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344.51(1g)(b) (b) "Motor vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle.
344.51(1g)(c) (c) "Rental company" means a person who, for compensation, rents a motor vehicle to a renter to be operated by or with the consent of the renter or who acquires a contract for the renting of a motor vehicle from another person.
344.51(1m) (1m) No lessor or rental company may for compensation rent or lease any motor vehicle unless there is filed with the department on a form prescribed by the department a certificate for a good and sufficient bond or policy of insurance issued by an insurer authorized to do an automobile liability insurance or surety business in this state. The certificate shall provide that the insurer which issued it will be liable for damages caused by the negligent operation of the motor vehicle in the amounts set forth in s. 344.01 (2) (d). No lessor or rental company complying with this subsection, and no lessor or rental company entering into or acquiring an interest in any contract for the rental or leasing of a motor vehicle for which any other lessor or rental company has complied with this subsection, is liable for damages caused by the negligent operation of the motor vehicle by another person.
344.51(2) (2) Any lessor or rental company failing to comply with this section is directly liable for damages caused by the negligence of the person operating such rented or leased vehicle, but such liability may not exceed the limits set forth in s. 344.01 (2) (d) with respect to the acceptable limits of liability when furnishing proof of financial responsibility.
344.51(3) (3) Any person violating this section may be required to forfeit not more than $200.
344.51 Annotation A lessor is not liable to the lessee's insurer for monies that the insurer paid to a victim of the lessee's negligence. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Reciprocal Ins. Service Exchange Mgt. Co. 111 Wis. 2d 308, 330 N.W.2d 223 (Ct. App. 1983).
344.51 Annotation When a lessee's insurance was insufficient to cover all damages, the lessor's errors and omissions policy was required to cover remaining damages. Germanotta v. National Indemnity Co. 119 Wis. 2d 293, 349 N.W.2d 733 (Ct. App. 1984).
344.51 Annotation Sections 344.30 and 344.16 permit car rental agencies to satisfy their obligation of proving financial responsibility by filing a certificate of self-insurance and receiving a certificate from DOT confirming their ability to pay. A self-insured agency is not the equivalent of an uninsured driver as it is not otherwise liable for its lessee's negligence. Its liability is limited to the amount an insurer would be required to pay, which under s. 344.01 (2) (d) is fixed at $25,000. Boatright v. Spiewak, 214 Wis. 2d 507, 570 N.W.2d 897 (Ct. App. 1997), 97-0036.
344.51 Annotation No statute requires a self-insured entity under s. 344.16 to provide uninsured motorist coverage as part of the optional insurance it offers to its customers. Prophet v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, Inc. 2000 WI App 171, 238 Wis. 2d 150, 617 N.W.2d 225, 99-0776.
344.52 344.52 Financial responsibility for foreign rented vehicles.
344.52(1g)(1g) In this section, "motor vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle.
344.52(1r) (1r) Whenever any motor vehicle rented for compensation outside this state is operated in this state, the lessor of the motor vehicle is directly liable for all damages to persons or property caused by the negligent operation of the rented vehicle unless, at the time when the damage or injury occurs, the operation of the rented vehicle is effectively covered by a policy of insurance that provides coverage at least in the amounts specified in s. 344.01 (2) (d) for property damage, personal injury, or death suffered by any person on account of the negligent operation of the rented vehicle. The amount of liability imposed upon the lessor by this section in the absence of insurance coverage shall not exceed the limits set forth in s. 344.01 (2) (d) with respect to the acceptable limits of liability when furnishing proof of financial responsibility. The fact that the rented vehicle is operated in this state contrary to any understanding or agreement with the lessor is not a defense to any liability imposed by this section.
344.52(2) (2)
344.52(2)(a)(a) If a motor vehicle rented for compensation outside this state is operated in this state, the lessor of the vehicle is considered to have irrevocably appointed the secretary as the agent or attorney upon whom legal process may be served in any action or proceeding against the lessor or the lessor's personal representative, successors, or assigns, growing out of the operation of the rented motor vehicle in this state, which appointment is binding upon the lessor's personal representative, successors, or assigns. The operation of the rented motor vehicle in this state is a signification of the lessor's agreement that legal process or notice may be served upon the lessor or the lessor's personal representative, successors, or assigns and that process or notice so served has the same legal force as if personally served upon them in this state.
344.52(2)(b) (b) Service of process or notice under par. (a) shall be made as provided in s. 345.09. This section does not affect the right to serve process or notice on the nonresident operator of the rented motor vehicle as provided in s. 345.09.
344.52 History History: 1977 c. 29; 2001 a. 102; 2005 a. 149.
344.55 344.55 Insurance for human service vehicles.
344.55(1) (1) No motor vehicle may be used as a human service vehicle unless a policy of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in this state, is maintained thereon. The policy shall provide property damage liability coverage with a limit of not less than $10,000. The policy also shall provide bodily injury liability coverage with limits of not less than $75,000 for each person and, subject to such limit for each person, total limits as follows:
344.55(1)(a) (a) $150,000 for each accident for each motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 7 passengers or less.
344.55(1)(b) (b) $200,000 for each accident for each motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 8 to 15 passengers.
344.55(1)(c) (c) $250,000 for each accident for each motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 16 to 24 passengers.
344.55(1)(d) (d) $375,000 for each accident for each motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 25 to 36 passengers.
344.55(1)(e) (e) $500,000 for each accident for each motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 37 to 49 passengers.
344.55(1)(f) (f) $500,000 plus not less than $10,000 for each accident for each passenger seat accommodation for each motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 50 or more passengers.
344.55(2) (2) The department may not issue registration plates for such a vehicle unless there is on file with the department a certificate of insurance showing that the vehicle is insured in compliance with sub. (1). No such policy may be terminated prior to its expiration or canceled for any reason unless a notice thereof is filed with the department at least 30 days prior to the date of termination or cancellation. The department shall suspend the registration of a vehicle on which the insurance policy has been terminated or canceled, effective on the date of termination or cancellation.
344.55 History History: 1983 a. 175 s. 20; Stats. 1983 s. 344.55; 1997 a. 84.
344.57 344.57 Definitions applicable to ss. 344.57 to 344.579. In ss. 344.57 to 344.579:
344.57(1) (1) "Accident" means collision of a private passenger vehicle with another object or other upset of the private passenger vehicle not caused intentionally by the renter.
344.57(2) (2) "Authorized driver" means, in connection with a private passenger vehicle under a rental agreement, all of the following:
344.57(2)(a) (a) The spouse of the renter, if the spouse is a licensed driver and meets any minimum age requirement in the rental agreement.
344.57(2)(b) (b) A person listed in the rental agreement as an authorized driver.
344.57(2)(c) (c) The renter's employer, employee or co-worker, if the employer, employee or co-worker engages in a business activity with the renter, is a licensed driver and meets the rental company's minimum age requirement.
344.57(2)(d) (d) A person who operates the private passenger vehicle during an emergency or while parking the private passenger vehicle at a commercial or private establishment.
344.57(3) (3) "Damage waiver" means a contractual provision under which a rental company agrees for a charge not to hold a renter or authorized driver liable for damage or loss related to a private passenger vehicle rented by the renter.
344.57(4) (4) "Private passenger vehicle" means a type 1 automobile.
344.57(5) (5) "Rental agreement" means a written agreement setting forth the terms and conditions governing the use of a private passenger vehicle provided for rent by a rental company.
344.57(6) (6) "Rental company" means a person in the business of providing private passenger vehicles for rent to the public.
344.57(7) (7) "Renter" means the person who rents a private passenger vehicle from a rental company under a rental agreement.
344.57 History History: 1989 a. 328; 2005 a. 173.
344.572 344.572 Applicability to rental agreements.
344.572(1) (1) Except as provided in sub. (2), ss. 344.574, 344.576 and 344.578 apply to all rental agreements concerning private passenger vehicles rented from locations in this state for a period of 30 consecutive days or less.
344.572(2) (2)Sections 344.574, 344.576 and 344.578 do not apply to a rental agreement under which a person rents from a motor vehicle dealer licensed under ss. 218.0101 to 218.0163 a private passenger vehicle owned by the dealer if the private passenger vehicle is rented only for use while a vehicle owned or leased by the person or which the person has agreed to purchase is being serviced, repaired, manufactured or delivered.
344.572(3) (3) If a rental agreement is subject to ss. 344.574, 344.576 and 344.578, any provision of the rental agreement that violates any requirement of ss. 344.574, 344.576 and 344.578 is void.
344.572 History History: 1989 a. 328; 1999 a. 31.
344.574 344.574 Limited liability for damage.
344.574(1) (1)Damage to private passenger vehicle.
344.574(1)(a)(a) Unless a renter purchases a damage waiver offered in accordance with s. 344.576, a rental company may hold the renter liable to the extent permitted under subs. (2) to (4) for physical or mechanical damage to the rented private passenger vehicle that is caused by any of the following:
344.574(1)(a)1. 1. An accident occurring while the private passenger vehicle is under the rental agreement.
344.574(1)(a)2. 2. The renter or an authorized driver who is using the private passenger vehicle, intentionally or by his or her reckless or wanton misconduct.
344.574(1)(a)3. 3. Theft of the private passenger vehicle intentionally caused by the renter. A renter is presumed not to have caused the theft intentionally if all of the following apply:
344.574(1)(a)3.a. a. The renter or authorized driver has possession of the ignition key furnished by the rental company or establishes that the ignition key furnished by the rental company was not in the vehicle at the time of the theft.
344.574(1)(a)3.b. b. The renter or authorized driver files an official report of the theft with the police or other law enforcement agency within 24 hours of learning of the theft and reasonably cooperates with the rental company, police, and other law enforcement agencies in providing information concerning the theft.
344.574(1)(b) (b) Unless a renter purchases a damage waiver offered in accordance with s. 344.576, a rental company may hold an authorized driver liable to the extent permitted under subs. (2) to (4) for physical or mechanical damage to the rented private passenger vehicle that is caused by any of the following:
344.574(1)(b)1. 1. An accident occurring while the private passenger vehicle is operated by the authorized driver and is under the rental agreement.
344.574(1)(b)2. 2. The authorized driver who is using the private passenger vehicle, intentionally or by his or her reckless or wanton misconduct.
344.574(2) (2)Limits on liability.
344.574(2)(a)(a) The total liability of a renter or authorized driver under sub. (1) for damage to a rented private passenger vehicle may not exceed all of the following:
344.574(2)(a)1. 1. The lesser of:
344.574(2)(a)1.a. a. The actual and reasonable costs that the rental company incurred to repair the private passenger vehicle or that the rental company would have incurred if the private passenger vehicle had been repaired, which shall reflect any discounts, price reductions or adjustments available to the rental company.
344.574(2)(a)1.b. b. The fair market value of that private passenger vehicle immediately before the damage occurred, as determined in the customary market for the sale of that private passenger vehicle.
344.574(2)(a)2. 2. Actual and reasonable costs incurred by the rental company for towing the private passenger vehicle and for storage of the private passenger vehicle during the period before the renter notifies the rental company of the damage to the vehicle or for 14 days after the damage occurs, whichever period is shorter.
344.574(2)(b) (b) A rental company may not hold the renter or authorized driver liable for any of the following:
344.574(2)(b)1. 1. Loss or damage to the private passenger vehicle resulting from a cause other than that described in sub. (1) (a) 1. or 2. with respect to the renter or sub. (1) (b) 1. or 2. with respect to the authorized driver.
344.574(2)(b)2. 2. Loss of use of the private passenger vehicle.
344.574(2)(b)3. 3. Any administrative charges, including the cost of appraisal, or other costs or expenses that are incidental to the damage to the private passenger vehicle.
344.574(2)(b)4. 4. Any other charge unless expressly permitted under par. (a).
344.574(2)(c) (c) A rental company may not hold the renter liable for any amounts that the rental company has recovered from an authorized driver. A rental company may not hold an authorized driver liable for any amounts that the rental company has recovered from the renter.
344.574(4) (4)Inspection and estimates. A rental company may not collect or attempt to collect the amount described in sub. (2) (a) from the renter or authorized driver or the insurer of the renter or authorized driver unless the rental company satisfies all of the following:
344.574(4)(a) (a) Allows the renter or authorized driver who may be liable under sub. (1) (b) and the insurer of the renter or authorized driver to inspect the unrepaired rented private passenger vehicle within 2 working days after the rental company is notified of the damage. Upon receiving notice of the damage, the rental company shall promptly notify the renter or authorized driver who may be liable under sub. (1) (b) of his or her right and his or her insurer's right to inspect the private passenger vehicle.
344.574(4)(b) (b) Obtains an estimate on the costs of repairing the private passenger vehicle, makes a copy of the estimate available upon request to the renter or authorized driver who may be liable under sub. (1) (b) or the insurer of the renter or authorized driver who may be liable under sub. (1) (b) and submits a copy of the estimate with any claim to collect the amount described in sub. (2) (a). If requested within 2 working days of giving to the renter or authorized driver the notice required under par. (a), the rental company shall obtain a 2nd estimate from a competing repair shop and make a copy available to the requester.
344.574 History History: 1989 a. 328; 2005 a. 173.
344.576 344.576 Damage waivers.
344.576(1)(1)Offer and sale restricted. A rental company may not offer or sell a damage waiver in conjunction with a rental agreement unless the terms of the damage waiver comply with sub. (2) and the renter is provided the notice required under sub. (3).
344.576(2) (2)Terms. Every damage waiver shall provide that the rental company may not hold the renter or authorized driver liable for any amount that the renter or authorized driver might otherwise be liable for under s. 344.574 (2) (a) for damage to the rented private passenger vehicle, unless any of the following applies:
344.576(2)(a) (a) The damage is caused by the renter or authorized driver intentionally or by his or her reckless or wanton misconduct.
344.576(2)(b) (b) The damage occurs while the renter or authorized driver operates the private passenger vehicle in this state while under the influence of an intoxicant or other drug, as described under s. 346.63 (1) (a), (am), or (b) or (2m).
344.576(2)(c) (c) The damage occurs while the renter or authorized driver operates the private passenger vehicle in another state while under the influence of an intoxicant or other drug, as described in the laws of that state.
344.576(2)(d) (d) The damage occurs while the renter or authorized driver is engaged in a race or speed or endurance contest.
344.576(2)(e) (e) The damage occurs while the renter or authorized driver is using, or has directed another to use, the private passenger vehicle in the commission of a misdemeanor or felony, as those terms are defined in s. 939.60.
344.576(2)(f) (f) The damage occurs while the renter or authorized driver uses the private passenger vehicle to carry persons or property for hire.
344.576(2)(g) (g) The damage occurs while the renter or authorized driver uses the private passenger vehicle outside of the United States or Canada, unless use outside the United States or Canada is permitted under the rental agreement.
344.576(2)(h) (h) The damage occurs while the private passenger vehicle is operated on a surface not intended for use by private passenger vehicles.
344.576(2)(i) (i) The renter provided misleading or false information to the rental company, causing the rental company to rent the private passenger vehicle when the rental company would not have otherwise done so, or on terms to which it would not have otherwise agreed.
344.576(2)(j) (j) The renter or the authorized driver who was operating the private passenger vehicle when an accident occurred fails to promptly report to the police and rental company the accident resulting in damage to the private passenger vehicle.
344.576(2)(k) (k) The damage occurs while the private passenger vehicle is operated by someone other than an authorized driver as defined in s. 344.57 (2). This paragraph does not apply if the vehicle has been lost or a theft has occurred and the renter is presumed to have not caused the theft or loss intentionally under s. 344.574 (1) (a) 3.
344.576(3) (3)Notice.
344.576(3)(a)(a) A rental company that offers or sells a damage waiver shall provide to each renter a written notice that is part of the rental agreement or on a separate form described in the rule under par. (c) and that includes all of the following:
344.576(3)(a)1. 1. An explanation of the total costs that the renter or authorized driver may be liable for under s. 344.574 (2) (a).
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