Minimum coverage requirements and penalties
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.
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:
- 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),
- You can file a third-party insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or
- 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.
What happens if the other driver doesn’t have liability insurance?
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.