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Own car and buy insurance at age 16 in Wisconsin


Question: Can you own a car and buy insurance at age 16 in Wisconsin?

Answer: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation does not list any type of age restriction for buying a motor vehicle or for registering one. Wisconsin state statutes do discuss the issue of a minor buying a car though. Section 218.0147 of the WI statutes is titled purchase or lease of motor vehicle by minor.

Subsection 1 states that no minor may purchase or lease any motor vehicle unless the minor, at the time of purchase or lease, submits to the seller or lessor a statement verified before a person authorized to administer oaths and made and signed by either parent of the purchaser or lessee, if the signing parent has custody of the minor or, if neither parent has custody, then by the person having custody, setting forth that the purchaser or lessee has consent to purchase or lease the vehicle.

In more simplistic terms, this means that a minor may buy a car but that a parent or guardian will need to sign a statement verifying that the minor has consent to purchase the motor vehicle.

Subsection 2 goes on to explain that this signed statement will need to application for title that is placed with the WI Department of Transportation (DOT). And Subsection 3 notes that any person who sells or leases a motor vehicle to a minor with knowledge of that fact without procuring the statement described in subsection 1 may be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months or both.

Since it appears that a teenager (16 years old as you asked about) can buy a car in WI with the proper paperwork and consent from a parent or guardian, the same may hold true for an insurance policy. However, most insurance carriers will not allow it since a minor is not bound to any contract and an insurance policy is a legal contract. Minors applying for auto insurance will normally need to have a parent or guardian sign on any insurance documents since a policy is a type of binding contact. Inquire about insurance discounts for teenagers when you shop for a policy.


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