Looking for information about Illinois auto insurance? We’ve got all the information you need. Keep reading to learn about required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, important coverage decisions, how the claim process works, available discounts, and more.
Illinois law is a “tort” state where all drivers are required to have auto insurance.
Illinois law has certain standards for car insurance policies. Those standards require every policy to provide liability and uninsured motorist coverage. The following table breaks down the requirements.
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$20,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident
$40,000 total for all injuries in an accident
|Property damage liability||$15,000 total per accident|
|Uninsured motorist (UM) bodily injury||$20,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident
$40,000 total for all injuries in an accident
When someone driving your car causes an accident, it pays for victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $40,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $15,000 for property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 20/40/15 coverage. You can buy more than the minimums to be better protected.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover the driver’s medical bills or car repairs. They only cover those expenses for victims of an accident.
Illinois officials advise that you consider buying higher liability limits than the minimums. They note that “many vehicles today are worth more than $15,000 and medical bills for injuries could easily exceed $20,000 for one person.” If you cause an accident with damages above those limits, you could be financially exposed.
Pays your medical bills and medical bills for your family and passengers when they are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Minimum policies include $40,000 worth of coverage total for all medical bills, but you can buy more. If you do buy more, you will also have to buy underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, according to officials. Read more about UIM coverage in the “Optional Coverages” section below.
If you break the law and don’t buy coverage, it could cost you. You could get stuck having to pay other people’s medical and repair bills if someone crashes your car. You could also get your license plate and driver’s license suspended. On top of that, you could face hundreds of dollars in fines and fees.
|No. of offenses||Fine||Driver’s license suspension||License plate suspension|
|1st||$500 -$1,000||3 months & until you:
||Until you prove you’re insured & pay $100 fee|
|2nd||$500-$1,000||3 months & until you:
||4 months & until you:
|3rd & subsequent||$1,000||3 months & until you:
||4 months & until you:
Note: If your license was already suspended while you were driving uninsured, the suspension period triples.
Illinois maintains a database to check if you’re insured. It does so by matching license plate data up with policy data from insurers.
Officials use the database for random verification requests. If your vehicle is randomly selected, you’ll have to verify your coverage with the state. If you can’t verify coverage, you may face the some or all of the penalties outlined in the table above.
In the Land of Lincoln, a copy of your insurance ID card displayed on a smartphone or tablet works as valid proof of insurance. Many major insurers will already provide an electronic proof of insurance card, which the industry calls an “e-card.”
Illinois’ electronic proof law went into effect in August 2013.
For the electronic document to be valid proof of insurance, it should clearly state at least the following:
In addition to liability and uninsured motorist coverage, there are optional coverages you can add. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism, hail damage, and theft. In 2011, more than 4 out of every 5 drivers in Illinois bought this coverage, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. In 2011, almost 4 out of every 5 drivers in Illinois bought this coverage, according to data from the NAIC.
It pays your medical bills and the medical bills of your family and passengers after an accident. It does so when the accident was caused by a driver who has insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical bills.
It pays for repairing your car after an accident caused by an uninsured driver.
Illinois lets you buy up to $15,000 worth of this coverage if you don’t have collision coverage. If you file a claim, you’ll have to pay a $250 deductible to get it covered, according to officials.
It pays for your medical and funeral bills from a traffic accident. It also does so for your family members and passengers. It provides coverage no matter who caused the accident.
It pays for the cost of renting a car after an accident.
It pays for towing and labor due to a mechanical breakdown.
It pays the difference between an insurance company’s payment for a totaled car and the remaining balance on the car’s loan or lease.
It pays out a benefit if the insured motorist is killed because of a car accident.
It pays for customized, non-factory features for a vehicle, like CD players, CB radios, etc.
Statewide, about 15% of drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council.
With 15% of Illinois drivers lacking car coverage, that means there’s around a 1-in-7 chance that a driver you get into an accident with doesn’t have auto insurance. So they won’t be able to pay for your damages from an accident.
If someone who injures you in an accident doesn’t have insurance, you may need to rely on your own policy. But not all people have the coverage they need.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury will pay for medical bills in this situation, and so will medical payments coverage if you added it to your policy.
Uninsured motorist property damage and collision coverage will pay for repairing your car in this situation. But both of those coverages are optional. If you don’t include them in your policy, your car repairs may not be covered in this situation.
Illinois uses a “tort” system for car insurance claims. That means if someone injures you or wrecks your car, their liability insurance pays your medical and repair bills.
But in some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the accident. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible. This makes things a little more complicated.
If you’re partially responsible, it changes how much you can get from the other driver’s insurer. Illinois uses “modified comparative fault” (also known as “comparative negligence”) to determine payment. Here are the details:
If you’re at least 50% responsible for the accident: The other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay any of your bills. You have to completely rely on your own policy.
If you’re less than 50% responsible for the accident: The other driver’s insurer will pay your bills. But the amount they pay will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re 20% responsible for an accident, the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay 100% of your bills. Instead, it pays only 80%, since you were 20% responsible. So in this example, if you have $10,000 in bills from an accident, the other driver’s insurer has to pay only $8,000.
So what if the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay your bills? You use your own policy. Medical payments coverage will help pay your medical bills. Collision will help pay your repair bills. But those coverages are optional. You’ll be on your own if you didn’t add them to your policy.
Car insurance can become confusing, especially when it comes time to file a claim for your vehicle. But there’s plenty of help out there. Officials provide answers to your questions about total-loss car insurance claims, and what happens when you file an auto claim with your own Illinois car insurer.
Illinois car insurance prices are lower than average. The average cost of an Illinois auto insurance policy was 11.9% lower than the 2011 national average, according to data from the NAIC.
If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.
The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in the Land of Lincoln:
In an attempt to get more drivers licensed and insured, Illinois allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Undocumented drivers still need to obtain Illinois car insurance under the same traffic safety laws as other drivers. Drivers who want to get the temporary visitor driver’s license will have to apply by setting an appointment and submitting documents.
If you’ve had a hard time finding a car insurer who will cover you (usually because of marks on your driving record), you can still turn to the Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan. The Plan is the car insurer of last resort for the state’s high-risk drivers.
The Illinois Department of Insurance offers drivers a lot of ways to research as they shop.
Consumers can check out the department’s profile of insurance companies in Illinois.
Have you already filed a claim, only to find there’s a delay with your payout? Or is there another complaint you want regulatory officials to know about? You can file an electronic message with the department about your problem.
The department also publishes consumer complaint reports. For companies with a market share of at least 1%, Allstate Fire and Casualty had the best consumer-complaint record in 2012. That year, the company received just 10 complaints on nearly $325 million worth of policies.
If you're stopped by police while driving in Illinois, you can prove that you're insured with an electronic copy of your insurance ID card. Many major insurers offer apps that you can use to display your proof of insurance on your smartphone or tablet.