Whether you’re a newcomer to this great state or a current resident looking for car insurance for the first time, you must educate yourself on the basic car insurance requirements in Illinois before purchasing a policy.
Basic car insurance requirements in Illinois
States generally fall into two categories when it comes to insurance: fault states and no-fault states. Illinois is considered an “at-fault” state, which means that drivers will be responsible for all costs of the accidents they cause. All drivers in the state are required by law to have liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage:
- Social responsibility insurance is coverage that will help you pay for physical or third-party property damage that is the result of an accident you caused. There are two types of coverage: physical and property damage.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will take care of medical expenses for any injuries you or your passengers sustain if you have an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
It is important to remember that liability insurance will not cover your costs for physical or property damage. Also, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage does not include property damage.
There are also additional coverage options in Illinois, which include collision insurance, comprehensive, medical payment, uninsured motorist property damage coverage, among others.
What are the coverage minimums for car insurance in Illinois?
A minimum of $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 per accident is required in the state. You are also required to carry $20,000 of property damage coverage. You’ll often see these limits as 25/50/20, and they represent the most your insurance company will pay if you’re in an accident and you’re at fault.
How to get the best auto insurance rates in Illinois?
If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance, a policy with Illinois’ minimum requirements will be the cheapest, but cost isn’t the only factor you should consider when requesting quotes. Although the state limits are similar to the rest of the United States, it’s important to make an informed decision to get the best coverage for your needs.
What happens if you drive without insurance?
In Illinois, it is required by law that any vehicle registered in the state be insured during the period of such registration. All drivers are required to carry their insurance card at all times and verify their coverage to any authority that requires it. The state also randomly sends questionnaires to motorists to confirm that they have insurance. If you are selected, you will receive a letter asking you to verify your coverage and you must respond within 30 days.
Penalties for not having the minimum coverage required by the state range from $500 to $1,000. If you drive without insurance again and receive a citation, your license could be suspended. If you cause a serious accident and you don’t have insurance, you could even spend time in prison. If your license is suspended, you may need to file an SR-22 form every year to keep your license once you get it back.
You may also need to file an SR-22 if you have multiple traffic violations, a DUI, or if your license was suspended.
Can you get discounts on car insurance in Illinois?
Although the state does not offer any type of discount, many insurance providers may offer you reduced rates if you meet certain requirements. Some companies offer discounts for good students and people who take defensive driving courses. It is also common for drivers with anti-theft and security devices installed in their cars to receive discounts. When you’re shopping for car insurance, ask the agent if they can offer you any of these price reductions or any others.
What is an SR-22?
Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR-22) monitors high-risk drivers in Illinois and authorizes the Secretary of State to suspend such drivers’ licenses in the event the insurance expires or there is a lapse in coverage.
In Illinois, it is mandatory to maintain SR-22 insurance for two years, which begins when the motorist regains his right to drive. Although the cost of filing for SR-22 is relatively low, any driver who files for it will be considered high risk and will have higher auto insurance premiums in the state than the average driver.
The cost of maintaining car insurance in Illinois is very low compared to the risk you take by driving without the indicated coverage. Contact a professional to find the best policy for your needs and budget.
Are there alternatives to auto insurance?
Illinois law provides no alternative to purchasing auto insurance required to drive legally in the state. However, if you own more than 25 vehicles, you may qualify to self-insure. To do so, you must pay a $200 filing fee and show evidence that you can pay the same amount as an insurance company for a claim if one of your vehicles is in an accident.
If you drive without insurance or have a DUI, you will typically need to file an SR-22 certificate with your insurance company to prove to the state that you have coverage. However, if you cannot obtain it directly from your insurance provider, the state of Illinois allows these alternatives so that you can drive legally:
- A cash deposit of $70,000 to the Illinois Treasurer’s Office.
- A surety bond of $70,000.
- A $70,000 real estate fund approved by a judge.
If you meet any of these alternatives, you must send evidence to the Secretary of State for verification. Once everything has been approved, said Secretary will issue a certificate that you can use instead of an insurance card.
As you can see, it is much easier to find an insurance company that provides you with the minimum coverage than to go through the process of alternatives.