Illinois Car Insurance Laws

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In Illinois, drivers must carry liability insurance and proof of insurance at all times when driving—and those who don’t will face significant penalties, if caught.
Illinois is a fault state, which means a driver who causes an accident will be forced to cover the other driver’s damages through their insurance.
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So, before heading over to O’Hare to watch planes take off every 23 seconds (bring earplugs—it gets loud), read on to make sure you stay on the right side of Illinois’ auto insurance rules.
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Car insurance requirements in Illinois

If you’re a driver in the Prairie State, Illinois car insurance laws require you to have liability insurance. You’ll have to meet or exceed the state’s minimum liability coverage to be allowed to drive.
You’re also required to carry a minimum amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which we’ll explain further below. And remember—you must carry proof of insurance at all times when driving in Illinois.
Here are the basic limits:
Illinois Minimum Liability CoverageUninsured Bodily Injury/Underinsured Bodily Injury Coverage
$25,000 bodily injury per person$25,000 per person
$50,000 bodily injury per accident$50,000 per accident
$20,000 property damage per accident
The figures listed above are minimums—and while you must meet them, it’s always a good idea to buy more than the minimum coverage. Medical bills and/or property damages from a serious accident can rise faster than you can say “Urbana-Champaign”.
If you’re leasing or financing a car, the decision will likely be made for you. Most lienholders will require you buy more than the minimum insurance to take possession of your car.
Key Takeaway If you can afford it, you should always purchase more than the bare minimum required insurance.
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Liability coverage in Illinois

In an at-fault state like Illinois, your liability insurance will cover another driver’s medical bills and/or property damages if you’re in an accident and—you guessed it—you’re at fault. It’s good to remember that liability insurance only protects another driver or their property if you are responsible for the collision. Your liability protection doesn’t offer any protection to you.
Usually, liability coverage is separated into two categories—bodily injury and property damage.
  • Bodily injury covers medical bills for another person, as well as funeral costs stemming from an accident where you are at fault
  • Property damage coverage pays for repairs to another driver’s car or property damaged in a collision that you caused

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage in Illinois

Sadly, there are many drivers on the road with no insurance at all. In Illinois, you must carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, though you’re only required to buy bodily injury coverage.
This covers you for medical bills if you’re in a collision with an uninsured driver and they are at fault. You can also purchase uninsured/underinsured protection for property damage, but it’s not legally required in Illinois.

Illinois’ state-mandated car insurance limits

Like every state, Illinois has mandated minimum coverage that you must buy to drive legally. The minimums you purchase become the limit that an insurer will pay out if you’re involved in an at-fault accident.
Illinois’ limits (or split limits) are 25/50/20, meaning your insurance coverage is split into three different categories—per person, per accident, and property damage.
Per person
This $25,000 limit is what your insurer will pay out to a single person injured by you in an accident.
Per accident
This $50,000 limit is the total amount an insurer will pay out for bodily injury stemming from one accident, assuming you injured multiple people in that accident.
Property damage
This $20,000 limit represents what your insurer will pay for any property damage you caused in an accident.

Do Illinois’ mandated minimums provide enough protection?

While Illinois’ minimums are higher than many other states, they don’t offer much protection. If you cause an accident and the other parties’ injuries or property damages are beyond the limits that you’ve purchased, you’ll be personally on the hook for any outstanding medical or property bills.
Beefing up your car insurance policy with better coverage will usually result in just a small increase in your premiums—but much greater peace of mind.

Fines for driving without insurance in Illinois

If you hit the road without insurance in Illinois, you’re putting yourself in danger of being fined or losing your license. Here’s what could happen if you’re caught driving uninsured:
FineOther Consequences
$500–$1000Up to 3-month driver’s license suspension; fee for reinstatement
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Illinois and optional car insurance add-ons

So, by now you know that if you want to take a Sunday drive down the Magnificent Mile, you need liability insurance. While that’s the only mandated type of car insurance in Illinois, here’s a list of commonly purchased add-ons that will give you more robust coverage.
Optional CoverageDescription
Collision insuranceCovers damages to your car from an accident with another vehicle or a fixed object
Comprehensive insuranceProtects your car if damaged by non-collision threats such as vandalism, theft, weather damage, or animal damage
Gap insuranceCovers the difference between your car’s value and what you still owe on it if it is totaled in an accident
Medical paymentsCovers medical bills for your and any passengers injured in an accident
Uninsured motorist property coverageCovers damages to your car or property if you’re in a collision with an at-fault uninsured driver
Roadside assistance / towing and labor coverageTypically covers towing, fixing flat tires, breakdowns, and more

Diminished value in Illinois

In Illinois, you can make a diminished value claim. Essentially, this means you can recoup some of your car’s diminished value from an at-fault driver’s insurance company after your car has been damaged in an accident.
The reasoning for this is simple: after an accident and once your car has been repaired, its value is lower than before the accident. Compared to similar cars with no accident history, you won’t get the same value for yours if you’re trying to sell it. Submitting a diminished value claim helps you recover some of your car’s lost value.
If you’re submitting a diminished value claim, note that you can only receive compensation if you were not at fault in the accident in question. You’ll also need to provide the following documentation with your claim:
  • Photos of the damage
  • Proof of any repairs
  • Your car’s value, from a trusted source
Keep in mind that Illinois has a statute of limitations of five years if you want to file a diminished value claim. The state also offers uninsured motorist coverage specifically for diminished value claims.

Finding the best car insurance with Jerry

If you’re looking to unwind and tool around Chicago’s (or Peoria’s) streets, don’t forget that you’re required by law to carry liability insurance. Lucky for you, buying car insurance has never been easier—and it’s never been easier to get a steal of a deal while doing it.
With Jerry, sign-up takes just 45 seconds and before you know it, you’ll be surfing through more than 40 competitive car insurance quotes from the country’s top providers. Jerry does all the work for you, so just sit back and enjoy your car insurance savings. In fact, the average Jerry user saves $879 per year!


Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Illinois?

In Illinois, car insurance follows the car, not the driver. If a family member or anyone covered under the policy uses the car and is involved in a collision, they will be covered.

Does Illinois require proof insurance?

Under Illinois law, all drivers are required to carry proof of insurance with them whenever they drive.

Is it illegal to not have car insurance in Illinois?

It is illegal to drive in Illinois without liability coverage.
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