Illinois car insurance laws you need to know

Navigating Illinois car insurance law is crucial for all drivers in the state. Ensuring that your auto insurance policy complies with Illinois’ minimum coverage requirements is not just a matter of legal compliance—it’s a safeguard against the financial fallout of accidents. Illinois operates under a fault-based system, meaning the driver found at fault for an accident is responsible for the damages. Here’s a more comprehensive look at Illinois car insurance law from our Chicago car accident lawyers.

illinois car insurance laws

Illinois car insurance requirements

Illinois law requires all drivers to carry minimum car insurance coverage to ensure financial responsibility in the event of an accident. The purpose behind these requirements is to protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians from the financial consequences of accidents for which they are not at fault. Here are the specific minimum coverage amounts mandated by Illinois state law.

Bodily injury liability coverage

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in a single accident.
  • $50,000 total for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident.

This coverage pays for injuries that the policyholder or a designated driver causes to someone else. It covers expenses related to medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages for the injured party. However, it does not cover the injuries of the driver at fault.

Property damage liability coverage

  • $20,000 for damage to another person’s property in a single accident.

Property damage liability coverage covers repairing or replacing someone else’s property damaged in an accident where the policyholder is at fault. This usually pertains to damage to another vehicle, including buildings, fences, and other property types.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage

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

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re in an accident caused by a driver without liability insurance. It covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages for you or your passengers up to your policy’s limit. Illinois law requires this coverage to equal the minimum amounts specified for bodily injury liability coverage.

Consider purchasing additional coverage

While these are the minimum requirements, it’s often recommended that drivers consider purchasing higher coverage limits. Accidents can easily result in damages that exceed these minimums, leaving the at-fault driver personally responsible for any excess amounts.

Additional coverage options

To mitigate such risks, consider augmenting your policy with additional coverages:

  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage – Although not mandated by state law, insurers must offer this coverage. It comes into play when the at-fault driver’s liability limits are too low to cover the total damages. The coverage amount typically matches your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage but can be increased for an additional premium.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Offers protection from theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and collisions with wildlife.
  • Collision coverage: Covers vehicle repair costs after an accident, regardless of fault.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Helps with medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident you cause.
  • Medical payments coverage (MedPay): Covers medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of fault.
  • Rental car coverage: Provides a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired after an accident.
  • Roadside assistance coverage: Assistance for emergencies such as towing, jump-starts, or flat tires.
  • Gap insurance: Essential for leased or financed cars, covering the difference between the vehicle’s actual value and what you owe.

Given the potential for significant financial liability beyond these minimums, drivers should assess their individual needs and consider additional coverages to safeguard against the full spectrum of risks on the road.

Important considerations regarding auto insurance

  • Penalties for driving without insurance – Driving without the required insurance can result in fines, license suspension, and other penalties.
  • Factors influencing premiums – Your premium depends on age, driving history, vehicle type, and credit score.
  • SR-22 requirements – Drivers with suspended licenses due to serious violations must file an SR-22 form, proving they have the minimum required insurance.
  • Discounts and savings – Many insurers offer discounts for safe driving, multiple policies, and other factors that can lower your premiums.

Navigating fault and claims in Illinois

Illinois’ fault-based system requires understanding several key aspects:

  • Determining fault – The driver at fault is responsible for damages. Insurance companies often determine fault based on police reports and accident evidence.
  • Comparative negligence rule – Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence rule. If you’re found partially at fault, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
  • Filing a claim – Familiarize yourself with your insurer’s filing process. Timely reporting and thorough documentation are crucial.

Final thoughts on Illinois car insurance laws

When selecting auto insurance in Illinois, balance affordability with comprehensive coverage. Beyond the basic requirements, additional coverages can provide valuable protection and peace of mind. Be proactive in understanding your policy’s terms and the broader legal landscape to navigate the aftermath of an accident effectively.

If you are in a complex situation following an accident, consulting with experienced legal professionals can offer guidance and support in seeking the compensation you deserve. Call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates at (800) 985-1819 for your free consultation.

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