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Guide to Illinois Auto Insurance Laws and Requirements

Car insurance requirements in Illinois

Minimum coverage requirements and penalties

Illinois requires drivers to carry a certain amount of insurance. How much is enough? What are the penalties for driving without insurance, and what happens if the driver that hits you doesn’t carry insurance? Find answers here.

The word “insurance” comes from the Latin secures, which means “free from care.”

If you drive a car in Illinois, you probably already know that insurance helps relieve some of the stress associated with driving.

But how much insurance do you need? And what happens if you’re involved in a car accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance?

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Illinois car insurance law.

Fault-based insurance system

Illinois has a fault-based insurance system. This means that the person who causes a car crash is responsible for paying the damages. This is different than a no-fault insurance system, in which all drivers in an accident rely on their own insurance policies to cover the damages. Michigan and Kentucky are among the handful of states with no-fault systems.

Illinois has a fault-based insurance system, which means the person responsible for the car accident is responsible for paying the damages. Tweet this

Because Illinois has a fault-based insurance system, you have 3 options if you suffer damages as a result of a car accident caused by another driver in Illinois:

  1. You can file a claim with your own insurance company (your insurance company will then pursue reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company),
  2. You can file a third-party insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or
  3. You can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver (in most cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will step in and defend the at-fault driver).

Illinois car insurance requirements

Every Illinois driver is required to maintain—at a minimum—the following car insurance coverage amounts:

Minimum car insurance coverage requirements in Illinois
Bodily injury liability for 1 person in an accident $25,000
Bodily injury liability for all persons harmed in 1 accident $50,000
Property damage per accident $20,000

Keep in mind that the above mandatory liability insurance covers bodily injuries and property damage caused by the insured individual and sustained by someone other than the insured. In other words, if you cause a car accident, your liability insurance pays for the other person’s injuries and damages.

Penalties for being uninsured

If you drive a vehicle in Illinois without proper insurance, the following penalties apply:

  • Automatic suspension of your license
  • Minimum $500 fine plus license reinstatement fees

As is the case in all states, the police will find out you’re driving without adequate insurance if they pull you over and ask to see your insurance card — or if you’re involved in a car accident.

In addition, Illinois employs another enforcement method:

The state randomly selects registered vehicles using a computer program and sends a questionnaire to the owner of each vehicle selected. The questionnaire asks for the name of the owner’s insurance company and the policy number. If the owner fails to return the questionnaire within 30 days or if the information provided can’t be verified, the owner’s license will be suspended.

Enjuris tip: Even though the penalties for failing to carry the mandatory liability insurance might not seem too severe, you must keep in mind that an uninsured driver is personally liable for all the damages incurred in an accident they cause. If the uninsured driver doesn’t have the cash to cover the damages, the injured party can go after the uninsured driver’s assets, including their house and vehicle.

What happens if the other driver doesn’t have liability insurance?

Facing factsEven though liability insurance is mandatory in Illinois, roughly 14% of Illinois drivers are uninsured.

So what happens if you’re involved in an accident and the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

Insurance companies in Illinois are legally obligated to include uninsured motorist coverage with your car insurance policy. The coverage limits must be equal to the policy’s injury liability coverage.

As a result, if you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover your damages up to the amount of your policy’s injury liability coverage.

Optional insurance coverage

While your liability insurance covers damage sustained by other people involved in an accident, it doesn’t cover your damages. Because of this, you may want to consider purchasing optional coverage. Optional coverage in Illinois includes:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage provides up to $10,000 in coverage regardless of who’s at fault (what’s covered depends on the specific policy).
  • MedPay coverage provides coverage for medical expenses incurred by you and your passengers regardless of who is at fault.
  • Comprehensive coverage provides coverage for losses other than those caused by a collision (vandalism, falling objects, fire, etc.).

Do you have more questions about your auto insurance policy? Contact your insurance provider.

If your insurance provider is ignoring or misleading you or you have questions about your rights in a car accident case, an Illinois personal injury attorney can help.

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