Owning a vehicle can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, it represents freedom while for others it is a means to get to work or to travel to see friends and family members. Having your own vehicle may also save you a lot of money if you find that you need to spend an exorbitant amount of money on taxis or public transportation. It is important that you understand your financial responsibilities before you purchase a vehicle, however. This will protect you and others on the road.
If you are in a car accident, the Chicago car injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you. We can help you determine the best way to proceed with your claim. In most instances, this will involve negotiating a claim with the other party's insurance or using your own coverage.
Car Insurance Law in Illinois
The State of Illinois requires all drivers to possess auto insurance coverage. Aside from the fact that it is required, having insurance is a good idea to begin with. Should you ever be in an accident, this insurance will cover the cost of medical bills, vehicle repairs and any liability you are accountable for. Not everyone on the road has insurance, so even if you are not at fault for an accident, you may need to file a claim if the responsible party is uninsured.
Here are the different types of coverage and how they cover you in the event of an accident.
- Property damage — this covers damage to the other person's vehicle, but can also include damage to other property. Things that are considered property can include fences, signs, personal pets, public property and more.
- Comprehensive and collision — comprehensive coverage is not required in Illinois, but it is recommended if you are making car payments or have an expensive vehicle. This covers the damage to your own vehicle in an accident.
- Liability and bodily injury — this is the most important type of insurance you can have and Illinois requires all drivers to maintain a minimum amount of liability coverage. If you are involved in an accident and found at fault, you must cover the cost of medical care for every person involved in the collision. This includes your own passengers. Liability coverage provides compensation to the people injured in the accident specifically for their medical expenses.
There are required minimums you need to meet when buying insurance. It is highly advised that you purchase enough insurance to cover projected expenses, however. The reason for this is that it is possible for accident victims to sue you if your insurance coverage cannot provide for the full value of their medical expenses and damages following an accident.
The minimum limits are as follow (2018).
- $20,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
- At least $25,000 in liability coverage per person.
- $50,000 in liability coverage per accident.
For most people, this limited coverage will not be enough to protect your assets. Consider this when speaking with an insurance agent about your policy. You want to find a policy that meets your needs while staying within your budget.
It is a great idea to take a proactive approach as well. Determine how much coverage you actually need. Ask about your uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. You don't want to be out of luck if you are injured by an uninsured driver who has no assets.
Keep Your Insurance Card in Your Vehicle
If you are ever pulled over, an officer will ask you for proof of financial responsibility. In short, this means proof of insurance. Having insurance is not enough. You need to be able to show law enforcement this proof whenever they request it.
Some people have made the mistake of relying on mobile apps to provide proof of insurance. Where this has gone wrong is when their phones have run out of battery. It is best to have a printed form of proof of insurance. Most insurance companies allow you to print your own insurance card right from home now.
What if I am From Out of State?
You only need to follow Illinois' laws if your vehicle is registered here. If you travel here often from Indiana, Wisconsin or Iowa, you will still need to provide proof that you are meeting those states' requirements.
If you have just moved here, you are given thirty days to register your vehicle and obtain insurance through your new residence or you will be found in violation.
Penalties for Violating Illinois Insurance Law
There can be some dire consequences for not having insurance in Illinois. The most obvious is that someone may be able to sue you and take your assets if you are responsible for his or her injuries. There are additional penalties to consider.
- You will be given a ticket for failure to provide proof of insurance. The minimum fine is $500. Your vehicle registration will be invalid until you show the court you are complying with the law.
- It costs $100 to reinstate your registration. This is after you show proof of insurance.
- If you are ticketed a second time, the minimum fine is raised to $1,000. You also will receive a mandatory four mouth suspension of your license.
Do You Have Questions About the Auto Insurance Regulations in Illinois? Contact Our Office Today.
Just because you follow the law doesn't mean others will. If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important that you keep these things in mind. First, never admit fault for the accident. There may be evidence that shows you were innocent or not fully liable. Second, do not refuse medical attention. You need to have documentation of your injuries.
Finally, you will need the advice of an experienced and qualified Chicago car accident attorney. This is where Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers excels. Our award-winning team has the experience, knowledge and resources you need to win your case. We rely on experts in accident reconstruction, medicine, economics and other relevant fields to properly value and build our clients' cases.
We invite you to contact us today. Our Chicago car accident lawyers will be happy to answer your questions and review your case for free. If we cannot recover compensation for you, our services will cost nothing.