.
- Medical payment, which covers hospital bills and funeral expenses.
- Uninsured motorist insurance, which helps protect you in the event of a hit-and-run or being struck by an uninsured motorist
For more on the types of insurance that's right for you, see the MoneyGeek guide to car insurance.
Teen Drivers in Wyoming
Parents or guardians are responsible for their teen drivers in Wyoming. Since teens will inevitably be charged more for a policy, the Wyoming Department of Insurance suggests comparison shopping for insurance. You can also help lower your premium by raising your deductible and make sure your teen drives a large-frame sedan with advanced crash protection (not a sports car or SUV).
Teens and Car Insurance in Wyoming
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$1,675 increase This is a difference of 117%.
Average annual premium increase if a teen gets a speeding ticket while driving 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit:
Teen Driver Discounts in Wyoming
Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:$234 saved
How Wyoming Insurer Premiums Compare
Policy costs may vary by hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so shop around. Compare the annual average premiums for a married couple with a 16-year-old teen driver in Wyoming:
Which Cars Drive Up Your Premium in Wyoming?
Insurers consider sports cars a more risky choice for teens than sedans and minivans, and premium rates reflect it.
Average premium for two 2014
Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds
Annual benefit of minivans:
College Students in Wyoming
If you're moving to Wyoming to go to college, you don't need a Wyoming license while attending school.
If you're a Wyoming student attending college in a different state:
- Always let your insurance company know if you'll be driving your car in another state for more than 30 days a year.
- Be wary of loaning a car to friends. Most states still hold the vehicle owner liable for damages if the driver isn't insured or has inadequate coverage.
High School Drivers vs. College Students in Wyoming
Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver$873 decrease This is a decrease of 24%.
Annual Rates: How Wyoming Insurers Compare
Each year, study your policy before it renews to see whether you could get a better rate somewhere else. Compare the average premiums for a married couple with a 19-year-old college student in Wyoming.
Surprising Savings for Wyoming College Students
You may see small savings on your family's premium if your student moves 150 or more miles away from home.
Average premium for a 19-year-old male
- $3,316 at home
- $2,529 at school
- $787 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
- $2,837 at home
- $2,300 at school
- $537 in savings
How Car Choice Can Lead to Savings in Wyoming
A college student driving a minivan will cost less to insure than students who drive a sports car, which insurers associate with speeding.
2014 Mustang GTs (2)$3,639
2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)$2,131
Annual benefit of minivans
Military Drivers in Wyoming
If you are one of the 3,000+ active-duty military personnel or a veteran stationed in Wyoming, you are eligible for a variety of benefits and discounts, including reduced rates on auto insurance. There's no special application or procedure. All you need to do is show the insurance company your military ID or a valid veteran's card and you'll get the deal. To get the best deal, compare quotes from at least three carriers, as rates can be quite different.
Unlike some states, Wyoming does not offer extensions to military personnel for vehicle registration renewal, which must be done annually.
Wyoming Service Members:
How Vehicle Choice Affects Your Premium
Rollover crashes are more common among SUVs and pickups, according to the Insurance Information Institute, but an older model SUV still has less impact on your premium than a recent model sports car.
Military Drivers: How Premium Ranges Differ by Driver Age and Vehicle
Age-Based Savings for Wyoming
Median auto insurance
for service members:
Compare Average Premiums Available to Wyoming Military Personnel
Before your policy renews, it pays to do some comparison shopping. Check out the average annual rates you can get in Wyoming.
Seniors in Wyoming
Wyoming does require auto insurance discounts for seniors, though most insurance companies offered them before it was mandatory to stay competitive. In addition to age-based discounts, drivers 55 and up may be eligible for discounts for a good driving record or passing a defensive driving course, which typically provides a rate discount of 10 percent for up to three years. After that, you can retake the course and get another discount.
Undocumented Workers in Wyoming
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Wyoming does not allow driving privileges to unauthorized immigrants.
Ridesharing Insurance: Are You Covered?
Wyoming has state-mandated rideshare requirements for major insurers like GEICO, Allstate, USAA, and State Farm. Typically, the liability limits followed nationwide are $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 for injury per person/per incident/property damage and a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability coverage while engaged with a passenger.
Whether you are a passenger or a driver, you'd be wise to discuss the extent of your insurance policy with your provider. Standard plans may not have the proper coverage automatically in place to protect you from financial harm in the case of an accident or injury.
Car Accidents: How to File a Claim
The Wyoming Department of Insurance advises drivers to follow these step after an accident:
- Call 911 and move out of traffic, if possible.
- Exchange insurance and contact information with all drivers involved.
- Write down the make, model, year and license plate number for all vehicles.
- Gather witnesses' names and contact information.
- Write down the name, badge number and contact information for the police officer who investigates the accident. Ask where to get a copy of the accident report.
- Contact your insurance company.
- Keep records of all correspondence related to the accident.
Driver Safety: How Does Wyoming Rank?
Wyoming's scenic country roads can be a crash hazard, especially if you've been drinking or you're not wearing your seat belt, according to safety experts.
"We don't have a large population in Wyoming, and the average distance between our cities is 40 to 50 miles on very rural roads," says James Stout, who tracks crash data for the state's Office of Highway Safety. "The average distance between our cities is 40 to 50 miles on very rural roads. The number one problem causing fatal crashes seems to be single vehicles running off the road."
Stout says the state's transportation department is working hard to install more guard rail barriers. "We run a lot of commercials on television about seatbelt use and drinking and driving," he adds. "I would certainly agree that people are much more likely to survive a crash if they're buckled up," he says.
Wyoming Driver Safety Ranking
The driver safety table shows the different safety factors that contribute to your state's overall safety rank (in the green box). The overall safety ranking and the National Ranking column scores in each category (including crash fatality rates) are from safest to most dangerous, with 1st being the safest and 51st the least safe.
How did we create the safety rankings?
We created a traffic safety ranking of all US states plus the District of Columbia by combining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. We looked at fatality rates by distance traveled as well as by population and gave more weight to behaviors that were riskier and preventable (i.e., drunk driving, not using a seat belt), as well as to accidents that involved more than one party (i.e., multi-vehicle).
|Driver Safety Profile||Number of Fatalities||Fatality Rate
The fatality rate is the rate per one billion vehicle miles traveled, except for pedestrian and bicyclist fatality measures, which are per measured per a population of 100,000.
Rankings are in order of safest to least safe. A state with the lowest fatality rate would be the safest, and thus ranked #1.
|Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities||25||2.71||14th|
|Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities||41||4.40||35th|
|Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities||5||0.54||23rd|
|Multiple Vehicle Fatalities||37||3.97||19th|
|Total Vehicle Fatalities||87||9.35||16th|
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Wyoming: Protecting You from Injury on the Road
Wyoming gets a red "danger" ranking for its traffic safety laws from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an alliance of consumer, public health, and insurer groups. The alliance urges it to drop an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, mandatory ignition interlocks for all DUIs, and a primary enforcement law for seat belts.
Wyoming safety advocates agree. The state has a secondary seatbelt law, Stout says, meaning police must have another reason for stopping a vehicle other than spotting a driver or passengers who aren't buckled up. He adds that the state legislature has tried without success to pass a primary law through the years.
Safe Driving Laws - Wyoming
|Mandatory seat belts||Required for all vehicle occupants|
|Child passenger safety||Safety seats required for children under 9|
|Driving under the influence (DUI)||For a DUI (known as a DWUI in Wyoming), 0.08% blood alcohol content is the legal limit for adults; 0.02 for drivers under 21. Penalties for a first conviction include license suspension of 90 days; fines up to $750; jail time up to six months; ignition interlock if BAC above 0.15. Penalties are more severe for repeat offenses|
|Ignition interlock after DUI||(in some counties)||Six-month ignition interlock upon first conviction for a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher; required for subsequent offenses|
|Talking on cell or texting while driving||Texting is illegal, but cell phone use is allowed for all ages|
|Protections for young drivers||Graduated license program. No driving from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. except for work; no more than one underage passenger until full license|
|Motorcycle helmet law||Partial||Required for riders 18 and younger.|
|Bicycle helmet law||No statewide helmet law.|
Car Insurance Resources for Wyoming Residents
Consumer resource for high-risk Wyoming drivers to find insurance coverage if they are denied by three or more companies due to their record.
Reports key highway safety laws in Wyoming.
Department of Transportation resource for new Wyoming residents on how to apply for a license.
A rundown of Wyoming auto insurance requirements, types of coverage and a glossary of insurance terms.
Portal to consumer information on buying auto insurance and where to go for help with an insurance company complaint.
A yearly report on Wyoming's progress toward optimal traffic safety laws by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.