Illinois Car Insurance Laws

Illinois with blue backgroundThe Prairie State mandates that all motor vehicle owners have an auto insurance policy in effect at all times that must meet the state's minimum liability requirements. In addition, Illinois law also requires that motorists carry Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage to pay for bodily injuries sustained by insureds if struck by a driver that does not have a liability policy. Automobile policies must consist of the following coverage as a minimum:
  • Liability Coverage: Pays for injury and/or property damage caused by an insured to a third party as a result of operating a motor vehicle. May also pay for the cost of legal defense if the driver is sued because of a traffic accident. Policies are broken up into two parts and each must meet the following requirements:
    • Bodily Injury (BI)
      • $20,000 for injury or death to one person
      • $40,000 for injury or death to two or more people
    • Property Damage (PD)
      • $15,000 per accident
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UMBI): This pays for bodily injury sustained by the insureds caused by a hit-and-run driver or an at-fault motorist that does not carry a policy. The minimum limits for UMBI are as follows:
    • $20,000 per person
    • $40,000 per accident
Motorists may choose to purchase higher auto insurance coverage limits than what the state requires; however, if a resident increases UMBI, they will be required to add Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI) protection to policies. UIMBI will pay the difference for the amount of the cost of injuries that are between the at-fault driver's liability limits and the underinsured motorist coverage limits.

Enforcement of IL Auto Insurance Law

Illinois' motorists are required to carry proof of insurance in the covered vehicle at all times while driving, which must be shown to any law enforcement officer upon their request. An officer can request such documentation during a traffic stop or upon arriving at the scene of an accident. If a motorist is unable to furnish evidence that the vehicle is insured, the officer may issue a citation to the driver and if convicted, the vehicle's license plates will be suspended and the driver will face a minimum fine of $500. If a motorist is caught and convicted of driving a vehicle while the license plates are suspended for a previous coverage violation they will face a minimum fine of $1,000.

The state also uses a computer to select vehicles at random for coverage verification. If the computer selects a particular automobile, the owner will receive an insurance verification form from the Secretary of State, which must be completed and returned. In the event that the form is not returned with the requested information or the vehicle was not insured on the date indicated on the form, the automobile's license plates will be suspended.

In order for a motorist to have suspended license plates reinstated, any applicable fine must be paid as well as a reinstatement fee. First time offenders can have a suspension lifted by paying a $100 reinstatement fee and providing proof of a valid Illinois auto insurance policy. Repeat offenders must serve a four month license plate suspension, after which they can pay the $100 reinstatement fee and provide proof of coverage to have the suspension lifted. No one may operate the vehicle while the license plates are suspended.

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