Car insurance is there to help us out if we are ever involved in an accident or our car gets stolen or damaged. Most states require drivers to have some type of car insurance to help keep the peace when unfortunate circumstances arise. Each state has their own set of minimum requirements for car insurance coverage limits.

Whether you are a new resident in The Prairie State or you are shopping around for a new car insurance company, it’s good to know what to look for. Here are some of the basic things you should know about car insurance laws in Illinois.

What Are The Minimum Requirements For Car Insurance In Illinois?

Insurance comes in many different forms, but the state of Illinois requires all drivers to carry only two types of insurance on their policy: liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage.

Liability insurance is the type of coverage that exists to cover the costs of injuries and property damage to the other party in an accident that you were at-fault for. You must have the following minimum coverage limits on your liability insurance:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person, per accident.
  • Total bodily injury: $50,000 per accident, if multiple people were injured.
  • Property damage: $20,000.

Liability insurance exists to ensure that you can cover the damages and injuries done to others in an accident that you have caused and is not there to cover the damages done to your own vehicle or injuries.

On the other hand, uninsured motorist coverage is there to protect you in incidences where another driver has caused the accident but does not have insurance to cover the damages done to you and your vehicle. Illinois state law requires all drivers to have the following minimum limits for uninsured motorist coverage:

  • Uninsured bodily injury coverage: $25,000 per person, per accident.
  • Uninsured total bodily injury coverage: $50,000 per accident, if multiple people were injured.

What Are My Other Options For Car Insurance In Illinois?

The two types of insurance coverages that are required in the state of Illinois are helpful, but they don’t cover everything. Many drivers might feel like they need more padding on their policy to maintain peace of mind while driving. If you are interested in purchasing additional types of insurance on your policy, you have a lot of options. Here are the most common types of optional coverage:

  • Collision: This type of coverage will help you pay for the damages done to your car if you ever involved in a traffic accident.
  • Comprehensive: If your car is ever damaged by something other than an accident such as weather, fire, theft or vandalism, this type of insurance will help you cover the costs.
  • Medical payments: If you are ever injured as a result of an accident, this type of insurance will help you pay for your medical bills.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: While uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is a state requirement for car insurance, uninsured motorist property damage is not. This type of coverage exists to help you pay for the damages done to your vehicle after getting into a car accident with an uninsured driver who is at-fault.

It’s important for you to know that while the state of Illinois does not require you to have comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy, it is likely that you will need to have them if you are leasing or financing your car.

What Are The Penalties For Insurance Violations In Illinois?

Having the minimum requirements for car insurance is a responsibility that comes with registering your car in Illinois. The state of Illinois enforces this law by monitoring your car insurance through two different methods:

  • A system of random questionnaires.
  • Having law enforcement verify proof of insurance during traffic stops.

How The Insurance Questionnaire Works

Illinois has implemented a computer system that randomly sends out insurance questionnaires to drivers within the state to keep track of car insurance statuses. The questionnaire will ask you to provide both the name of your insurance company and your insurance policy number. Once you complete the questionnaire, the information will need to be confirmed by the insurance company listed. If it turns out that you are uninsured, your license plates will be suspended.

What To Expect During A Traffic Stop

You should always carry your car insurance card with you when you are driving. If you are ever pulled over by law enforcement, they will ask to see your insurance card as proof of insurance.

Drivers who fail to provide the officer with proof of insurance will be written up as an uninsured driver. If it is revealed that you did not have a current insurance policy at the time that you were stopped, you could face the following penalties:

  • License suspension:
  • A fine of at least $500.
  • A fine of at least $1000 if you were caught driving a car whose plates were suspended due to an insurance infraction.

If your license plates get suspended because of a car insurance infraction, you will need to get it reinstated by:

  • Showing proof of valid and current car insurance.
  • Paying a $100 reinstatement fee.

Keep in mind that if you have multiple offenses, your license plates could be suspended for a minimum of 4 months.

What Is Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR-22/SR22)?

Drivers with bad driving records may need to file Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR-22) so that the state can make sure that they are insured. You might be required to buy SR-22 insurance if you have:

  • A lot of traffic infractions on your driving record.
  • Multiple car insurance infractions.
  • Had your driving privileges revoked or had a suspended license.

If you get notified that you fall into this category, your insurance company will need to file an SR-22 certificate in which will be required to keep for a minimum of three years.

How Can I Get Car Insurance If I Have A Poor Driving Record?

If you have a bad driving record, car insurance companies will see you as being high risk and you may have a hard time finding one to cover you. Since car insurance is a requirement by Illinois law, the state has created a program to help you get insured.

The Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan (ILAIP) is a program consisting of multiple car insurance companies that band together to share the risk of providing coverage to high-risk drivers. You can apply for this program through the help of any car insurance company or licensed car insurance agent in the state.

You can only apply for this program if:

  • You have been denied car insurance after shopping through the open market.
  • You hold a valid Illinois driver’s license or you are eligible to apply for one.
  • You do not have any past due car insurance premiums owed to any car insurance company within the past three years.
  • Your car is safe to drive.

Insurance policies purchased through the ILAIP tend to be more expensive than purchasing insurance the traditional way, so only go down this road if it is your only option.

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