Is Car Insurance Mandatory for Drivers in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois requires all drivers to carry liability coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, as well as $20,000 for property damage (625 ILCS 5/7-601).
Owning a vehicle brings with it the freedom to travel wherever we want, a means to get to work and to visit friends and family. But it also comes with considerable responsibility, and it’s important to understand your financial responsibilities before you purchase a vehicle, in order to protect yourself and others on the road.
If you are involved in a car accident, the Chicago car injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help you decide the best way to proceed with your insurance claim. In most instances, this will involve negotiating a settlement with the other party's insurance provider or your own insurer.
Car Insurance Law in Illinois
The state of Illinois requires all vehicle owners to purchase auto insurance coverage. Aside from the fact that it’s legally mandated, having insurance is a good idea to begin with. Should you ever be in an accident, this insurance will cover the cost of your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and any liability you have for other people’s damages. Not all drivers carry 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.
These are the different types of coverage and how they cover you in the event of an accident:
- Property damage — This covers damage you cause to the other driver's vehicle but can also include damage to other types of property, such as fences, signs, personal pets, public property and more.
- Comprehensive and collision — Comprehensive automobile coverage is not required in Illinois, but it is recommended if you are making payments on a newer car or have an expensive vehicle. This covers damage to your own vehicle in an accident as well as property damage or loss from other causes than a collision, such as theft, fire or vandalism. Comprehensive coverage is often required by your finance company if your car is not yet paid off.
- 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 who was injured. This includes your own passengers and pedestrians. Liability coverage provides compensation to the people injured in the accident for their medical expenses.
There are required minimums you need to meet when buying insurance. However, it is highly advised that you purchase enough insurance to cover anticipated expenses. Accident victims can sue you personally if your insurance coverage cannot fully compensate the cost of their medical expenses and damages following an accident.
The minimum insurance coverage required in Illinois (per accident):
- $20,000 for property damage
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury or death
- $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person
For most people, this limited coverage will not be enough to protect their 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.
Illinois also requires that all drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage that is equal to your policy’s injury liability coverage (215 ILCS 5/143a). Make sure you have adequate protection. You don't want to be out of luck if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver who has no assets.
Keep Your Insurance Card in Your Vehicle
If you are ever pulled over, an officer may ask you for proof of insurance. You need to be able to show law enforcement this proof whenever they request it; just the fact that you have insurance is not sufficient.
Some people make the mistake of relying on mobile apps to provide proof of insurance. Where this goes wrong is when their phones run out of battery power. It is best to have a printed form of proof. Most insurance companies either issue you an insurance card or allow you to print your own card right from home.
What if I am From out of State?
You only need to follow Illinois’s laws if your vehicle is registered here. If you travel here often from Indiana, Wisconsin or Iowa, you will still need to show proof that you are meeting those states' requirements.
If you have just moved to Illinois, you are given 30 days to register your vehicle and obtain insurance.
Penalties for Violating Illinois Insurance Law
There can be serious 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 could be ticketed for failure to provide proof of insurance to a law enforcement officer. The minimum fine for driving uninsured is $500. In addition, your license plates will be suspended until you show the court you are complying with the law.
- There is a $100 fee to reinstate your vehicle registration after showing the court evidence of insurance.
- If you are ticketed for being uninsured a second time, the minimum fine is raised to $1,000. You will also receive a mandatory four-month suspension of your license (625 ILCS 5/7-601).
Do You Have Questions About Auto Insurance Regulations in Illinois? Contact Our Office Today
Just because you follow the law doesn’t mean others will. If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to remember the following points. 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 a qualified Illinois 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.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident With a Driver who had Minimal Coverage?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understands the difficulties that individuals and families face when another driver causes a collision yet does not have the insurance coverage necessary to fully compensate you for your loss. Our team of attorneys, paralegals and investigators will take the steps necessary to determine what coverage was in place at the time of a crash as well as whether you may be entitled to pursue a claim with your insurance company. Call our office today for a complimentary review of your case.