Every state has different laws and requirements when it comes to car insurance. As in many other states, Illinois car insurance law requires vehicle owners to carry liability insurance. In addition, some lenders or dealerships might require additional damage insurance that covers the vehicle. Here’s what you need to know about Illinois auto insurance, so you can drive safely and legally.
What Are Illinois Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements?
Illinois car insurance law requires all registered vehicles to have liability insurance. This type of insurance covers property damage and injuries a driver might cause others in an accident. To comply with Illinois law, you must have:
- $25,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person
- $20,000 for damage to another person’s property
All drivers must carry their insurance card in their vehicles at all times and be able to produce it upon request by law enforcement. You can get your proof of insurance card from your insurance company.
How Does Illinois Enforce Car Insurance Laws?
As of July 1, 2021, the state of Illinois began using an Electronic Insurance Verification process to verify that drivers are in compliance with the law. This electronic system resulted from an effort to reduce the number of uninsured drivers in the state. The computer checks occur twice a year and, in most cases, drivers aren’t even aware of it. If the computer system fails to find a driver’s insurance information, the driver will receive a warning letter in the mail alerting them that the state is suspending their plates.
Once a driver receives a warning letter, they must get car insurance if they don’t have it already. They must also pay a $100 fine before the state will reinstate their plates.
If a driver receives a letter but does have insurance, they must contact their insurance company and give them the reference number from the notice. Their insurance company or agent will then resolve the issue with the state.
What Happens if an Uninsured Driver Gets Into an Accident?
If you don’t have the minimum required insurance, and you get pulled over for a traffic violation or get into an accident, the police officer will issue a citation. If you are convicted of driving without the proper insurance, the state can enforce the following fines:
- A minimum $500 fine for uninsured driving
- A minimum $1,000 fine for driving a vehicle with suspended license plates if you’ve already had an insurance violation
License Plate Suspension and Reinstatement Process
After a first offense, your plates will be suspended until you purchase the minimum liability insurance and pay the reinstatement fine of at least $100. You can pay the fine using the online portal through the ILIVS.com website, or you can visit your local Illinois Secretary of State facility. Have the reference number from the registration suspension letter with you. If you pay using the website, you’ll need this reference number to log into the site. If you can’t find the reference number, you can also use your vehicle’s VIN to look up the citation.
Drivers who receive repeat offenses will have their plate suspended for four months. In this scenario, you must purchase the required insurance and pay the fine before the state will reinstate your plates.
If the state suspends your license plates, you cannot operate your vehicle under any circumstances. You can, however, drive other vehicles as long as they have the proper insurance and you have a valid driver’s license.
Illinois Car Insurance Law After an Accident
If you are involved in an accident, the Illinois Department of Transportation requires you to file an accident form if damages exceed $500 or injuries result from the accident. Illinois is an at-fault state, which means uninsured motorists found at fault for an accident are required to pay for damages. The state can suspend your driver’s license and license plates if you don’t pay.
Illinois requires all drivers involved in an accident to provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number to all other parties involved. Although it’s not required, you should also get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
How To Find Coverage to Comply With Illinois Car Insurance Law
Before purchasing a vehicle, shop around for insurance coverage. The Illinois Department of Insurance has a list of companies licensed to do business in the state. Check this resource to make sure the companies you get quotes from can legally provide your coverage.
Some companies have agents you can work with, while others have you work directly through the company. Shop around to find the provider that offers the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
If you can, consider buying higher limits than the minimum. What the state requires might not be enough to protect you and your finances if you are found at fault for an accident.
Additional Car Insurance Available in Illinois
Your car insurance provider will offer a variety of extra insurance options. Many of these are worth considering adding to your policy to help protect you, others, and your vehicle.
Added coverage you might consider includes:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Accidental death benefit
- Gap coverage
- Medical payments
- Rental reimbursement
When shopping for your insurance, weigh the cost of the coverage with your budget and needs. A variety of factors can affect your premiums, and each company calculates its premiums differently. Factors that can affect your premium include:
- Marital status
- Driving record
- Type of vehicle
- Coverage limits
- Credit score
- Vehicle usage
Illinois car insurance law requires all drivers to carry liability coverage. It’s important to note that these are only the minimums, and you’ll most likely need more coverage to protect you and others if you get into an accident.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.