Like most states within the United States, Illinois car insurance laws include mandatory minimums. Only three states are the exception to this rule: Virginia, New Hampshire and Mississippi. In every other state, drivers must have a certain amount and type of insurance on their vehicle to drive. The Insurance Information Institute reports that in 2015, roughly 13% of Illinois drivers were uninsured.
Minimum amounts of auto insurance coverage are required for a car to be driven legally in Illinois. These minimums are to ensure that drivers can cover an auto accident’s financial consequences if one occurs. Car accidents without insurance coverage can leave drivers owing more out of pocket than they can afford. To deal with this risk, many states have mandatory minimum auto insurance laws.
Car insurance laws in Illinois
Illinois car insurance requirements have two primary components. Each of these requirements is a policy type that provides specific coverages, which have state-mandated minimums. What these laws mean for drivers is that they must have these coverages in at least these amounts.
The first of these, liability coverage, is broken into two categories: bodily injury and property damage. The second type is an uninsured motorist coverage Illinois requirement. This is in place to deal with the risk of an accident occurring where the other driver is uninsured.
- Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage: $20,000 per accident
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage:
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Additionally, Illinois law also requires that if you purchase higher limits of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage that you also carry underinsured motorist bodily injury insurance. This type of insurance covers you if the other driver is at fault but doesn’t have enough to pay for your damages, etc.
Liability insurance in Illinois
Illinois car insurance laws focus upon standard liability coverage. While liability insurance requirements in Illinois are the legal minimum coverage allowable in the state, it may not always be enough. Liability coverage is specifically designed to pay for damages caused to another person or vehicle. This type of coverage doesn’t pay towards the person who has it. For instance, an at-fault driver’s liability coverage will pay for the not-at-fault driver’s vehicle repairs and medical bills if the two have an accident.
Unfortunately, these state minimums are not always enough to cover the costs of an accident. When an at-fault driver’s insurance isn’t enough to cover an accident’s expense, that driver may be sued to cover the remaining costs. For this reason, some people choose auto insurance policies with higher limits than the mandatory Illinois minimum.
For example, driver A has the state minimum and gets into a collision with driver B. Driver A is at fault and totals driver B’s car. The $20,000 provided by driver A’s insurance isn’t enough to cover driver B’s $40,000 vehicle. As a result, driver A may be on the line for the difference between what their insurance covered and what the other driver is owed.
Is Illinois a no fault state?
Illinois is an at-fault state. Like most states, Illinois holds the driver who causes an accident legally and financially responsible for that accident. This ties into the dilemma many drivers face around state-mandated insurance minimums. With Illinois being an at-fault state, drivers can end up liable for costs beyond their insurance limits.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Illinois
Driving without insurance Illinois penalties are four-fold:
- The driver’s license and vehicle registration may be suspended.
- There is a fine of up to $1,000.
- A $100 fee for reinstatement of license and registration.
- Repeat offenses can lead to increased fines and penalties.
Additional auto insurance coverage options in Illinois
Beyond the mandatory state minimums, there are several auto insurance coverage options to choose from. While averages are supplied where possible, the exact prices of plans and addons can vary widely between companies and policies depending on a number of factors.
Collision car insurance provides coverage when an accident occurs while driving. Suppose you are driving your car and get into an accident with another vehicle. In that case, collision insurance can pay for the damages to your car, even if you are at-fault. According to the Insurance Information Institute (iii), collision insurance costs $290 per year, on average.
Comprehensive car insurance provides coverage for your vehicle if an accident occurs while not driving. Unlike collision, this policy type covers damages that occur when the car is not in use. Comprehensive auto insurance costs $134 per year, on average.
In the case of a vehicle loss, this covers the difference between what is owed on a leased car and what is paid off. Imagine that you’ve paid off half of your car when you get into an accident and total the vehicle. Gap coverage would pay for the remaining amount owed on that car. Gap coverage can be as cheap as $20 per year to add to policies that already have collision and comprehensive.
Custom equipment car insurance covers the cost of non-factory parts in the case of an accident. For many cars, this policy will have little to no effect. However, for vehicles with custom parts, this type of policy can cover the cost of repairs to those custom parts. This type of addon’s cost is often calculated as a relatively small percentage of the value of the parts being insured.
With the state minimum insurance, medical expenses are only covered by another driver’s liability insurance. With a medical payments policy, you have coverage for medical costs of you and your passengers. The prices vary for these policies. They can be as low as a couple of dollars a month per $1,000 in coverage or as high as $8 a month per $1,000 in coverage.
Frequently asked question
What is the best car insurance company?
With so many variables at play, it’s hard to pick one auto insurance company as the best. Instead, consider Bankrate’s guide on the Best Car Insurance Companies of 2020.
Is standard liability insurance enough?
For some accidents, standard liability is plenty. Yet, for others, it falls short. If you are at fault in an accident and do more than $20,000 worth of property damage, or $50,000 of bodily damage, then the minimum will not be enough.
How can I get reduced rates on car insurance?
Many car insurance companies offer discounts. Depending on your insurer, they may offer discounts for good driving, vehicle safety features, automated online payments, and more. Contact your insurer, or see the discount section of their website, to learn which discounts can work for you.