Article: What are the minimum insurance requirements in Chicago?, Car Accident Insurance

What are the minimum insurance requirements in Chicago?

Illinois used to have some of the lowest mandatory minimum auto liability limits in the country. It stepped up though, and now those limits are consistent with the minimum limits of most other states. If you’re going to operate a motor vehicle on a public highway in the Land of Lincoln, you’ll need to have the following minimum liability coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to one person
  • $50,000 for more than one person per occurrence
  • $20,000 for property damage

You must remember that having minimum liability coverage does nothing to cover your medical bills, lost earnings or property damage, no matter who caused your accident.

Uninsured motorist insurance
Whether you’re on the Kennedy, the Stevenson, or the Ike, just take a look around you. According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than one out of every seven drivers that you see are uninsured. Illinois finally recognized how financially disastrous it can be for somebody being injured by an uninsured driver. That’s why anybody operating a motor vehicle on an Illinois road is now required to carry uninsured motorist insurance too. As opposed to some other states, Illinois uninsured motorist insurance won’t cover property damage though. You’ll likely need collision coverage for that, but if you check with your insurer, you might be able to get uninsured motorist property damage coverage.

Underinsured motorist insurance
Underinsured motorist insurance is packed into uninsured motorist insurance. Your mandatory underinsured motorist insurance is triggered if you’re in an accident that was caused by a negligent driver whose liability coverage isn’t sufficient to cover your personal injury damages.

Other types of optional car insurance in Illinois
Beyond mandatory minimum coverage, certain optional coverage is available. Optional coverage includes:

  • Collision that covers repairs to your vehicle no matter who caused the crash
  • Comprehensive that covers you for damage to your vehicle that’s not related to a collision
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage as discussed above
  • Medical payments coverage. It’s inexpensive and covers medical bills incurred by you and your passengers no matter who was at fault

The Illinois mandatory auto liability statute doesn’t require you to carry collision and comprehensive coverage, but if you have a loan on your vehicle, your lender will probably require it.

Compliance
Illinois monitors compliance with its mandatory auto minimum liability insurance requirement in two ways. The first way is the most obvious. If you’re pulled over for a traffic infraction, you’ll be asked to show current valid proof of insurance.

Failure to provide proof of insurance during a traffic stop
Failure to provide an officer who asks for your insurance information during a traffic stop results in a presumption that you have no liability insurance at all. It’s highly likely that you’ll be cited for having no proof of insurance. A conviction for driving without minimum required liability insurance in Illinois is punishable by:

  • Suspension of your license plates
  • A minimum fine of $500
  • A minimum fine of $1,000 if you’re driving on suspended plates for the same type of violation

Proof of insurance is almost always in the form of an insurance ID that verifies your name, insurance company, policy number and effective coverage dates. The other way that Illinois checks compliance is by randomly sending motorists a questionnaire asking for the same information. The state then checks the information that motorists give with both the insurer named and the information in its database. If the state determines that you don’t have insurance, you’re license plates will be suspended.

The Illinois Auto Insurance Plan
Some drivers just aren’t insurable through any insurance company, but they still own a car and have a valid driver’s license. Those drivers might be eligible for the Illinois Auto Insurance Plan. They can apply for the plan through just about any insurance agent, but there are certain conditions that must be met.

Even if you’re just looking out for yourself, minimum liability insurance is wholly insufficient. It offers little to somebody that you put in the hospital for five days through your own negligence, and it gives you nothing through your own policy if you’re hit through the fault of somebody else. A minimum of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident with matching uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is strongly recommended. It’s highly unlikely that it will cost even a dollar a day more. Contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation if you were in an accident at the fault of a driver who was uninsured or only had Illinois minimum liability coverage. We want to maximize the compensation that you receive for your injuries.

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