Welcome to Illinois! Illinois is a Midwestern state that is the 5th most populous state in the nation. As a new driver in Illinois, you will share the road with the many people living and driving on the various highways of this state. If you’re new to the state or are planning to move to Illinois, you may want to become familiar with their insurance laws, particularly auto insurance, since there is a lot to learn in this state. Here you’ll also find some helpful tips on how to shave a few dollars off your insurance bill.

Auto Insurance in Illinois: The Facts

When it comes to car accidents, Illinois is an “at-fault” or “pure fault” state, which means that the individual who is found to have caused the accident is the one responsible for compensating any individuals who suffered injuries or property damage from the accident. The person’s insurance will pay the damages up to the limitations of the coverage.

Drivers and vehicle owners have many choices from which to choose when looking for auto insurance companies in Illinois. Additionally, they offer various types of coverage; while some portions are required by the state, others are options.

Most insurance companies will offer the following types of auto insurance:

  • Collision

    This helps pay for damages to your car after an accident or collision.
  • Comprehensive

    This helps pay for repairs to your car caused by non-collision things like storm damage, animals, theft or vandalism.
  • Medical payments

    This helps pay for medical expenses caused by the accident.
  • Bodily injury liability

    This protects you from a lawsuit fpr an at-fault accident where people needed medical help.
  • Property damage liability

    This protects you in case you’re sued for property damage you caused to others with your vehicle.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist property damage

    This pays for property damage caused by a driver who doesn’t have his or her own insurance.

What is Required for Drivers in Illinois ?

Drivers in Illinois are not required to carry collision, comprehensive or medical payments on their auto insurance policy. However, they are required to carry the following.

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Uninsured motorists

Although the state of Illinois does not require drivers purchase full coverage auto insurance, lenders typically require it if the vehicle is used as collateral on an auto loan. They want to be assured that if the vehicle is damaged or destroyed in an accident, they will be compensated for the value of the loan.

Drivers are required to have their insurance card in their vehicles at all times. If law enforcement pulls them over for any reason, the driver will be expected to provide proof of insurance to the officer.

If the driver fails to provide the officer with proof of insurance, he or she will be considered as not having insurance and may receive a ticket. A conviction for not having the required auto insurance will result in the following.

  • At least $500 fine
  • At least $1,000 fine if driving with suspended license plates because of an insurance violation
  • License plate suspension

A license plate suspension will not be lifted until the driver shows proof of insurance and pays a $100 reinstatement fee. A second and subsequent offense of failure to have auto insurance will result in a four-month suspension as well as the $100 reinstatement fee.

The DOT system randomly selects vehicles to determine if the driver has auto insurance on record. Drivers who are selected will be notified by the DOT and required to fill out a questionnaire stating their insurance information. Failure to return the questionnaire and provide proof will result in a plate suspension.

Drivers who are unable to buy auto insurance because of their driving records may apply for insurance through the Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan (ILAIP). To be eligible to buy insurance through the ILAIP, the candidate must meet the following criteria.

  • Must have been denied insurance
  • Must possess a valid Illinois license or be eligible to get one.
  • Not have an outstanding bill with an insurance company in the previous three years.
  • Must own a car that satisfies safety requirements

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Illinois

The Illinois Mandatory Insurance Law requires that drivers have liability insurance for all registered vehicles driven in Illinois. The law requires drivers carry the following minimum coverage amounts.

  • $25,000 for bodily injury of death of one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person in one accident
  • $20,000 for property damage

It should be noted that the amounts listed above are the minimum amounts you must have. If it’s affordable, drivers should purchase higher amounts because of the high rate of accident-related lawsuits. Many people don’t fully understand how liability insurance works and mistakenly believe that as long as they have liability insurance they’re automatically covered from any lawsuit.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite like that. Here is a scenario with liability insurance: if you cause an auto accident where two people who were injured choose to sue you. The other party wins and the court awards them a $100,000 settlement. Your liability coverage is only for up to $25,000 for one person or $50,000 for more than one.

Therefore, that is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay on your behalf. You will need to pay the remaining balance. If you’ve ever heard or read about auto-related lawsuits, you may have seen that the settlements are often in six figure amounts.

Are any auto insurance laws specific to the state of Illinois?

Auto insurance companies in Illinois are required to sell uninsured motorist coverage with every auto policy they sell. They must provide at least the following amounts.

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

Illinois law mandates that the uninsured motorist coverage amount must be equal to the bodily injury liability portion of the policy. You may get a lower amount if you make a request in writing.

Ways to lower your insurance rates in Illinois

Have you ever wondered why your best friend paid a lower insurance premium than you pay when you were the same age and drove the same make and model of car? The answer is very simple. Auto insurance premiums are based on various things, including the following.

  • Age, gender and marital status
  • Geographic location
  • History of claims
  • How you use your vehicle (pleasure or business)
  • Driving record
  • Credit history
  • Miles you drive
  • Any lapse in coverage

If you have factors that negatively affect your auto insurance premiums, your auto insurance agent may be able to offer you discounts to offset the price. Here are some discounts worth mentioning to agents when choosing an insurance company.

  • Good student discount
  • Multi-car discount
  • Safety device discount
  • Defensive driver discount
  • Bundling home/car discount
  • Pay in full discount
  • Auto pay discount
  • Electronic billing discount
  • Claims and accident free discount

Are Requirements Different for Full-Time or Part-Time Residents?

Part-time and full-time residents have the same requirements for auto insurance in Illinois. If you’re moving to Illinois, you have 30 days to register and insure your vehicle. When you establish residency, you’ll apply for an Illinois driver’s license.

Where Illinois Ranks in Price Compared to National Average

The average car insurance rates in Illinois in 2017 were approximately $1,246. This amount is a bit lower than the national average of $1,669. Considering that Michigan drivers may pay up to $4,054 for car insure and North Carolina rates average about $874, Illinois auto insurance rates are on the lower end in the United States.

Average Rates in Top Three Counties

Insurance rates vary not only from person-to-person but also from city-to-city. To prove this point, we’ve determined the insurance rates a 45-year old married female with a good driving record might have in three different Illinois counties.

Counties Coverage liability
DuPage County $888 for full coverage $398 for liability
Cook County $1611 for full coverage $584 for liability
St. Claire County $997 for full coverage; $426 for liability

Keep in mind that these rates may also fluctuate from company to company. Most major insurance companies deal with several small companies so they’re able to give you the best possible rates. If one of their companies can’t offer you an attractive price, another one may be able to. Therefore, it can’t be stressed enough the importance of shopping around.

Summary

Being informed on Illinois insurance coverage requirements can ensure you’re not only legal but also protected from potential lawsuits. Having the knowledge of the different types of coverage available to Illinois drivers can help you make wise choices when choosing your auto insurance policy.

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