Understanding Illinois’ Car Insurance Requirements

Illinois is a large, diverse state. There’s a lot to see between Cairo in the south and Waukegan in the North. And there are plenty of driving hazards that you might encounter along the way. Illinois drivers are going to encounter various traffic, vehicle and insurance laws. These laws ensure that Illinois’ roads remain safe thoroughfares for all travelers.

All Illinois drivers have to follow many laws on vehicle ownership and car insurance. If you register your vehicle in the state, you will have to carry auto insurance. Failing to carry insurance could result in various penalties.

However, you still have options. Once you meet the state’s coverage requirements, you’re often able to adjust your policy to meet your needs. Consider the need for auto insurance a necessity, but the benefit of it to be a convenience.

Illinois Liability Auto Insurance Requirements

Most states require their registered drivers to carry minimum levels of auto insurance. In this manner, mandatory insurance works as a form of consumer protection. Illinois requires its drivers to carry, at minimum, three levels of liability insurance:

  • $25,000 bodily injury or death coverage per person
  • $50,000 cumulative bodily injury or death coverage per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability protection

You must also carry uninsured/underinsured coverage valued at:

  • $25,000 per person.
  • $50,000 total per accident.

The Importance of Liability Protection

Liability protection does not protect the policyholder themselves. It extends protection to other drivers on the road. Let’s say you collide with another vehicle, and break the other driver’s leg. Think about the financial effects that injury might have on the other driver. They might need to pay medical bills, receive rehabilitation or take time off work to recover.

An investigation into the accident determines it to be your fault. The other driver then likely has a right to file a claim against your liability coverage. If you carry the Illinois-mandated coverage, the injured driver could receive up to $25,000 for their losses.

Liability coverage serves as a valuable protection for both a policyholder and other drivers. If the policyholder carries this service, they might not have to pay compensation to an injured party out-of-pocket. Still, liability insurance can provide the affected party with the funds they need.

Penalties of Driving Without Insurance

It’s easy to understand the benefits of liability insurance. That’s why going without it shouldn’t be a thought. Most states levy penalties for drivers who carry either too little or no auto insurance.

Illinois is no different. While there is no jail penalty, there are often financial penalties and driving restrictions.

  • Fines: You can face fines of $501 to $1,000 for your first offense. Even higher fines of up to $2,500 follow for subsequent offenses. The exact fine will likely depend on the nature of the charge and whether it involved a vehicle accident.
  • Driving Restrictions: First-time offenders will receive a license and registration suspension for up to three months. Subsequent offenses will result in suspensions of up to four months.
  • Reinstatement Fees: If you have a driver’s license suspension, you will likely have to pay the $100 reinstatement fees.
  • SR-22 Certificates: Certain drivers will have to have this form attached to their insurance policy for up to three years. It will verify for the state that you have active auto insurance. Your insurer will send the SR-22 form to the Illinois authorities. You must keep your policy active for the entire penalty period.

Driving without insurance will likely change your eligibility for coverage in the future. Many insurers view driving without coverage as an indicator that a driver is a high risk to insure. So, they might deny your application for coverage or charge you more for your policy. If you’ve driven without insurance, talk to your insurance agent about how to insure yourself now.

Getting Extra Insurance

Once you get the state’s auto insurance requirements, you’re going to be driving in compliance with the law. However, carrying required coverage might not mean you’re carrying the best coverage. All vehicles are different. You can likely augment your mandatory coverage with extra protection.

  • Consider increasing your liability coverage to higher levels. Extra protection can better protect your own finances in case of an at-fault accident.
  • Buy collision coverage to cover your own vehicle’s repairs if you have an accident.
  • Get comprehensive coverage to afford repairs to the vehicle that result from accidents like fires, theft or weather damage.

Always carry verification of your insurance coverage in your car when you drive. That way, following an accident, you can have verification that you carry coverage. Never forget to always keep your policy active, and renew it every period. Talk to your insurance agent about the best way to carry protection. Call us for a Chicago auto insurance quote at 877-999-2644.

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