Can You Get Car Insurance Without a Driver’s License in Illinois?

You can get car insurance in Illinois without your driver’s license, but you may need to go through a specialized insurer.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Like most states, you can get
car insurance in Illinois
without a driver’s license; however, you may need to go through a more specialized insurance company to do so, and your car insurance policy will usually limit coverage to a licensed primary driver. 
The typical steps to car ownership most often start with a driver’s license and follow up with a car and car insurance. But in some cases, purchasing
car insurance
for a vehicle you own may be necessary before you’ve officially secured your license—or when you’re unable to hold a driver’s license in the first place. 
Fortunately, with a little hunting, finding
car insurance without a driver’s license
is perfectly doable in Illinois. Here’s what you’ll need to know. 
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Can you get auto insurance without a driver’s license in Illinois?

Yes. You’re required by law to meet
Illinois’ minimum car insurance requirements
for any registered and operating motor vehicle in the state. As such, there are certain scenarios where you can (and must) buy state-mandated
liability insurance
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages
, and even some additional coverages without a valid driver’s license. 
Not all major car insurance companies offer policies to unlicensed drivers, though.
, and
Liberty Mutual
, for example, typically won’t even provide car insurance quotes to drivers lacking a license. Some companies, like
, will sometimes negotiate coverage—but only with existing policyholders
Your best bet in securing a policy without a license in Illinois is to go through a smaller, local insurance brokerage instead, particularly one that specializes in high-risk drivers. Because your driver’s license number enables insurers to pull up your driving history and calculate your risk, you’re automatically considered “high risk” without one. 
Unfortunately, coverage options for high-risk drivers tend to be more limited, as many mainstream insurers aren’t willing to take on the potential costs. 
High-risk car insurance
rates will cost more than standard car insurance, so it’s extra important to
compare quotes
from multiple companies and keep your eye out for discounts that can help you save. 

Do you need car insurance coverage if you don’t have a driver’s license?

It depends. In Illinois, you must carry
proof of insurance
in any operating motor vehicle to verify that you meet the state’s minimum liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage requirements. This can make purchasing car insurance without a driver’s license necessary in certain circumstances
Here are a few scenarios: 
  • Your licensed
    teen driver
    is too young to buy their own car insurance—some car insurance companies require policyholders to be at least 18 before signing. Young car owners may therefore need an adult to secure a policy for them, which could entail an unlicensed parent buying a policy for their licensed teen
  • You have a
    learner’s permit
    —if you’re working toward your permanent license and you’re lucky enough to own a vehicle, you’ll still need to buy car insurance coverage before you can drive it. 
  • You own a collectible vehicle—unlicensed drivers may possess securely stored collector cars that they don’t drive. In this case,
    classic car insurance
    can provide
    comprehensive coverage
    to protect against vandalism or weather damage while the vehicle is in storage or on display.
  • A chauffeur or family member drives your car for you—if a caregiver is the primary driver of your car, you can maintain car insurance by listing them as the covered primary driver of your vehicle and listing yourself as the excluded driver. 
  • Your license is suspended—when a
    or an abundance of traffic violations suspends your driving privileges, it’s important to keep up car insurance coverage in order to
    reinstate your license

How to buy a no-license auto insurance policy in Illinois

As you might expect, buying car insurance without a license in Illinois is slightly different than buying car insurance as a licensed driver. For one, the car insurance companies that offer no-license insurance policies are much more limited, and the type and extent of coverage you’re entitled to vary
In some cases, an insurer may want you to list a primary driver on your policy who has a valid license and list yourself as an excluded driver—meaning your coverage only applies when your primary driver is operating the vehicle. As the excluded driver, you are driving uninsured anytime you operate the car, which is punishable with license plate suspension and a $1,000 fine in Illinois. 
Not only does this prevent unlicensed drivers from illegally taking the wheel, but it also helps insurers set a rate based on your primary driver’s
driving record
You may find it easier to secure coverage if you file your primary driver as a co-owner on your
vehicle’s registration
and search for a joint ownership auto insurance policy instead. This can open up more insurance options from a wider range of car insurance companies, especially if you aren’t working toward a driver’s license or are unable to secure one for a more permanent timeframe. 
That being said, some insurance companies might restrict co-owners to a spouse or significant other only.
Since car insurance for unlicensed drivers can have a lot of case-by-case specifics, it's usually a good idea to call an insurance agent rather than attempt to look up quotes online. Most online forms will ask for a driver’s license number to calculate a car insurance quote anyway, so gauging your rates and coverage can be done much more clearly in person or over the phone. 
Pro tip If you’re ever in the reverse situation where you have a valid license, but don’t own a vehicle, you can also purchase
non-owner car insurance
to cover you against property damage and bodily injury liability no matter what vehicle you’re driving.  

Buying car insurance with a suspended license

Buying car insurance after a
license suspension
works differently than it does for those who have never had a driver’s license or relinquished their license on purpose. 
In Illinois, suspended drivers are required to obtain an SR-22 insurance policy and maintain it for a period of three years as a condition of their license reinstatement. An
Illinois SR-22 insurance policy
must be purchased and filed through an auto insurance company as a means of confirming to the DMV that your policy meets the legal insurance requirements. 
Essentially, SR-22 forms are used to certify your financial responsibility to the Illinois Driver Services Department (DSD) and ensure that you maintain at least the state’s minimum liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages. If your coverage lapses, your insurer will report it to the DSD and your license will likely be suspended again.
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In Illinois, you are required to have at least $25,000 of
bodily injury liability
per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, and $20,000 of
property damage liability
per accident. Drivers must also carry $25,000 of
uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
per person and $50,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury protection per accident. 
That said, these coverages are merely the minimum required by law—for better protection, you may want to consider a
policy with higher limits.
In certain ways, yes. You can purchase car insurance coverage for your vehicle if you don’t have a driver’s license. However, your coverage may depend on a licensed driver operating the vehicle or your car remaining in storage.
For example, many insurers require you to list a primary driver on the policy with a valid license and cover you only when this driver is behind the wheel. In this case, you (the unlicensed driver) are considered an “excluded driver,” and your coverages don’t apply if you’re ever (illegally) driving the car.
Even if the driver does eventually obtain a valid license and legally drives, they will still not be covered if they are excluded from the policy. The driver must update the policy to no longer exclude them for coverages to apply to them.
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